Blog 3 Pt. IV

4. Design a metadata matrix that presents the vocabulary terms and relationships.  You need only present accepted and variant terms in an accompanying controlled vocabulary database (there is no need to develop extensive synonym rings or explode the vocabulary to include broader and narrower terms).  (Search the Internet for examples of how to create a metadata matrix.)

Metadata Matrix:

Listed below is the website Metadata Matrix for the site along with the controlled vocabulary terms. This is listed in order to assist in controlling the vocabularies database. These variant terms will be particular useful for users whose first language is not English, as the site and all content/services is available internationally.

Vocabulary

Description

Examples

Maintenance

Members

Site visitors who have created an account

Login

Moderate

Audience

Type of users the website will appeal to most

First time visitors, experience travellers, students, elderly, businessman

Easy

Page Type

Type of page on the website

Booking pages, information pages, member pages, home page

Easy/Moderate

Specials (details and price)

Provides updates on current specials on various pages

New Flight/Group/Cruise/Car Hire limited offers

Challenging

Search

Users able to index the website for keywords

Search: Groups, Flights, Airlines, Locations, Hotel Name, etc

Challenging

Flights

Details related to flights and the bookings

Airline, Departing and Returning Dates, class, number of people

Moderate

Cruises

Details related to cruising and bookings

Cruise line, departing and returning dates, suite type, number of passengers

Moderate

Car hire

Details related to car hire and bookings

Car hire company, model and make of car

Moderate

 

 

Controlled Vocabulary:

Accepted Term

Variant Terms

Hotels

Accommodation, Resorts, Motels

Search

Index, Find, Locate

Subscribe

Sign Up

Reviews

Testimonials, Reports

Specials

Updates, exclusive deals, limited offers

Car

Vehicle, Bus, Vans

Flights

Tickets, Plane

Departing

Leaving, From

Returning

Arriving, To, From

Groups

Packages, Teams

 

Blog 3 Pt. III

3. Create a series of low/medium fidelity wireframes for the main pages of the web site.  This should include at the very least, the web site’s home page, a content page and a navigation (or search page).  (Refer to Morville Chapter 12 for how to create wireframes.)

We will now look at wireframes of each of the different site pages and how they will (preliminary) laid out and arranged. These are the wireframes for the following pages: Flight Booking, Car Hire Booking, Cruise Booking, Hotel Booking, Contact Us, Customer Reviews, Insurance Information and Signing Up. When considering these wireframes, note the consistency throughout and the visual appeal the site provides to its users.

The site will be compatible in all browsers though it must be noted the site is optimized for desktop browsing and is not yet catered directly to mobile users. These are again, prototype pages not reflecting precisely how the pages will be laid out. Simply click on any of these images in order to see a full sized copy of the respective image.

Book Sketch

Flight Page: This page enables users to check available flights and then book and purchase tickets. The page utilities drop dead menus and traditional user input with each component of the site being correctly labelled for indexing and readability purposes.

  Cruise2

Cruise Page: Similar the the flights page, this page enables users to check what cruises are able to be booked in a designated time-frame. Once selected, a description is generated containing all of the details regarding that cruise. The details are entered following that and once submitted via the “Book Now”, the booking is either made or the user directed to the Log-In / Sign Up page. Note the use of available screen real estate and consistency with the Car Hire and Hotel bookings pages.

Contact Sketch

Contact Page: Listed on this page are the details in the event users wish to contact the agency via the described methods. This will be presented in plain text with a large and clear font size as well as being positioned in the center of the screen again, for readability. In addition to this plain text, a submission box is presented allowing the users if they desire, to contact the agency via email directly without the use of third party software (i.e Microsoft Outlook, Gmail Clients)

CarHire

Car Hire Page: The car hire page is structured very closely to the cruise line booking, with the exact same generating content based of user selected though with a different set of details entered.

