Investigation Report on Website Development

Investigation Report on Website Development

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Investigation Report on Website Development
For a website to be successful, you must have clear identified goals and compelling content that draws your audience to your site again and again. A good site requires a delicate balance between content, visual appeal and technology, but most of all content (Leonard-Wilkonson, n.d.). Knowledge of the market, product or service and business environment is also essential if you are going to improve business (Barnett & O'Rourke, 2006).

2.1 WHAT MAKES A GOOD WEBSITE
2.1.1 The Audience
Content is the reason people visit websites, it forms the basis of a good site. You need to know who will look at your site, what their expectations are before starting on the content. The content will need to match up with your audience's expectations (Barnett & O'Rourke, 2006). One sample audience would be prospective students looking for a programme that might interest them ("What makes a good…", n.d.). A site that reflects this is Massey University, where you can "match interest to programmes".

2.1.2 Compelling Content
Content is the most important single element on a website, this will be the reason why they visit your site in the first place (Barnett & O'Rourke, 2006). It will need to provide the visitor with the information and grab their attention.
You will need to create simple, inviting and informative content. The use of headings, short paragraphs and bullet points is highly recommended (Ekins, n.d.). A good example here is the Eastern Institute of Technology's (EIT) webpage on their programmes. It outlines the programmes in an easy to read content with breaks between headings and bullet points to make important information stand out.

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Another important factor is to keep your content updated, if it is not updated regularly, you will loose your audience (King, n.d.).

Dominate a subject area, become the site for that subject (King, n.d.). The Wellington Institute of Technology and Unitec is good examples that shows that they dominate the area of electro-technology studies.

2.1.3 Visual Appeal
Create a visual theme that is consistent and align elements on your page. The Southern Institute of Technology used this to promote their zero fees. Use graphics minimally and only to convey information you cannot show otherwise (King, n.d.). The homepage of the University of Otago is a good example of using graphics to convey a message.

It is also important to make pages as easy to read as possible, black text on a white background is the easiest to read (King, n.d.). Although Massey University used blue text on a white background it is a good example of a webpage with easy to read text. If a background colour is used, stay with the lighter shades and let the text stay black (King, n.d.). EIT used this technique very successfully on their student services page.

2.1.4 Ease of Navigation
Websites should be easy to navigate. No matter where you enter a site from, you should always be able to get back to the homepage. Every page should be easy to understand, consistent and link back to the home page (Flum, n.d.). A site that reflects this is the University of the Witwatersrand with a clearly labelled tab to go back to the homepage. In addition, The University of Pretoria site is easy to navigate as is the EIT website as they use a common set of tabs along the top of each page in order to facilitate navigation. These buttons should stand out and be clearly labelled.

It is also good to include search tools and a sitemap (Barnett, S & O'Rourke, S). The Tswane University of Technology is a good example that illustrates this point – it gives you options what you can search for, plus the added option to do a further search.

2.2 WHAT TO AVOID IN WEBSITE DESIGN
The Darul Ihsan University in Bangladesh is not the worst designed out there, but is quite poorly designed. It features some of the common mistakes that are made in web design.

2.2.1 Visual Appeal
The green background page does not fit with the rest of the page design. It is in too much of a contrast to the rest of the page. The use of different colours, fonts and font size for headings, subheadings and text is disturbing on the eye and does not flow, it makes for poor reading. The colours are thrown together as the designer saw fit (Apis, n.d).

This site also reflects poor imagery; not in the sense of too much, irrelevant or too big; rather the lack of to enhance the site.

The irrelevant banner animation – the "moving building" - is distracting and pointless and it does not really reflect what the site is about, it just shows the building from different angles.

2.2.2 Content
Although the content might be relevant, it is so cramped together that it makes for difficult reading and wants you to exit the page. Information on the different faculty pages is not informative and does not give a clear guide as to what they are about.

On the Institute of Business studies page there is a spelling mistake and you wonder if they are going to talk about massage or if you should assume it is a message.

3. CONCLUSION
3.1 The web is an interactive, dynamic and rapidly changing new communications medium, reflect that in Bright Sparks website and they will come again and again.

3.2 Well-organised, edited and timely original content set in an attractive, interactive and consistent format are traits you would want to have in your website. Become the site for training in electrical and electro-technology.

3.3 It does not matter that you have the right information on your website; if it is poorly designed you will never see your customer again because they have already gone on to someone else.


4. RECOMMENDATIONS
It is recommended that:
4.1 The content for the website is developed to suite the web audience identified. This should be done by the tutors in conjunction with the design team.

4.2 Bright Sparks contract the programming and hosting of the website to a reputable company specialising in this if the expertise could not be found within the organisation.

4.3 That the design and upkeep of the site be assigned to one department/person to ensure consistency and relevancy.



5. REFERENCES

Barnett, S., & O'Rourke, S. (2006). Communication: Organisation and Innovation. Auckland: Pearson Education

Ekins, Barry. (n.d.). What makes a good website? Retrieved March, 29, 2006 from http://www.webdzinz.co.nz/articles/whatmakes/whatmakes.html

Flum, A. (n.d.). What makes a Good Website? Retrieved April, 9, 2006 from http://www.aksi.net/website-design-tutorial2.htm

King, A.B. (n.d.). What makes a great website? Retrieved March 29, 2006 from http://www.webreference.co./greatsite.html

Leonard-Wilkonson, Theresa (April 1998). What makes a good website? Retrieved March 29, 2006 from http://www.w-edge.com/articles/goodsite.htm
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