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Website usability investigation

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Using a website should be simple

Growing up in a digital industry, navigating through a web page becomes second nature. However; after reading chapter 4 from our textbook “The Multimedia Journalist: Storytelling for Today’s Media Landscape”, I realize how important it is to implement the 10 navigation structure tips into my web page and conduct usability tests. I also enjoyed comparing what I documented to what my roommate Katie documented.

The 100 gallons website was enlightening. In chronological order both mine and Katie’s navigation consisted of watching the initial video, browsing through the collage links, watching two of the videos implemented in the collage, opening the four links on the bottom of the web page and reading more about the organization Powering a Nation.

When I conducted my usability test the initial video grabbed my attention. It made me smile, laugh, cry and feel afraid. However; once the video ended, I realized the link attachments on the web page were not compatible with Explorer. The only navigation I could conduct in Explorer was viewing the initial video and open the four links on the bottom of the web page.

Once I opened Mozilla Firefox there was a lot more navigation I was able to conduct. The video was the same, but on the bottom of the player white bubbles linked to stories that related to the content in the video. Those stories were also shared in a collage that was revealed once the video ended. Katie and I both recognized that there was a lot of water statistics photo(4)provided in the collage, the white bubbles and the added links. However, Katie and I both agreed that it would be more powerful to implement that information into the initial video. There is not a lot of branding when you open the webpage, and because there was no branding we had a lot of questions about the purpose of the web page.

The major problem that occurred during our usability tests was the compatibility of the web browsers. Initially I investigated that Explorer would not open the links or the collage and Katie investigated that Safari struggled loading the video and opening different links. Because it took a long time to load the videos for Katie, she lost interest in the web page quickly.

Katie and I both enjoyed the large navigation buttons in the collage. There was a lot of non-linearity implemented into the 100 gallons web page. It was easy to return to the home page and find the creators of the 100 gallon project. It is strange that we had to link to a different web page to find the creators of 100 gallons, but once we found the Powering a Nation web page, it was simple to locate it or go back to the 100 gallons web page. The biggest navigation tip that 100 gallons did not follow was providing more than 7 options for navigation. The collage has twenty options and that amount makes it extremely confusing and overwhelming. The site is lacking clear labels and descriptions and the design of the web page was not clear and simple.

Three things that I would change about this web page is the simplicity of the design, defining a clear purpose and brand name and implement facts into the initial video.

Three things that I would not change about this web page is the placement of the initial video, the facts and statistics and the diversity of industries and people involved in the page.

Powering a Nation’s mission is inspiring. They want to restore and encourage a sense of respect and wonder to our cultural view of water and to start a conversation about water problems and solutions in our country. This assignment inspired me to make a difference in our world. It taught me the do’s and dont’s when building and designing navigation structures on my web page.

– Sami Jo

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