Customer Review

Customer Reviews Page: The review page is kept intentionally simple as it allows the user to focus on the content they intend to submit. Cluttering the page with unnecessary data and features would only impact the site and associated reviews negatively. Presented on the page are a scrollable area displaying the previous testimonials, a  text-input box with a scrollable bar (if the text exceed the designated length) with a name box and submission box.

Group Sketch

Group Page: The group page is structurally differently to the other website sections as it is exclusively a content-presentation page. The page will only show details (updated regularly) of current group specials, using both text and imagery. Online group booking could be potentially problematic as each passenger of the group may require different schedules and itineraries.

Home Sketch

Home Page: Presented to the users upon opening this sitel, with the exception of the site template, it greatly differs from the other pages. It is divided into four separate sections with current specials (Groups, Flights, Cruises, Hotels, etc), a travel video tailored specifically to the site, imagery tailored specifically to the site and a History and About Us regarding the company and agency.

Hotel Sketch

Hotel Page: Designed in a similar fashion to the Cruise/Car hire pages with only the booking specific details differing (i.e. Suite Type). Again content is generated based off the users selected from the list, the list is generated based off the data inputted on the left hand side of the page (Country, Town, State).

Insurance Sketch

Insurance Page:  Divided into two sections, the first component provides a list of suitable agencies and the estimated pricing per passenger while the second component describes why a user should invest in insurance despite it not actually being needed in order to travel.

Sign Up

Sign Up / Login: Divided into two segments, which the user selects based on whether or not if they have an existing account the user enters requested information (DOB, Name, etc) and then submits the information and checks either the registers database to see if they have an account registered or create an account and add it to the database.

Below is a sample of what the websites home page will look like once correctly coded, uploaded then viewed in a desktop browser.

Sample of the Home page (index.html) when viewed

Sample of the Home page (index.html) when viewed

Blog 3 Pt. II

2. Construct blueprint diagrams illustrating the structure by which a user will interact with your web site’s components.  It is important to include arrows to indicate flow between various sections/pages of the web site.  Provide descriptions of the diagrams showing how the user will interact with your web site.  Describe what form of navigation it is (e.g., contextual, index terms, etc.) and what type of browsing it supports (e.g., hierarchical, polyhierarchical, etc.).  (Refer to Morville Chapter 12 for how to create blueprints.)

As the below diagram illustrates, the user will be presented with the site Home Page and from there they can select which area of the site to navigate to. The top navigation bar provides the most commonly access areas while the bottom navigation bar provides them with the less commonly used such as the Contact Us and Linked In and Facebook external pages. A search bar is consistently present on all site pages to allowing indexing and an effortless way to browse and search through the sites content.

The website follows a hierarchical structure with the home page being the “hub” of the website with the booking components linking to the Sign Up/Log In page. This Sign Up/Log In page, once data has been submitted, accesses the Member database and if approved will accept the user or create them respectively.

The site applies nearly entirely global navigation throughout the site which each page being able to be reached regardless of current location. This global navigation however, does not apply if the user is directed to one of the external sites as a new tab displaying the desired page will appear.

The use of the large and prominent heading links on the navigation bar is what allows the site to be classified as global. The selection of global navigation in comparison to local or contextual was intentional as travelers can use multiple services in succession if desired (i.e. they want to book a flight then hire a car from the airport). An advantage of this is the user has no need to go back throughout previously revisited pages which could prove potentially problematic in a booking system as well as allowing ease of access and site navigation though this isn’t to say that it is not possible to navigate further up the website hierarchy via this method.

Blue Print

Simply click the image to view a full size version

Blog 3 Pt. I

Design a web site about something that you like (preferably business or educational in nature).  The web site must be of a small to medium size (no less than ten pages). 

1. Describe exactly who the anticipated audience is, and how the particular characteristics of this audience will affect the design and implementation of your web site.  You must be very specific.  Outline the target audience’s characteristics such as gender, age, demographics, and socio-economic background.

Introduction:

For this component of Blog 3, I have selected a Travel Agency with online components allowing users to book various parts of their journey requiring only access to a browser of their choice. This site design must reflect both professionalism and ease of access allowing any user from the target market to perform the sites core function as easily as possible.

