Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Since it is the baseball season, I say, “Go Red Sox!” Hmmm…excuse me. This site uses up all of it its white space for advertisements and multimedia presentation for its users. It has ways for the user to be interactive with the site by using the pull down menus to find the team that they are looking for and for the information about the team and how they are doing. What is your opinion of this website? Let me know who your favorite team is. The URL is:


Happy Halloween Everyone!

Ready for a frightful web experience?

Check out the layout on!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


This website has just enough color for the user to come back for more. The downside of this website is that it does not have that much interaction between the website and the user. It uses its white space well, and it makes users coming back for more because of the up to date articles. The URL is

Monday, October 29, 2007

Bit OOT, but i couldn't resist ....

Best wishes to those on tutorial island. You are not alone:


This website is very plain but it has a lot of links. It uses up the white space quite well by adding advertisements and information on the side of the website. I think this website should have more color on it and be more interactive so the user will be coming back for more. What is your opinion? The URL is

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Visual Clutter

I'm a lousy housekeeper, but I get it honestly. My mom was a lousy housekeeper before me and my grandmother before her. I come from a line of women who would rather paint a picture than a bathroom wall, or write a poem instead of do the dishes. I fervently hope my daughter (who is good at math) will prefer doing algorithms to dusting. In my case, I'll take any excuse not to clear up the clutter, carrying the issue so far as to go to graduate school, so I have homework to do instead of tidying. But now, it appears the clutter has migrated as far as my television screen. It seems there is no escape.

Last month, an article appeared in The New York Times about how television screens are taking on more of the look of computer screens. (See .)Networks are cramming promotions, news crawls, and other streams of information both wanted and unwanted into our tv viewing experience. The impression that many viewers are left with is that tv screens are far more "cluttered," states the author, than they were until recently, and the experience of watching television more closely resembles that of using a computer.

It is interesting that the clutter is what is related to the computer screen experience. A good computer web page should theoretically not be any more cluttered than a good television screen. But that's not how the users or apparently the networks that are defining our content see it. Whether it is truly an advantage to clutter our television screens in order to make them more appealing to a computer-saavy audience is by no means clear.

In the case of someone trying to read subtitles (one example that opens the article), the added clutter can be entirely maddening. Being a pretty hopelessly linear thinker, I personally find subtitled films a little tedious between trying to follow the plot, take in the lighting and other visual film effects and reading the dialogue. But when the words are obscured by some piece of information I am not focused on at the moment, I am not pleased.

When I watch a program, I do not want to buy the character's shoes. But that is what snipes are for -- to make the most money out of each viewer in this media or the next. An icon will direct viewers of tv shows to places where they can purchase related items.

Screen clutter can be "extremely eye-catching" according to UPENN sociologist David Grazian, despite the research that suggests it impedes comprehension. But the comprehension issue does not deter network moguls who see each iota of screen clutter as money in the bank. So it appears that television screen clutter is here to stay. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go do some vacuuming.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Thinking with Type

During class today while we were talking about typography I was reminded of a great book that I read in undergrad in my Typography class. Below is a link to the book's website which has exercises and other useful information. It is a great resource for anyone interested in typography.

Provide a Simple and Accurate Loading-Status: Blog #7

On page 361 in the book, “Prioritizing Web Usability” by Jakob Neilson, it talks about how to minimize people’s impatience by having an indicator to tell when the downloading is done. I really like this idea because sometimes you think the site is down because it takes so long to load.

Body Text: The Ten-Point Rule: Blog #6

On page 221, in the book, “Prioritizing Web Usuability” by Jakob Neilson, he talks about the fact that there not one text size for all audiences. Some people prefer big fonts and some people prefer small fonts. For instance, senior citizens need a larger font then a teenager. It also says that a small font size is not the solution to fit more information on a page. This I totally agree with because even though there are different text sizes and styles to choose from bigger does not mean better.

Use Simple Language: Blog #6 more to add...

In the book, “Prioritizing Web Usability” by Jakob Neilson, it mentions on page 262 about how to use simple language on a webpage. I thought this was interesting because it talked about how to keep your writing simple and concise. I also think that you need to get right to the point. I agree that you do not want to appear smarter than the user because people do not want that. They want to have a conversation with you and be direct and to the point.

Age Is Not the Issue

While reading this section I took this into consideration when I was doing my rough draft for my website. I want all users to read my website either if they are young children or senior citizens so I chose I larger font so everyone can read it. Did anyone else do this or was it just me?

Using Simple Language: Blog #6

While reading Jakob Neilsen's book "Prioritizing Web Usability" the section "Using Simple Language" on page 262 caught my eye when doing my rough draft of my web site because I wanted to get more technical with my writing but I knew I had to dumb my language down for my users. Did any one else feel this way or was it just me?

Blog #7

While reading Jakob Neilsen's book "Prioritizing Web Usability" the section "Using Simple Language" on page 262 caught my eye when doing my rough draft of my web site because I wanted to get more technical with my writing but I knew I had to dumb my language down for my users. Did any one else feel this way or was it just me?

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Aesthetics of a Brand Name

The concensus is that a news site like the or is too you argree?

D. Norman author of Emotional Design: Why we love (or hate) everyday things (The article we read the second week), speaks of devices that seem easier to use, because the user finds the design aestitically pleasing.

Do you think a brand name can evoke the same emotion? Does recieve millions of hits per day, because people trust this source, despite web design that is a bit cluttered?

