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.

SyntaxThe 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.

GranularityCarsales 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.

ComprehensivenessI 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

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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.