The site provides the ability to book: flights, hotels, cruises and hire a car as its primary services. In addition to these services, users (satisfied or dis-satisfied) can leave feedback on the site courtesy of the Customer Reviews section and also access related information such as Travel Insurance amongst others.

Target Market:
As an online travel agency, a particular target market is difficult to narrow down. This is due to the fact that people from a wide range of demographics require travel services as opposed to one specific sub-group of people. With online agencies and booking become more and more popular in the modern age, the target market could range from teenagers to the elderly though admittedly older customers may prefer to go to a physical store to receive face-to-face interaction. Therefore it is a fair assumption that while the site can be accessed by all demographics to the same standard, the site focuses primarily on young adults to the middle aged with no specific gender particularly targeted. In terms of location, as website users from any part of the world can access and utilise the site so there is no specific geographic requirements, although Australians are more likely to stumble upon the site compared to users from the opposite side of the world.

The visitors have no educational or even technological requirements to meet with the exception of being able to at some level, use a browser and possess basic computer skills.
The website can be used to book services both domestically and internationally therefore this allows all users regardless of their income and financial status (i.e. simply booking a cheap flight to Sydney or a first class ticket to London) to utilise the services of the agency without their finances dramatically impacting the decision.
Based off this information the target market (note this is the target market, the sites visitors are by no means limited to these few types of users) can be safely said to include:

  • Experienced/Inexperienced Travellers
  • Young to middle aged adults
  • People from all locations
  • Mid-high level of income
  • Students and business orientated users
  • Both individuals/families and groups requiring travel (i.e. Sports teams)

Site Layout:

The website design largely reflects the sites target audience, featuring a simplistic layout that makes great use of available screen space. The site doesn’t overcomplicate with unnecessary features which will benefit both experienced and infrequent travellers equally.
The colour scheme aims to achieve: a visual appeal to all users, remain consistent throughout all site pages and also not distract from the core site services. The background of all pages will feature a Blanched Almond-esque blending with a white gradient. Applying large and easily readable black headings and text on all pages ensures that each element of the site can be easily viewed regardless of who is viewing it.
With this colour scheme and layout in place, this also allows users to view the website on a variety of different devices including laptops, desktops, phones and tablets.

Each page of the website is navigated via the simply clicking on the appropriate section with each being labelled accordingly. This navigation bar will remain on each page allowing the user to travel throughout the site as they please.

The overall site-layout strongly resembles websites that operate a similar service, this therefore allows a visitor to automatically know where to go and how to use the site based off prior experiences with these types of sites.

ANS-0001-TRL free-web-template-exotic-travel-agency

Blog 2 Pt. III

Take a screen capture of the main page of web site of your own choice and post it on your blog.  Create a table (similar to page 101 of Morville – Chapter 6) describing the navigational labels.  The table should present the name of the label, the destination page’s heading label, and the destination page’s <TITLE> label.  

I decided to do Carsales.com.au due to recently browsing the site, having some familiarity with it,  the current popularity of the site and it being (what I consider to be) a well designed and labelled website.

CarSales

CarSales website Home Page

Name of Label

Destination Page’s Heading Label

Destination Page’s <TITLE> Label

Top-of-page navigation system labels

Cars for sale

Cars for sale

Used Cars – New Cars- Search New and Used Cars for Sale – carsales.com.au

New car showroom

New car showroom

New car showroom- carsales.com.au

Sell your car

Sell your car

Sell your car- Australia No1 Autosite 3.4 Million Buyers- carsales.com.au

Parts & Services

Accessories

Car Parts & Accessories- Search New & Used Car Parts & Accessories – carsales.com.au