Easy Read is a good web site with easy readability. The site's simple blue and white color scheme (which of course is the school colors) gives it a nice contrast. Although the words are not that big, the dark background and white letters make them stand out enough for quick and easy run through. The blue writing on the bottom of the page is also light enough to stand out.

Second Life

I wonder what Neilsen and Loranger would think of Second Life. I like most of us went on this week and got completely lost. When you arrive at the tutorial island, a million things come at you at once. I ended up somewhere completely different and couldn't figure out how to get help, or maybe I just gave up on it. If the web does start to become more like second life in which people create avatars and walk around , there will be a whole new set of usability issues. Will websites even exist or will we have to walk in to stores and libraries to find the information we need? is a site that I used a lot when I was looking for production jobs in New York and I also used it to find people to use on our productions. I like this site a lot because first of all its free and you don't have to sign up, although it is better if you sign up because you can save your resume but you don't have to. I think that it is simple to use and it is easy to find what you're looking for, it's very user friendly. I have noticed that some jobs sites are not as easy to use and you never know what kind of jobs will come up but with mandy you always know what to expect. The design of the site is simple and it really serves its purpose. Through using this site I have gotten interviews, jobs, I have hired people, and I have gotten equipment. I would recommend this site to everyone looking for production jobs.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Writing for the Web

In chapter 8, Writing for the Web, the authors reiterate how important it is to write for your audience and to be aware of spelling and grammar in your content.

One of the things that stood out to me while I was reading was the section on why users scan. Whether I am doing research for school or work, I feel that there is not enough time in the day to find everything that I need. Scanning is the perfect option for me. It helps you decipher between what's a good article and what's something that isn't exactly what you need. "Scanning is an efficient method to hone in on useful content. It takes less cognitive effort, so users can focus attention on fruitful areas" (Nielson, Loranger pg 259).


I thought this website was very interesting since it had upcoming information about video games. I thought there was too much on this website for the viewer’s eye. There were too many videos and too many links on the side. I think the links should have been in a different color. What is your opinion? The URL is:

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Web Pages that Suck

For anyone looking for inspiration for their home page design, or just looking for what not to do, check out This site provides a ton of great examples of what not to do. And then after you look at all the bad sites, you can read the checklists that the site provides as to what makes your web page suck. This site is not only informative, but also entertaining if you need a break from hacking out your home page design.


This website is straight to the point. Visual aesthetically it does not have that much pizzazz but it has what the user is looking for, which is to find directions from one place to the other. The one thing I would change is to have more options at the top for the user. What is your opinion? The URL is:

Interesting Article

This is an interesting article about the future of news on the Internet. It's a bit long, but if you can stay with it, it's worth it.

Is This the End of News?

'Tis the Season...

I'm a huge fan of horror movies, and one of my favorites series is Halloween. The series has its own website which can be found here. There's really no reason to visit this site unless you're an uber-fan like I am, but its great for fans like myself. Bonus features, clips of the month, insider news, message board, etc., it really is a haven for Halloween fandom. Anyways...I really like the design and functionality of the site.

Each page has a center dial, of sorts, which displays the navigation of the site. Clicking "movies" will bring you to another dial-like nav displaying links to individual sites for each movie or sequel. The other pages also follow suit. The black background and orange font work (obviously), and along with silver text for the nav, its always easy to read and follow.

The only problem I have with the site is that as you browse, the huge "Halloween Movies" logo at the top does not bring you back to Home. There is a (too) small button on the bottom of each page that says "Home". I always forget its there, and even knowing that I have to find it to go home, I always click the huge logo on the top multiple times.

Overall though, I'd say the Halloween site isn't the best I've ever seen, but it's good enough to get this Halloween junkie his Michael Myers fix.

Monday, October 22, 2007

SBD....the website silly!

One of my favorite websites, and a must read for anyone in the sports industry, is The site functions like a blog in the sense that it takes the top sports stories from the country and condenses them into readable nuggets. The site is updated at least twice daily with the publishing of the “Morning Buzz” and “Closing Bell” at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. respectively. These sections update the top stories of the day, while also feeding your appetite for pop culture.
This site fits in nicely with this week’s readings because the writing is clear and concise, but clever at the same time. The front page contains snappy headlines with no more than a one sentence summary of the story. If you are interested in reading more, just follow the links, if not, at the least you have been entertained and informed. The approach on this site follows the suggestions laid out by Jakob Nielsen and Hoa Loranger in chapter 8 of “Prioritizing Web Usability” when they state, “write for the way people read on the Web. Design your content to match human behavior and tailor it for optimum scannability and comprehension.” This site definitely capitalizes on it’s scannability with its short, crisp writing.

The Supreme Story Program

This is an interesting website that I found yesterday. It's Megan Mullally's official website, and I like it not only because of the great design, but also because it's kind of a "multipurpose" website. It's got information about her and her latest projects, but it's also a storytelling website. She poses a question, posts her own answer, and then encourages people to post their own answers (which are usually in the form of a very short story or narrative). I thought it was an interesting twist on the everyday blog or My Space page.

The Supreme Story Program


This website is very plain and straight to the point. When a user uses this site, they will be able to find what they need right away if it is looking for a job or trying to sell something. I really like how it separates listings into cities so people can find what they are looking for in the area they are located in. I think this website should have more color because I do not think that people would want to be on a site like this for a long period of time because I think they would get bored. The URL is: What is your opinion?

Sunday, October 21, 2007


I was just checking out Ruby as a friend and I were thinking about going there to eat and I though the new look was interesting...its calming colors and aesthetically pleasing....very easy to use...and doesnt make me think which would make krug happy....I thought for a food website it was well put together and most importantly easy to use and follow to find what i want

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Become Inspired...

