The site I chose to critique is QUIZLET, an online studying/flashcard/testing site that as a student, I visit almost on a daily basis. The purpose of Quizlet is to be an online study tool for both students and teachers. The voice of the site is causal and effective for this material because of the use of informal writing. The writing on this site is meant to be quick and to the point in order to be created into flashcards. I think the tone, however, is a little difficult to determine. Because there are no formal writing pieces, it is hard to decipher content Quizlet itself is providing/promoting….The users are the creators of content on the site.
As far as advertising, when you publish Quizlet sets, they are automatically made public and available for other users of Quizlet or any internet user. You need to manually make sets you create private, otherwise they will remain public. I think Quizlet made this change to increase the use of content on the website and promote the sharing of Quizlet sets. This was the only instance that I thought may be seen as “sneaky marketing.”
The elements of the website promote usage because they contribute to the purpose of the site: to be a quick, efficient study tool. The notecards are virtual. Concepts are divided into terms and definitions. It is possible to change flashcards to different languages, which the site prompts users to do. Terms are presented in a normal looking lined notecard and the notecard virtually flips when you want to see the opposite side, as if you were using actual notecards. There are other elements to the site as well. Besides notecards, you can study, get tested, play games, and do a variety of other study techniques with the Quizlet sets.
As far as general usage, clicking on the main Quizlet icon at the top left handed corner always returns the user to the Quizlet homepage. On the left hand there is a column consisting of different tabs to visit. It is always present on your screen and is presented by level of importance to the user so navigation has a sense of order. One of the elements of the left tool bar is creating or adding folders, which you can do by clicking on the (+) (which is very straightforward).
The graphics are fairly simple. I would make the left handed tool bar more prominent, however. Most sites have this bar going across the top of the screen. Since having the main toolbar on the side is not necessarily uniform but is beneficial for this site, it should be more bold, prominent, and eye-catching. The site should also present the folder icons as if the user was looking at a desktop. Visually, it is more universal to see your folders like they are presented in “MyComputer.” Basically, icons should be more obvious to create a better layout and promote easier navigation for the user.