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Website Survival Report Card for

Congratulations. This is a free usability review from "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 if you talk with others who need help with their site. (Bookmark this site)
  • On the other hand, if you would like to put some of these recommendations into action on your site, or get a more detailed analysis, contact us.

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."
      Hover to the right for explanation State of the Art, a Model for OthersGreat work!Does the jobI Can HelpUndetermined/Not ExactlyNot Applicable
  1. Logo in top left, linked to home I Can Help In all pages but not linked.
  2. Tagline Does the job "Integrating people..." serves as the tagline but doesn't make it clear that you sell expertise (as opposed to just a newsletter or an association).
  3. Welcome blurb Does the job The "Retain, Manage, Grow..." text does the job of Welcome text, but could be better as prose.
  4. Plain wording Does the job "Your problems, our solutions" surprised me; it could be FAQ.
  5. No 'happy talk' Great work!  
  6. Concise wording Does the job  
  7. Visited pages are distinguished by link color-coding I Can Help The Tools and Strategies bullets in particular would benefit from color-coding.
  8. "Utilities" are easy to find Does the job Might as well put the address and e-mail info on home page, since it's on all subpages... especially as a nice thing for existing customers.
  9. Search on all pages, with box and button I Can Help Not critical for your site, but increasingly expected (and your name has "technology" in it). Free searches are available.
  10. "You Are Here" indicator Undetermined/Not Exactly Page headings imply it, but the main navigation has no indication.
  11. 'Breadcrumbs' as links Not Applicable Site isn't deep enough to justify it.




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.
  Hover to the right for explanation State of the Art, a Model for OthersGreat work!Does the jobI Can HelpUndetermined/Not ExactlyNot Applicable

1. Sans-serif fonts

Does the job  

2. Appropriate background color

Undetermined/Not Exactly The blue is OK for the home page, but the subpages are information-intensive pages and it gets too overpowering.
3. Appropriate color hues Does the job The gold/yellow is the most popular and appropriate accent color, but it is asked to do too much on subpages.
4. Visual representation of the information hierarchy Does the job  
5. Conservative quantity of colors Does the job  
6. Font sizes are "relative" State of the Art, a Model for Others  
7. Anti-aliased graphics Great work!  
8. Graphics' file size doesn't slow navigation Great work!  
9. "Alt tags" used well Does the job Employer-of-Choice image needs one.
10. Links don't just say "Click Here" Great work!  




Part 3: Genuine Value: Useful Content & Important 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.
  Hover to the right for explanation State of the Art, a Model for OthersGreat work!Does the jobI Can HelpUndetermined/Not ExactlyNot Applicable
1. Questions are answered Does the job  
2. Search results get the job done Not Applicable  
3. Effective 'click tree' Undetermined/Not Exactly Tools and Strategies could use more structure. The site may have outgrown the main navigation. See Summation, below.
4. Key information is prominent Does the job  
5. Conceptual flow from upper left to lower right Does the job Main navigation on right is less common but it works for this site.
6. Simple, outline-like site map I Can Help  
7. Primary navigation is obvious Great work!  
8. Secondary navigation is obvious Undetermined/Not Exactly Tools and Strategies starts to cause some confusion about what goes to where. Add the phrase "On this page:" wherever a list of links stays on a page.
9. Contact information easily accessible Does the job  
10. Links are clear I Can Help

The pattern of "gold=links" works but has some exceptions:

  • The Retain, Manage, Grow items look like links.
  • Employer of Choice image looks like links.
11. Intro panel or animation not excessive Great work!  
12. Graphics used only for core message Great work!  


Summation & Next Steps

After clicking around a fair amount, it looks like the site has more content than the primary navigation suggests. The absence of a simple outline-like site map and the lack of color-coded links make it hard to gauge the scope of the content. I would make a no-frills site map of the existing content and perhaps look for a larger set of common groupings, such as "About," "Resources," and "Services." These might even be just unlinked groupings on the main navigation, to highlight the fact that a lot of readable content is under HR& the Internet, Tools..., and Managing Technology.
     —Hope this help, Jack Bellis,


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