WARNING!! This may help get your ideas flowing for the final project!!

I am a big fan of Communication Arts Magazine, it can be a bit expensive but it has great articles and displays many examples of new and upcoming designers and their work. Below is a link to the magazine where you can buy the Interactive Design Annual which is also on sale at your local Borders.

Current Issue: 2007 September/October Interactive Annual 13 $16
In addition to showcasing the winners of our thirteenth Interactive Competition, the September/October issue includes feature articles on the innovative work of Boston-based agency Modernista!, Shino Arihara's narrative illustration, the powerful imagery of photographer Marcus Swanson and Robert L. Peters's in-depth look at graphic design in Australia. You'll also find insightful columns covering design, culture, creativity and marketing.

This is my favorite website in the whole entire world. You can get software (freeware) at no cost but the catch is sometimes you can only use it for up to 30 days. Then you need to buy it. It is a type of website where users will keep on coming back because it shows you how many people downloaded that software, what the ratings are for each software, and what is the newest trend in software to download. What could be better? Check it out and let me know what you think. The URL is:

Friday, October 19, 2007

My favorite art site

My favorite art site online far and away is . Its a collection of user's art, and is always full of new and creative stuff. Check it out, I find it easy to use, and enjoy browsing different categories. Its a cool place to get ideas or just view what other people are making and posting online.


I have never heard of this website before until I found it in a search engine. It is a website that has a lot of videos and music that you can choose to listen too and watch at your leisure. I think this website is simple and straight to the point for the user so they know where to go to find what they are looking for. Scope it out yourself and let me know what you think. The URL is:

Thursday, October 18, 2007 has always managed to stay interactive. There are options to watch full episodes of popular shows, chat with people about similar interests and blog about whatever is on your mind. The site may come off as busy at first glance but when you consider all the things MTV has to offer, you see that it is quite amazing that they can include all that they have into a Web site. It is always nice to know that if I miss an episode of "The Real World," I can visit the Web site and with a quick click of the mouse, watch it online.

Something funny for everyone...

I am a proud alumni from Salisbury University in MD and I thought id pass this story along....

SALISBURY, Md.- The president of Salisbury University faces questions after posting photographs on a social networking Web site.

SU President Dr. Janet Dudley-Eshbach posted several pictures on her Facebook profile.

Among those was a picture of Dudley-Eshbach pointing a stick toward her daughter and a Hispanic man.

The caption underneath the picture reads that Eshbach had to,"beat off the Mexicans because they were constantly flirting with my daughter."

Another picture shows an animal, a tapir, and has a caption referring to the large size of the animal's genitalia.

WBOC recently found out about the photos, and after asking the president about her profile and the pictures, she took down her profile.

After making calls about the story on Monday at 3:45 p.m., Dudley-Eshbach removed the two controversial pictures by 5 p.m.

By the end of the day, she had removed the entire profile, but only after leaving them up and open to the public for more than eight months. makes an automatic time stamp when a user posts a picture. Dudley-Eshbach put her albums up on Feb. 3, 2007.

They were available for anyone in "The Salisbury Maryland Network" to look at, including people who have nothing to do with the university.

Many students say even though the president deleted the profile, they are still upset.

Freshman Jovan Turner said, "Personally I'm offended and I'm not even that nationality. It's not something I would expect the university president to say."

Melissa Holt, also a student, said, "I don't think it's very professional of her. She's representing Salisbury and by going out and having a Facebook, she's known as the Salisbury [University] president. She needs to be respectful as of everybody's opinions and backgrounds."

What all those students want to know now is why she posted the pictures in the first place.

The president refused to talk to WBOC on camera but issued a statement through the SU media relations department.

In part, it reads, "Many of us are learning about the positives and negatives of public networking sites such as Facebook. I regret that some of these family vacation photos, with captions that were only intended to be humorous, were included on Facebook."

You can read the president's full statement on our Web site.

Dudley-Eschbach is accountable to the University System of Maryland's Board of Regents.

WBOC requested to speak with the board's chancellor.

Anne Moultrie, the associate vice chancellor for communications, sent an e-mail late Monday afternoon that read "Still no availability at this time," but WBOC will continue to seek comment from both the chancellor and from Dudley-Eshbach.

Dudley-Eshbach has been the university's president since 2000. The school had 7,581 registered students in the fall of 2006.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


This website took a long time to load but once I got to it, it had very interesting news and gossip that is in the news today. I do not know if I would totally trust this site all the time to get my news but that is just my opinion. The is not very eye pleasing. It has a lot of advertisements, photographs, and videos. What is your opinion? The URL is:

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Blog #5- Typography

Some of the concepts that the authors are describing should be common sense but as they point out numerous examples of web sites that aren't easy to read or the font size is too small, I understand why they have to dedicate an entire chapter to their findings. I started to work on our critical evaluation paper last night and I came across several web pages that had too much information listed on their home page. "Cramming more content on a page by shrinking the text size backfires because it makes the page busy and difficult to read." (Nielson & Loranger pg 218). I find it also distracting. The user doesn't know where to focus their attention.

Another example that was given was I have noticed that their font is small but I guess I have grown accustomed to their site and no longer flinch when I look at the page layout.