Research

Research

Car Reviews & Research – carsales.com.au

News & reviews

News & reviews

Car Reviews- Read Car Reviews, News Car Advice Online – carsales.com.au

Help

Help

Help Center – carsales.com.au

Our sites

Our sites

Car Sales Network- carsales.com.au

Sign in

Sign in

Sign in – carsales.com.au

Join

Join

Join – carsales.com.au

Bottom-of-page navigation system labels

Terms & conditions

Terms & conditions

Terms & conditions- carsales.com.au

Privacy

Privacy

Privacy Policy – carsales.com.au

Contact us

Contact us

Help Centre- carsales.com.au

Editorial team

Editorial team

Editorial team – Read Car Reviews, News & Car Advice Online- carsales.com.au

About us

About us

About us- carsales.com.au

Careers

Careers

Carsale Careers – Career Opportunities and more! – carsales.com.au

Corporate advertising

Corporate advertising

Find the right online advertising solution for your business – Home- MediaMotive

Competitions

Competitions

Carsales People’s Choice Awards – carsales.com.au

Shareholders

Shareholders

Shareholders Centre home– carsales.com.au

Site map

Site map

Site map- carsales.com.au

Popular searches

Popular searches

Popular searches- Carsales.com.au-  carsales.com.au

a. What labels you did not like and why, and suggest improvements.

Personally, I found the site to be well designed with a consistent, easily navigable and a visually appealing colour scheme. The sites purpose is to advertise cars and various related products and the site obliges this by allowing a user to go online, easily access the desired information and content (not an intentional course namedrop) without unnecessary effort and minimal hassle. I can’t suggest any improvements per say as the website is both effective and manages its use of labels well.

b.  Whether there were any inconsistencies in the labelling system between the pages (in terms of style, presentation, syntax, granularity, comprehensiveness and audience).

Style- The overall website style and appearance is very well designed with a professional and cohesive appearance. A user can browse the website in its entirely but still be presented with the same core page with the elements remaining the same and the content changing. Due to this, Carsales is extremely user friendly and stylistically appealing and this has resulted in it being the most popular Carsales website within the Australian community.

Presentation- The site presents itself very well with the site having plenty of information and links without feeling overpopulated with irrelevant content. Numerous other sites attempt to combine multiple types of navigation methods (such as sidebars as well as top of page menus) but Carsales has a simple and effective layout and this is retained regardless of whatever page of the site you are linked to.
Overall the sites presentation featured no notable inconsistencies with font sizes and types being the same throughout and making an effective yet not cramped use of available space, though this is to be expected due the sites current popularity and (presumably) high budget design and implementation.

Syntax- The site had excellent syntax as each of menu links is clear and describes precisely what the user will be navigated to which attributes to the overall positive user experience. Again, this can be contributed to the sites popularity which would ensure that it is easily navigable for its market, which includes people from a wide range of demographics. In terms of its heading labels, Carsales sticks primarily to nouns and this is beneficial as it retains a certain cohesiveness by not branching out to other syntactical approaches.

Granularity- Carsales presents itself very well overall and has a high level of technical details. The labels each have a unique purpose and seldom overlap into the same topics/links. The labels possess the same level of granularity and are specific enough to allow the user to know what it is they are clicking on.

Comprehensiveness- I personally found the site to be very comprehensive covering all major and several minor aspects that a user may want and/or need to know when buying or selling a car and based off my observations, they have done an exemplary job of deciding what requires its own subsection. The appropriate and more prominent/popular sections had a label for quick access and the less prominent areas were contained within sub-sections though not to the point of being confusing. Unless the user is seeking something unusually specific, all the information required is available somewhere on the website and should be relatively simple to locate.

Audience- Carsales.com has a very wide audience in terms of those who frequent the site as nearly everyone will at some point require a motor vehicle, however, every visitor comes with a specific purpose. Usually it is either with the intent of buying a car or selling a car and based off this knowledge, Carsales has managed to tailor the site to its audience very well. The site employs understandable terminology and avoids technical jargon for inexperienced users and has created a navigation system which can be easily used by its entire target market assuming they have the base knowledge to access the site and are aware of what it is they are seeking.

 c.  Examine at least two other similar or competing web sites.  How similar are the labelling systems?  Is any one site clearly the winner (and if so, why)?

