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Website Review of Hitech Solutions

This is a quick usabilty review of hitechsol.net, a website for software development services.

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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.


The following three sections provide a general analysis of your website from a relatively quick review. Although Web design is still perceived as a highly creative endeavor, there are many aspects of it that call for standardization and compliance with widely established conventions. Implementing even a few of the ideas below can really improve a site.

 

  Part 1: Content Basics
    This first section is intended for typical public web sites (for products and corporate information), but also applies for the most part to intranets and software applications that run in a browser. We've been advocating many of these ideas—in the context of general software—since our 1997 book, Computers Stink, but they've been beautifully enumerated for WWW purposes in Steve Krug's book, "Don't Make Me Think."
      Click for explanation State of the Art, a Model for OthersGreat Work!Does the JobI Can HelpUndetermined/Not ExactlyNot Applicable
Hover for explanation
Comments
  1. Logo in top left, linked to home I Can Help Not linked back to home.
  2. Tagline I Can Help There are a few key sentences but none that are unique statements that distinguish HTS from other providers. Quality website design professionals in Tokyo, Japan / Website design company in Tokyo
  3. Welcome blurb Does the Job

Yes, right on home page.

  4. Plain wording Does the Job Yes
  5. No 'happy talk' I Can Help Most of the site is plain wording about web work, instead of samples of work.
  6. Concise wording Does the Job  
  7. Visited pages are distinguished by link color-coding I Can Help Most of the links are graphics where the visitation coloring is irrelevant, but the links at the bottom of the page don't show coloring either.
  8. "Utilities" are easy to find Does the Job Contact Us is the only utility.
  9. Search on all pages, with box and button Not Applicable  
  10. "You Are Here" indicator I Can Help When you click Portfolio, it is not highlighted. This is important because the page title then says "Clients."
  11. Breadcrumbs' as links Not Applicable  
       

 

 



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Part 2: Visual Design: Fonts, Colors, Layout, Basic Interaction Design, and Accessibility
As we read in a graphic artist's ad, "Technology makes it work but art makes it sell," and you should take heed. We're not graphic artists here at Uinst, but we know good art when we see it and the common denominators that separate good pages from bad are clear. Look at the top sites and you'll see they spell out the following criteria.
  Click for explanation State of the Art, a Model for OthersGreat Work!Does the JobI Can HelpUndetermined/Not ExactlyNot Applicable
Hover for explanation
Comments
1.

Sans-serif fonts

Does the Job Yes
2.

Appropriate background color

Does the Job Yes
3.
Appropriate color hues Does the Job Yes
4.
Visual representation of the information hierarchy I Can Help The three main experties areas conflict a little with the top navigation items. Some of the bottom panels, like Optimize Your Site, create questions about where things go and what the relationships are.
5.
Conservative quantity of colors Does the Job Yes
6.
Text sizes are "relative" Undetermined/Not Exactly Not everywhere.
7.
Anti-aliased graphics Does the Job Yes
8.
Graphics' file size doesn't slow navigation Does the Job Yes
9.
"Alt tags" used well Not Applicable  
10.
Links don't just say "Click Here" Does the Job  
11.
A style sheet (CSS) is used Does the Job  

 

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Part 3: Genuine Value: Useful Content & Critical Interaction Design


And now for the hard part. If all of good Web design were as clear-cut as parts 1 & 2, above, you wouldn't need much judgment and there would be a lot more good sites. But the easier the decisions are, the less significant the thinking and effort behind them... and the easier it would be to provide useful content. This section is where you make or break your rapport with the visitor. If you provide real value and give folks enough tools to get to it, they will push past the basic omissions and ignore even the most amateurish art.
  Click for explanation State of the Art, a Model for OthersGreat Work!Does the JobI Can HelpUndetermined/Not ExactlyNot Applicable
Hover for explanation
Comments
1. Questions are answered Does the Job This is really the key issue. See summary.
2. Search results get the job done Not Applicable  
3. Effective 'click tree' I Can Help The site needs to use every opportunity to focus on highlighting completed work. The navigation should work around that.
4. Conceptual flow from upper left to lower right Does the Job Yes
5. Simple, outline-like site map I Can Help Although there's not a lot of content, the site should have one anyway because they're a web shop. It would emphasize the number of completed projects.
6. Primary navigation is obvious Great Work! Yes
7. Secondary navigation is obvious Does the Job Yes
8. Contact information easily accessible State of the Art, a Model for Others Yes
9. Links are clear Great Work! Yes
10. Intro panel or animation not excessive Does the Job Yes
11. Graphics used only for core message I Can Help Too much use of clipart images. Substitute portions of your client work.

 

Summation & Next Steps

Overall Rating: I Can HelpStrives / Survives / Thrives

Hitech Solutions appears to be new web shop, apparently with a successful inroad into one line of content, automobile sites. Very similar to a previous review of CoreObjects.com, its challenges and limiting factors lie not in usability but in areas of marketing, copy writing, graphics, and creating more compelling content. My comments are similar: I'm not a marketing guy, but I'll offer my thoughts. In terms of usability, yes it has a few flaws (you-are-here indicator, site map, search, visited-link color coding) but these are all "compliance" and convenience type issues, not structural or conceptual impediments that make the site ineffective to use. One reads a few pages and gets the idea.

Recommendations:

  1. Replace the fluffy wording with screen captures or thumbnails of completed work (approx 12 sites?). I did not try to evaluate the linked sites, but there might be a lot of usability issues there. If that's what you were interested in, contact me. Make most of your site a showcase. Consider other sites that put all of the showcase information and screenshots in a side panel. Find a site that has a good model and learn from it.
  2. Show more than just home pages from your work examples. Make the 12 auto sites look like 12 areas of expertise... graphics, hard-core ecommerce work, security, Flash, database coding, requirements gathering.
  3. Cut down the predictable wording about websites. Buyers know most of the basics. If they don't they won't read about them... they'd need to be sold face-to-face.
  4. Make your site simpler and address every usability item. It has to be a model, but doesn't have to be complex or large.

Hope this helps and let me know what you think,
Jack Bellis, UsabilityInstitute.com

 


"My interest in usability arose from the pain and tears of patching the wounds of suffering interface designs with the inadequate bandages of help files and user guides." — Daniel Cohen
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