Monday, October 15, 2007


This website is sort of like youtube. It has the same exact lay out as youtube just different colors. I am very bothered when I get to the webpage. It has a huge video play and all you can do is just pause the video. It bothers me a ton. Besides that I love the site. What is your opinion? The URL is:

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The "Three-Click Rule" - Fact or Fiction?

Is this really true? Are there people out there who will leave a site if they don’t find what they want in three clicks? After reading about the “Three-Click Rule” in chapter 10 of Nielsen’s book I began to wonder if people like this really exist? Does the average web user have the attention span of a goldfish or are we more tolerable in our searching and navigation? I think that the majority of users have enough patience to pursue the right information for more than three clicks and I think this comes through experience since some sites require more work than others to get to the right information. Nielsen also down-plays the notion of the three click rule by noting that users’ ability to find products on a e-commerce site actually increased after the design was changed to place the products four clicks from the homepage. I think just human nature alone drives us to continue our search even when we may be turning in circles. Is there anyone that agrees with the three-click rule, or do we all disagree with the rule? If you disagree with the rule, do you have a limit on the amount of clicks before you leave a site because you can’t find the information you’re looking for?

Chapters 7 & 8 - Typography and Writing For the Web

Chapter 7 of Nielsen was kind of common sense. Don't choose text that's hard to read, so that people can read your site and not get frustrated. Check. Though the serif and sans serif types were interesting to read about because I didn't know much regarding specific types, most of the chapter just seemed pretty obvious to me.

I thought Chapter 8 was of much more importance and interest to me, especially since I come from a background in Journalism. Nielsen recommended writing for the web using the inverted pyramid style, a method journalists use to get the Five W's right up front in the lead of a story. It makes sense that writing for the web should be the same way. Many of the examples provided showed flaws that are definitely worth mentioning to ensure we avoid doing the same.

I was shocked to read that 43% of Americans aged 16 and older are only at the literacy level similar to an eight grader (Nielsen, Page 265). Even more sad, on Page 268, Nielsen uses an example of the HealthLink site, but writes "It is written at about a grade 12 reading level, which sadly, is beyond the capabilities of many high school graduates in the U.S." That makes me feel really, really bad for our country, though, puts a damp perspective on writing for the web. If that is the type of audience we have to cater our designs and writing toward, its good knowledge to know.

Journalism is extremely similar to writing for the web. You learn how to write concisely. You learn how to organize information and write so that everyone in your audience will be able to read and understand the material, all qualities that Nielsen suggests are key for web writing. Hopefully my studies in Journalism will aid me as I progress in the world of online content production.


I love this website. It is plain but to the point. It is very easy for the user to search for what they are looking for. Also, you get to show the photos that you want anywhere and at any time only at a click of a mouse. If I had a lot of pictures to give out, I would use this website. What is your opinion? The website is:

Can I Click on it?: Blog #5: #2

On page 205, in the book called “Prioritizing Web Usability” by Jakob Neilson, it talks about how users are unsure of what is clickable on a website. The user must work hard and guess where to actually find the information they are looking for. What was interesting is that the book mentioned “blue is not always the desired color for links” “bolded text also indicates clickability”. I never would have thought that bold words would be a link. I thought this was interesting because whenever I make a hyperlink for a website it is always colored blue because that is what I had previously learned the color should be. I now realize that I can also I bold the information for a hyperlink.

Keep Like with like: Blog #5: #1

In the book, “Prioritizing Web Usability” by Jakob Neilson, it talks about on p, 333 about how information gets noticed on a website and how people think that related objects should be placed in the same area on a website. I totally agree because I get upset when information to link to other pages that I think should be on the left side column is not there and is instead found on the top of the webpage. Another thing that annoys me is when you are trying to find information about a company and you look at the bottom of the webpage and find that link that says, contact us, but does not give any information about the company. I makes me very aggravated. I wish there was only one template that most companies would use to set up their webpages. This would make it easier for their users.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

blog #4

The readings discussed how scrolling can be a detriment to page design but also how NOT having a scroll option can be negative as well. While I understand both views, it was a perfect example to me of how confusing keeping it simple can be. The basic message that has been reiterated through all these readings is that web designers cannot make assumptions about their audience and users. Now, the book points out that companies cannot make assumptions about their own customers familiarity with their specific brands. I think this was one of the most relevant points. Companies treat online on-line marketing and selling the same way as they would if a customer were to walk on to a lot to buy peruse and purchase a car, to buy a new pair of pants and even to fill out private, secure information files. Just because a user has found their way to your personally title .com doesn’t mean they are a faithful and returning customer. The companies and designers must remember that even though we are fortunate to have the internet as an additional tool, it IS NOT the same as having a live, physical customer in front of you that feels comfortable because of you presence. When someone walks onto a car lot, they can find assistance and discuss cars and options. Online, the shopper is left to their own destiny depending on their navigational skills, site familiarity and ability to intercept information from various sources, spots and formats. That small description of what a user feels like alone is the number one reason that web designers should pay extra special attention to the flow, format and ease of the site design. We are not asking potential customers to merely com visit our company’s site, we are also asking them to work for what they want to find.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Blog #4 Chp 10

Chapter 10 focused on the page layouts and navigation. One of the examples given was of a website called I have never heard of the site but found it interesting how difficult it was for users to find the sign up icon on the page. I had a 6 month trial membership for aol. When I got charged a fee for using it this month, I went on the site to find out how I could contact someone or get help in resolving the issue. I had so much trouble finding a phone number on the web page. Once you clicked contact us, it had the commonly asked questions page. I became frustrated and ended up calling my computer company to get the phone number.