CarGuide

CarsGuide website Home Page, a direct competitor to Carsales

CarsWanted

CarsWanted website Home Page, a direct competitor to Carsales

I selected CarGuide (http://www.carsguide.com.au/) and CarsWanted (http://www.carswanted.com.au/) which are both Australian based online Car retailers providing essentially the same service that Carsales does. These websites are therefore direct competitors in the market and have similar though subtly different labels based off observations made from the respective sites.

While these three sites possess similarities, due to providing the same function, there are also obvious differences once a close look is taken, CarsWanted is more a business orientated website offering only Home, About, How It Works, Where We Buy and FAQ in the top-of-the-page navigation system labels whilst CarGuide is very closely resembling Carsales with labels for Reviews and Tools & Advice.

The bottom-of-page navigation system labels for CarsWanted differ from the other two websites due to possessing them previously in the top-of-page navigation. This decision is a logical one as having two of the same links in different places would be unnecessary and may cause some issues with viewers who are familiar with the more popular sites. That being said, this does deter greatly from the overall site navigation and accessibility.
CarGuide on the other hand has bottom-of-page labels which bear a striking similarity to Carsales, with the labels and links being nearly identical and even being ordered the same.

From these observations it is safe to assume that numerous other eCar retailers will follow a labelling structure in the same vein as Carsales and based off its success; it is clearly effective.

While each of these separate sites have positive and negatives, based on personal preference, I believe Carsales is the clear winner out of the trio for a couple of reasons and these may contribute to why Carsales is the most well-known and prominent out of the three with the general public and audience agreeing on some level (even subconsciously) with my thought process.

Neither CarGuide nor CarsWanted have a very well implemented menu labelling system, with the labels not remaining at the top of the web page when scrolling which limits the user’s access and forces them to manually scroll up if they wish to navigate around the website.

Additionally, the colour scheme is not cohesive or aesthetically appealing with CarsGuide having a white on white scheme and CarsWanted having a grey on grey design. While these are not necessary bad choices, CarSales possesses a distinctive black menu with contrasting white labels making them easily apparent and visible to the users. Finally, the Carsales site simply looks better, it has a simple yet distinctive visual appeal that these other sites have failed to induce or replicate.

d. Look at how other students have answered this question and comment on their blogs.

Will Update At A Later Date

Blog 2 Pt. II

Arrange the following list in alphabetical order, then answer the questions below:

#!%&: Creating Comic Books
$35 a Day Through Europe
.38 Special
1-2-3 of Magic, The
1001 Arabian Nights
Albany, New York
El Paso, Texas
H20: The Beauty of Water
Hague, Netherlands, The
Lord of the Rings, The
New York, New York
Newark, New Jersey
Plzen, Czech Republic
Saint Nicholas, Belgium
St. Louis, Missouri
XVIIme siècle

(The placed as the end of each title containing it as it is often ignored or disregarded)

a) Did you put The Hague under T or H?

I placed the H first as ‘The’ in an ordered or alphabetical listing is usually omitted.

b) Did you put El Paso under E or P?

I filed it under E because this list contains English words and is written in the English language, however, El also means ‘the’ in Spanish which (like mentioned before) is omitted from an ordered list. It may be placed in either depending on the list itself though, obviously with a list written entirely in the Spanish language it would be illogical to have it under the E and would thus be placed in the P.

c) Which came first in your list, Newark or New York?

I placed New York before Newark for a couple of reasons, if the space is considered to be a character/symbol then this comes before the character A. Additionally if we were to look at this list in terms of an ASCII table then the value of the space character (32) is lower than the value of an ‘a’ character (97). This is only when factoring the space though; otherwise the result would be inverted with A coming before Y alphabetically.

d) Does St. Louis come before or after Saint Nicholas?

I have placed St. Louis after Saint Nicholas primarily because though ‘St.’ is often an abbreviation of Saint, St. Louis is nearly always referred to as such and seldom expanded into the full word Saint. If it was to be expanded, surely the list would have it written for the sake of consistency.

e) How did you handle numbers, punctuation, and special characters?

