Name: David Wolfand
This is my critique for Smartgrowth.UMD.edu based on the Eight Golden Rules.
Overall, the site is fairly consistent in term of their green color scheme and use of java script when mousing-over the navigation buttons. The only issue I noticed was the varying types of research papers where some were PDF’s and some were DOC’s.
I think that the site could be used by a range of people with different experiences and backgrounds but it is not very interactive, it is simply informative. Making the site a bit more interactive may draw in the viewers a bit more. Also, the ‘Contact Us’ button is generally one of the most important things and is buried in the Home tab and cannot be used when navigating though any of the other tabs on the site. This should maybe be moved to the information bar on the left.
Some of the links on the research pages did not even connect to an actual document. An example of this can be seen in the first article on the Transportation and Public Health Page which takes the user to another search page and does not show up in any searches results either. The ugly green bars to the right and left of every page tend to distract me, I don’t feel as though the few pictures on the right do anything to enrich my experience on the site and the information on the left is just not necessary to be seen next to every page viewed.
Dialogs Yield Closure
There is a lack of user interaction on the site and thus no use of dialogs or interactive messages.
As stated above, there is a lack of user interaction, so there really isn’t anywhere that a user could make an error except in the research paper search box which just yields an empty result.
Ease of Action Reversal
The only issue that I found was when using the research paper search feature, whenever a search is made, whether a result is yielded or not, there is no link to go back to the search page to do another search. Internal Locus of Controls The site is written in almost all HTML so back and forward buttons seemed to work flawlessly; all links seem to be working fine as well. A nice thumbs-up here guys.
Short-term Memory Load
Some pages of the site do have a bit too much information, like the home page for instance. It makes it very hard to understand exactly what the site is used for and what its main focus really is. It seems like it is offering too many things in one place.