Adobe Color Swatch Website

Navigating through Beauty

One of my favorite web sites is the American Orchid Society at It features a striking orchid visual that clearly illustrates what the site is all about. The links are simple and open in the same window, so there is no confusion about how to navigate from one to another. The photographs of beautiful orchids in bloom change with each link, making navigating the site an appealing, rather than a frustrating exercise. Although the home page features many links, they are easy to understand. They do not feature fly-outs, which is a device that I personally find annoying and Nielson suggests should be kept to a minimum. There is minimal redundancy in the links, i.e. membership and Join AOS. But overall, it is a great example of successful usability.

I'm very passionate about music. I love to be able to find whatever information I can about musicians, songs, albums, and styles. was introduced to me about five years ago and next to, it is one of the sites that I often go to.

The site has changed over the past few years, but I still find it fairly simple to use and search for information, and sometimes sampling. I most love the histories that have been written and the influences and genres of music that are tied to the musician. It's an appealing and user friendly site.


This website is very distracting to me because it just shows lists of games that users can play and does not help the user know how to play them or give a description of what the game is about. All it says is how many players are actually playing that game, which I think is not descriptive enough for the user. The website does have a help link at the top of the page to help users who are confused about how to use the site like I was. Let me know your opinion about this site. The URL is:

Virtual Flea Market

I pulled the same points from the article as Jen. If a web sites mission is to be painfully simple then why does craigs list get bashed. It is one of the easiest sites that I use. Everything is laid out for you and it doesn't take much thinking. As for the aesthetics the design leaves something to be desired, but I think that there is beauty in the simplicity, and it fits the audience.

I would like to see what Nielsen and Co. think is the perfect website, or if they even have one. I think that the major point that is being missed by these two chapters is the target audience. If people are coming to these sites, they at least have a little background information and can adjust to the different design styles. I understand that they are trying to make it very simple, but I think that they are taking some creativity away with these strict rules and standards.


Virtual Flea Market


So what I have gathered from this chapter is that simplicity and consistency are key elements to navigation. Navigation can not be too complicated because it is essentially the way people travel on your site. It is sort of like giving directions if you make them too complicated with too many turns people are bound to get lost. The same goes for navigation simple is better.

Also I think being consistent with your navigation throughout the whole page is essential. It can not switch from one type of navigation to the next because it gets too confusing And people get lost. I was trying to think of a site that I use that does this and I couldn't think of any so either I have been to other sites that do this and have never gone back or no one really switches up navigation. If anyone has a good example for that let me know.

I think that for me simplicity in sites is important and I think that this chapter reiterates that. I like sites that are simple with a minimal amount of clutter. I think for me the apple site does this, there is minimal clutter, the navigation is simple, and you can find things easily.

Visiting the Natural World

After reading chapter 6 of Neilson and Loranger's Prioritizing Web Usability, I thought it might be productive to compare a few web sites of natural history museums from different countries, several of which I have had the opportunity to visit in person. We tend to think of museums generally as trendy facilities that focus heavily on design, but I was surprised to find that some of the web sites were not as successful as they might have been.

The home page of the Osaka Museum of Natural History at took too long to download (nearly a minute). Most of the relevant information is below the fold. Links are confusing because it appears that the user can click on the green box in front of each link but that does not navigate anywhere. Links do not open in the same window, so it is hard to know how to get back to the home page. On the plus side, there is extensive and well-organized information on what specimens are contained in the collection so that if a curator or naturalist from another English-speaking country wanted to visit, they would know the major points of interest in the collection.

The home page of the National Museum of Nature and Science (Tokyo) at has a sophisticated and understated color scheme in shades of gray, beige and black with subdued accents of red and yellow. The site is organized in a way that is clear and understandable in a three column design. Only limited information appears below the fold, including links to related facilities.The design of the home page is, however, very boxy, not fluid, a approach which I personally find somewhat unappealing. Each of the major topic areas branch to a separate window, where a fly-out or pull-down menu might provide more detailed information leading the user to decide if they really wanted to navigate there.

The Beijing Museum of Natural History at features too much content on its home page, much of it below the fold. It features a main photograph and several smaller photos that illustrate different departments. The small photos are way too small to really communicate or enhance the information provided. The large photo took an inordinate amount of time to download (more than 2 minutes). But aside from too much copy and the small, unappealing photos, the home page is not terribly cluttered. There is a gray bar at the top that seems like it should contain a visual of some sort, but doesn't. The menu across the top is clear and simple to understand. I have personally visited this museum and the web content doesn't really do it justice. It has some nice, thoughtful exhibits.

The Natural History Museum of Crete features an appealing green background in keeping with its nature theme. The home page is uncluttered, features a range of attractive visuals. The links are organized in a way that is easy to understand and navigate. The english version of the site, however, is challenging to locate. You have to click on a tiny british flag in the upper right corner, without any textual clues to identify its purpose. The links open in the same window, further assisting navigation. Both a Search button and site map are prominent and enhance useability.

The Royal Ontario Museum (Canada's largest natural history museum) at organizes a wide range of links in an understandable way. All the links open in the same window, which makes it easy to figure out how to get back to where one has been. But the small square pictures next to the links suggest clickability when, in fact, only the text links navigate. The site could benefit from using video or some alternative way to share more visuals. All of the links to exhibitions are presented with the same visual, which is not very engaging.The use of complementary colors blue and orange, paired with maroon is understated, although I did not feel they were as appealingly sophisticated as the use of colors closer to one another on the color spectrum like that used in the Tokyo Museum web site.

