Sunday, November 2, 2008

My favorites – web design & navigation

Our assignment for this week focused on analyzing a web site in terms of navigation and design. Prior to this class, this was something that I really didn’t think much about. I realized that in the past whenever I visited a bad web site I really didn’t think about what was wrong with the site but rather just moved onto another better site. This course is making me realize even more now how important having a web site is to a business but also how important it is to have a well designed site.

The following link is a great article we read this week for class which gives some common sense advice/thoughts on web site design - The author, Jason O’Connor, points out some very common mistakes with web sites that can definitely hurt an online experience.

Our work in class this week got me thinking as to what are some of my favorite web sites and why. I realized that I like most of my favorite web site due to the design and navigation as much as for the content. Here are some of my favorites and the reasoning behind them. – I’m originally from the Albany, NY area so I like to stay in touch with what is going on there. This is the web site for the all-local news station in Albany. The site is very simple and not overloaded with too much content and the advertising is limited to the top and right of the page and not mixed in with everything else. Furthermore, the left and top navigation bars stay consistent from page to page which is important to me. The left bar outlines the various news topics while the top bar shows the various geographic regions – it couldn’t be simpler. – I know many people like this site as well and for good reason. Amazon has mastered the art and science of customization. It knows who I am when I log on from home computer and gives me recommendations based on past purchases. The process of ordering online from Amazon is so easy that I don’t mind paying the shipping charges. The site sells many different kinds of products but the navigation is still easy no matter what I am looking for. From a design perspective it’s not the most exciting looking site but it doesn’t need to be. People are going to Amazon to purchase products not be entertained. They have used their web resources wisely and efficiently in developing this site. – I use this site quite a bit at work since I write a lot of copy as well as for graduate school. It has a dictionary, thesaurus and reference all in one site. It is very simple in the same way that Google is simple but effective. The site doesn’t try to do more than what it is intended for which is a mistake that I think a lot of web site developers make.

I’ll be keeping an eye out for more good (and bad) web sites throughout the course and try to make note of what I like and dislike.

- Patrick

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