This is a quick usabilty review of the website of an academic
tutoring site. The site is a small site, and I don't have much
time right now, so my usual review will be replaced by a simple
bullet list of observations.
Congratulations! This is a free usability
review from UsabilityInstitute.com. "Usability" refers
to how easy and effective it is to use a Web site. Although
it involves how a site looks (graphic artwork), it is primarily
concerned with how a site works, what you click on, what happens,
and whether the site does its job. Perhaps
this review is all you need to improve your site. If that's
the case, great. Please mention UsabilityInstitute.com if
you talk with others who need help with their site.
||Excellent site overall, with
usability commensurate to its needs. Only a few usability
things of any significance popped out at me:
- Welcome Blurb: Summarize
right on the home page the tutoring you specialize
before "4.0 Tutoring was started
in 2006.." I see the items in the navigation
links, but don't make people guess.
- Provide "You
Are Here" highlighting of some
sort. This means that the navigation links on the right
show which page you are currently looking at. Given
your notepad motif, I'd consider an oval that looks
like a pencil-drawn
loop, surrounding the active item. But motif isn't
important. Even a simple arrow will do the job.
- Calendar: Explain the calendar widget better, perhaps
with a heading... "Use
this calendar to plan a time..."??? I'm not
sure what it's for... it wouldn't activate for
- Lighten the horizontal background crossbars to
the lightest they can be yet still achieve the
interference is an important usability issue.)
- Directions: Looks like you couldn't program the directions
destination in the "To" box. Put the
explanation above the controls... I missed it.
- Links and Page Headings: Some
usability folks are adamant that links must result
in pages that
after clicking About Us, the page heading should
Us," not "Who We Are." Probably
- Links: Change the resume links to say "Resume
of XXX, Resume of YYY, Resume of ZZZ" right below
each bio, instead of their names and an intro sentence.
- URL: Since you have a complex domain name, list it
at the bottom of every page, similarly to the email
- Bottom Links: I'm not sure you need to repeat the
nav links at the bottom of every page since you have
on the right. I think
they're a throwback to days when many links were
available only graphically in the body of the
page, so the bottom
links were there as a means to supply text alternatives.
- You also asked, "how we can grow our company
through intelligent technology..." Good question
but much broader than a free usability review. I'd look
techniques such as "Bookmark this page," and "Email
a friend." Look at other tutoring sites for ideas.
The hot technologies now are blogs, RSS (newsfeeds),
and tags. I don't have any instant thoughts on how they
would enhance a tutoring site. I could also point you
to great webdesign http://funneldesigngroup.com/ and
(see demos) that I like but
it's not clear how it translates to 4.0 success, irrespective
of the cost.
- Other than spending lots of money for a great site,
I'd have to guess that ideas that center around "community" might
be the best bet for tutoring, essentially a social activity.
What about synchronous distance tutoring... meaning the
instructor is in attendance at the same time, but over
- As far as just plain brainstorming, check out http://tiddlywiki.com/ ...
it's a self-contained web file that is like a notepad document
that acts like a blog. When fortified as http://ziddlywiki.org/
(with a database and PHP) it can even be publicly edited
on a web host but I haven't gotten that far. The whole
thing looks to me like the reinvention of the pencil and
paper, so maybe it can have some tie-in with the educational
Thanks for requesting a review and good luck, Jack
Do your hands ache after a day at the keyboard??? This review
sponsored by RSIRescue.com ...
Summation & Next Steps
Overall Rating: Strives
Hope this helps and let
me know what you think,
Jack Bellis, UsabilityInstitute.com