I readily admit to a local bias, but the Yale Peabody Museum web site at is one of my favorites. The home page is clear and simple with the signature "leaping" dinosaur fossil Deinonycus is an effective brand for the museum (hanging as it does in one of the hallways). The links are easy to understand and colorful. The clean white background makes the colorful visuals stand out. The Search button is prominent and very clickable. The interior pages are where the bulk of the content lies, keeping the home page simple and uncluttered. Both the web site and the museum are worth a visit. (Don't miss the colorful poison dart frog exhibit in the Discovery Room and keep an eye out for leaf-cutter ants. They're on their way.)

Thursday, October 11, 2007 revamped their website over the past off season and I will say it is an improvement but some parts are still hard to find. Overall the layout look and feel is something that would keep me coming back for more. For a very easy to read and check out page football wise check out its a blog of rumors, some more real than others but overall a good site.

NASCAR Fans Unite! On the Web?

Check out

It is an auto racing site, this guy created it who knows a wealth of knowledge on the subject. Although some may consider this site primitive by today’s standards it generates enough hits to be in the top 5 websites for auto racing and it is well respected by the racing community. Even after ESPN bought it(there is even a link from, they decided to keep the original template to stay true to the fanbase.

What does everyone simple better? Is this site even simple?

Can changing a website alter a fanbase?

Making It All Fit

As Nielson points out, one of the biggest challenges with any design (specifically web design) is the available space for the impression that you make. Our users are presented with a standard web browsing window - a space that needs just the right touch to make the perfect impression.

There are many variables that Nielson discusses into making that impression just right - these vary from the text flow, navigation options, the amount of white space allocated, and the grouping of items based on likeness (association). Essentially the message that i obtained from Nielson's reading is that keeping the webs page simple and organized is a key factor to creating the right impression / interest in the visitors. "Less is More"

One of the best examples of keeping it simple and organizing information in a small space can be found in the iPhone commercials - when the product was first released. The simplicity of the single person / phone portrayed upon a black background really intrigues the audience because they are not distracted by multiple graphics, text, or a moving background. The design of the commercials were simple and sleek - it was as if a friend was showing you the product.



This website is very simple for the user. It has the links at the top of the page so the user can easily find things easily. For example, if you are want to purchase something the cart icon is very easy to find and accessible. Also, computers are listed in categories, and I think this makes it easier for the user to find the exact computer that will fit their needs. I think the user will always come back to this website since it is easy and practical to use. The URL is:

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

User friendly web site

This website does a good of being simple and consistent. Each page has the same menu lay out and does not change. Also the fact that each tab has sub tabs makes it easier for the user to find what she wants. The layout is simple and does not distract from the user’s goal. Every time I visit this site it takes me a short while to find what I want and leave. “Users are not looking for a scavenger hunt, so don’t hide main navigational items” (p.184). On this site, the navigational items are obvious and clear. They are easily understood and you know exactly where to click.

Each page has just enough information and design on it so the user is more likely to see the information she wants. There is very little scrolling and little chance anything will be missed. The white space and background also makes the information stand out and is less visually crowding. This cosmetics web site is very user friendly. Less is definitely more.


I really like this website because it has a lot of interesting information about new technological innovations that are on the market but the problem with this website is that it is not that visually pleasing. It just has rows of articles and links at the top of the page. This website does not grasp the “white space” option because it has too much of it. There is not much going on besides the articles so it makes the webpage look boring and not many users would want to come back for more and to browse through the information about the newest and latest gadgets. Here is the URL:

Monday, October 8, 2007

Perceived affordance and the problem of over-linking

I know that Nielsen has many critics, and I can kind of see why people seem to talk down about him. Some issues he writes about and tests are pretty much common sense. I find myself torn between mild frustration of this common sense, and the recognition of some issues that I actually agree with. Sometimes as a user, you don't really think in terms of this much detail and the actual facts about usability, so usually I can find a few interesting points that totally make sense beyond my user sensibility.

Perceived affordance was one of the more interesting things I read in this week. I can't stand when I get to a site and have no idea where to click. I drag the mouse around and do a little bit of what the authors called "minesweeping", and if I can't find anything, I am not happy. I'd say not knowing where to click is my own, personal number 1 reason of why I leave a site. I've also ran into sites exactly like the example in the book where the text is mostly blue, yet none of it is links. I honestly can't take it at all. I'd rather have 5 huge pop-ups in my face with blaring sound than a site with blue text throughout. It's quite painful.

Nielsen also mentioned the USPS website. Last time I checked out the Post Office's website, I had to put in a request for a change of address. What should've taken me about 3 minutes took me 20. I couldn't find the form, first of all. And there were about 3 duplicated links per single link and it was really messy and unorganized. Again, I had no idea where to click and how to find what I needed. I must say, that site can definitely use some simplification.

The two chapters really drove home the fact that designers need to design based on the users' expectations and convenience and not their own.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

About Face

I found an article in USA Today on Thursday about Facebook and how teens are resenting the fact that their parents are trying to become part of the Facebook world. The article appeared in the October 4th edition of the USA Today, under the header, " Teens to parents: It's our Facebook." When Facebook first launched in 2004 it was exclusively for college students. Gradually Facebook extended its reach, including high school students in September 2005 and last September opening its doors to everyone. Since Facebook opened their doors to anyone, the exclusive feel has been compromised as some teens' parents are now logging on in efforts to communicate with their kids. And this doesn't make teens very happy.
I think it is interesting that I found this article during the week we were discussing usability problems because the usability problems discussed in the book never touched upon social issues. Is there a way to gauge social barriers on the Internet and how do we combat them, or do we even try? Going back to the Facebook article, I think everyone, especially teens, needs their own place where they can go to escape and communicate with other people who not only share similar interests but are also at similar stages in their lives. I think the message here is that although the Internet is a wonderful tool it will never be able to stay clear of the social issues of the real life.