I ranked the special characters (#!%&:, $, . ) before the numbers as this is how a majority of lists are often organized and doing so otherwise may result in confusion amongst the audience. In terms of ranking characters, I simply placed them alphabetically to allow easy navigation and for someone to locate what they were looking for without unnecessary effort.

f) Assuming the italicised terms are book titles, what might be a more useful way to organise this list?

There are numerous ways you could organise this list if the italicised items are book titles. Some include: by author name, category, fiction and non-fiction, date published amongst others.
The most logical way to be to attempt to separate the book titles from the other list entries, either in a separate list entirely or at the start of the list followed by the locations or vice versa.

g) If the cities represent places you’ve visited and the book titles are ones you’ve read, how could chronology be used to order the list in a more meaningful way?

If that was the case the best course would be to separate the two types of entries (books and cities) but retain chronological (presumably by date read and date arrived in city respectively) order for both of them. This would be best as it would avoid the confusion of having two different topics organised into one single chronological listing.

h) Look at how some of the other students have organised this information and comment on their blogs.
Will Update At Later Date

Posted in Blog 2. 4 Comments »

Blog 2 Pt. I

Describe what role an Information Architect plays in the development of a web site.

Many users consider a website to be a product of the combined efforts of the client it’s designed for, the web programmers responsible for the coding and the graphic designers responsible for the design phase but often overlook one of the most crucial elements in the process; the information architect.  

BusinessDictionary.com defines an information architecture as a “Set of rules that determine what, and how and where, information will be collected, stored, processed, transmitted, presented, and used. On the internet, information architecture means how a website’s content is organized and presented to its users to facilitate navigation and search functions” (http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/information-architecture.html)

In the same way an architect is responsible for organisation and planning of a building (most often a building), an information architect is the person responsible for the organisation and planning of the information on a website. 

Image

Their primary task it to ensure that the information displayed on designated web site is structured in such a way that the user is able to easily navigate and meet their needs.

It’s their job to decide certain key aspects of the site including (but not limited to):

  • The functionality the site will possess
  • The mission and purpose of the website
  • The labelling and indexing/site searching aspects of the site
  • Navigation (both the primary and secondary and information organization aspects
  • The top end and bottom end designs

These aspects may seem relatively trivial or irrelevant to a front end user at first glance, but once understood the meaning and depth behind each task that the IA performs, it is clear how crucial the role they play truly is. They possess a unique skill set (follow this link for an interview regarding an IA’s skill set http://www.uie.com/articles/ia_essential/) that is indispensable to the companies that they work within.

The role of information architect is primarily invisible to the standard web site user and they are often overlooked as a result of this.

The fact they are often overlooked due to the behind-the-scenes nature of their job, however, in no way diminishes the impact of the job that they perform as if their role was non-existent very few websites would be as effective or as popular as they currently are.

 

If an IA has performed his job exceptionally well then the user will not even be aware of their existence because they are preoccupied with the information being accessed, not how it got there or the structure of it.

However, this also goes the opposite way as it can be easily apparent when an IA has done a poor job based on the user’s interactions with the website. The potential outcomes of a website with poor information architecture design shows how crucial the role of an information architect truly is. If a user can navigate to a website and in the smallest amount of time obtain the information they seek with minimal effort, this reduces the time wasted for the user and they are satisfied with the website and more likely to visit again.

For example, if a site has too much information or the information is not well presented, the site is likely to become cluttered, confusing and generally an inconvenience to use which will limit its impact, use and profitability.

 

Image

The information architect must be aware of certain things at all times both during the development process and after, such as the volume of data/content and whether or not that will increase or decrease, understanding the purpose of the sites, the target audience demographic and the needs of the consumers accessing it, the appropriate terminology for those users, the business’ resources available and the goals and objectives that they have in place for the website.

Due to the nature of their job they are often interacting with various members and elements of website development including but not limited to: clients, site programmers, database staff, graphic designers, department managers, project managers and of course the users they are structuring the content around. 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.