Satisfy Your Users’ Expectations: Blog #4

In the book called, “Prioritizing Web Usability” by Jakob Neilson, it shows us on page 344 where to place information that users will be looking for when coming to a web site. An example he gave was links to corporate information are commonly found at the top and bottom of the homepages. This is a true because when you apply for jobs at a company, you find information about the company at the bottom of their page. If that information was placed elsewhere, then most users, even myself, would not be able to find the information. I can agree with his statement that placing items where people expect them to be ensures that you will see what you are looking for. Every time I load a webpage, I have expectations about where I will find the information I want.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Alpha Phi Omega

I thought this website is organized. I am member of this organization for the past four years and think it is very interesting that it has news and features articles that are related to this organization. I think it is very pleasing for the users’ eye because the colors are vibrant. I think there should be more photographs on the page and more information about what this organization does. The URL is:

Navigation: Be Consistent: Blog #4

In the book, “Prioritizing Web Usability” written by Jakob Neilson, it discusses how consistency is a fundamental concept in navigation. Keeping a consistent navigational structure helps people visualize their current location and options, and minimizes guesswork” (Neilson 178). I thought this was interesting because I get really aggravated when websites’ navigation changes when linking to different pages. Either the back button stops working or you cannot exit the page. It makes me very frustrated as a user when this happens. It would make me happy if on every webpage the navigation would be the same.

Usability problems-Chp 4

One of my guilty pleasures is reading celebrity gossip. So, I turn to none other than to get the latest scoop. I like the site but can't stand all of the ads that are located on the right hand corner of the screen. They are very distracting and I feel it takes away from the content and causes a usability issue.

For one of my other classes, we have to print out the assigned readings every week. Most of the articles are in pdf format. I know it only takes an extra few minutes but I can't stand the fact that I have to save the files to my drive and then print them out. PDF/Printing was listed on the scale of misery.

Finally, privacy/security settings I thought should have been listed as a bigger usability problem. If you don't feel comfortable entering your information on a website, you aren't going to return to it.

Do you trust me?

I agree with Nielson's point on the problems in an about page. If there is not enough ifo about a company, chances are, I'm not going to click further. Financial instituions soliciting new business should assauge all my fears that they aren't just phising for money (like those online "help a deposed king withdraw his millions of dollars). If I can't see a human, then my trust level is effected by the strength of words, something not easily built by war phrases such as "friendly" or "family".

Friday, October 5, 2007


While I was reading chapter four I noticed that one of the biggest problems on a site is the search. And at first I thought that might be wrong but then I realized that there have been so many times that I have searched for things and not looked in the right category and have spent a great deal of time trying to figure out which category I should be searching in and inevitably I figure out but it does take me a while. I think that simplyfing it or making it clearer does aid the user greatly.

Pump Down the Volume

Although our text is a recent update of the things that annoy us online, a topic I feel has grown in popularity recently and isn't receiving much attention in our readings is the use of sound on websites.

Sound, whether its spoken word, unrequested music or a pop up sound effects are one of the most irritating things I find on websites today, and cause me to almost immediately leave a page if I can't turn it off.

Has anyone else noticied this recent trend? And is anyone else as turned off by this as me?


While we are in a class about web design and visual aesthetics, I would like to comment about the new Quinnipiac Athletic website. I do not like the new design. It is hard to find results from the archives, most of them are out of order or there are doubles and triples of each article. Also, they do not update as often as the old website. I feel it is hard for the user to readjust. What is your opinion? The URL is:


I had an interesting experience with my collage assignment this week that involved moving things from one picture to my collage canvas.

Basically, copying the selected segment using one of the selection tools didn't work 95% of the time. Most of the time I would get an inverted outline of what I wanted, and when I would go and invert my selection in the previous picture, it still didn't copy over the selection I wanted.

So I just started chopping up my originals and pasting them onto my collage canvas. That worked great.

I remember when doing the vegetable assignment the book briefly mentioned something about this, or something related to it. When I looked I couldn't find it though, which means I am hopeful that this would come up in the chapter on how to make a collage of elements.

Any ideas?

Thursday, October 4, 2007


One site that I use very often is the Amtrak site, and it is one of the most annoying sites that I know. This site not only breaks the cardinal rule of breaking the back button, but if you are able to get back to the main page, it loses all the information that you have stored. The train stations that are offered open up in a new browser, and you have to scroll to find the station you want. It is a mess and it breaks multiple "Three Skull" rules, yet I keep coming back for more. I need to buy my train tickets ahead of time, and this is the only place I know. Even if I knew somewhere else I would probably still go to the Amtrak site. I don' t know why this is, maybe the brand name, but despite the defects of the site, I have learned to live with the poor usability issues. It seems crazy that such a big name like Amtrak would have these issues, but it just goes to show you that money doesn't equal usability and efficiency.


Usability & Design Pitfalls

The one thing that we never want to hear in the world of web design is that the design is not user friendly. As Nielson points out, problems become severe when they fall under three main factors: Frequency, Impact, and Persistence - each of which has various levels of severity. Additionally, Neilson scales the problems into main problem categories that are frequently encountered by users; of these categories, the main 6 are: Search, Find ability, Page Design, Information, Task Support, and Fancy Design.

Contrary to Nielson's argument that "As much as web designers love to discuss the importance of elements such as graphics and layout, page design is not that important for people's ability to use web sites." I feel that deign has everything to do with the user's ability to interact with a site. You could have some really interesting content (text), but the website would not be user friendly/impactful/use able if it consists of poor design.

What is interesting to note about Nielson's findings is that all of the problems he outlines tend to lend themselves to a single problematic idea - design has impact on the outcome of the user experience. Poor design equals poor usability. If something is not easily search able, then it can easily be blamed on the design , because object/categories/subjects are not properly grouped together. Similar assumptions may be mad in relation to Find ability, Page design etc...

What we can learn from design is that asthetics is key to an excellent experience. You cannot create an aw--inspiring experience if the user's sensory is not fully intrigued by the design.


Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Best buy

I really like Bestbuy’s website because it it has what is currently on sale and the new products coming out on the market. What I did not like is that I think there are too many links to items and pages. Also, I think it has too much information on the main webpage. The URL is:

When web sites annoy

Chapter four states that although poor page designs cause annoyance to users, it is not a direct cause of a user’s failure on a web site. This chapter was very interesting because I agreed with the point that poor page designs that cause annoyance eventually leads to a user’s dissatisfaction with the site, thus leading to his reluctance to visit the site in the future. Personally, I rarely return to a web site that I find annoying or hard to navigate. There are just too many web sites out there that provide the same services.

Although it is important to focus on major usability problems, minor problems become just as important when there is enough of them to deter a user from a site. For example, if I visited a web site that had small font that was hard to read, links that do not change color when clicked and constant pop up windows, I would try my best to avoid that particular site in the future. Yes, it may be true that I could find what I need from that site, but it would probably take me a lot longer than being on a site that had none of these issues. Why would I want to put myself through all that when I can have a happier experience somewhere else? This is why I think designers should pay as much attention to the little problems as they do to the big ones. There is no doubt that experienced users will eventually get through little annoyances, but enough of them will discourage users from returning.

A Tale of the Scale of Misery

A couple of days ago, I went to this website (The College of Westchester)
because I work at a university and needed to look up some course descriptions
for an incoming student. This turned out to be one of the most frustrating
experiences I've ever had on a website. Oddly enough, there is no search field
anywhere on the site! Not even a site map! They have a drop down list of quick
links (which I think was on Nielsen's list of nasties, too), but that wasn't very helpful
at all, either. It took me to a few different landing pages in the site, but other than
that, I couldn't find any relevant information whatsoever. The whole experience was nerve-wracking and frustrating. Most schools post an HTML or PDF version of their course catalog, but not this one. I pretty much know the reasoning behind this - this institution is
more commercial, and wants potential students to fill out a "request information" form so they can contact the student over the phone and do their whole sales pitch (sounds sort of like our discussion last week about having to register on sites before they'll let you do anything).
Definitely not good at all for business. What college-aged student (or anyone else, for that
matter) has patience to weed through the entire site? I can't understand how they manage
to do business, unless it's mostly through newspaper ads, open houses, word of mouth, etc. They really need to think about fixing this problem, though, because the best way to reach
college age students these days is online.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Scale of....Misery!!!

Dun Dun Dun I tried to find a wheel of torture picture to post...but none were really appropriate.

Was anyone else surprised that "Sound" was given such a low percentage on the "scale of misery," which rates how web design mistakes weigh on users?

When it comes to web design, are we only concerned with the aesthetics?

I feel that every time our class has a discussion about flaws in web design someone laments about how when they find the automatic sports broadcast when they log onto to be an annoyance.

Once site that came to mind that is rather obnoxious, but the layout is nice is Room960. There is really loud house music when you log on, but makes sense since it is a web site for a trendy lounge that specializes in bringing renound DJ's to Hartford. There is even an option to the left to change the song, which is really interesting given the context of this site. Just don't open accidently at work!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Page 131 Revised

In the book, “Prioritizing Web Usuablity” by Jakob Neilson, on page 131, it talks about the problems that users of websites have when on a website. “This means that you must look beyond search and findability to determine why your sire isn’t fulfilling its business potential” (Neilson 131). Users are not satisfied because they are not receiving the information they want from a webpage. The user would rather not go to another webpage if they can find the information they need on yours.

*It would not let me edit my post so I had to repost it.

Page 131

In the book, “Prioritizing Web Usuablity” by Jakob Neilson, on page 131, it talks about the problems that users of websites have when on a website. “This means that you must look beyond search and findability to determine why your sire isn’t fulfilling its business potential” (Neilson 131. Users are not satisfied because they are not receiving the information they want from a webpage. The user would rather not go to another webpage if they can find the information they need on yours.


Leonardo DaVinci once wrote, "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." I have been thinking about simplified color schemes as a result of our in-class discussion and also about simplicity of design and how that has the potential to enhance usability.

The home page of the International Rescue Committee,, offers a good example of effective use of restraint in color scheme. Gold and black happen to be the logo colors of the organization, but the addition of gray and yellow-orange provide a limited color range that is particularly effective as a backdrop to the full color photographs of the organization's work.

An example of simplicity of design is offered by the Yale University Press home page at The links are clear and simple. The highlighted books stand out and "unfold" when the cursor is moved over each image. There is no clutter to confuse the user. All the elements are placed above the fold. Leonardo would have been pleased.