Website Critique

For this medium post, I will be answering a chapter question from within Writing and Editing for Digital Media 2nd edition. This question specifies that I must analyze a website for effective voice, tone, and design. The website I have selected is one that I use for my internship, the Newport News Green Foundation’s website. Below is a list of criteria from which I will assess the website and its content:

Is the voice effective?

The voice is indeed effective. They strike a good balance between the professional and common by using proper eloquent vocabulary, but not jargon.

Is the tone appropriate?

For a non-profit website, the tone is very appropriate. It is both inviting and informative all at once.

What elements or features promote the use of this website?

The elements that promote the use of this website are: design simplicity, menu bar on all pages, and vertical layout preventing horizontal scrolling (making an easy transfer to mobile devices).

How are graphics and visuals incorporated, and do they encourage or discourage use?

The graphics within this website are a little clunky. They appear to be placed with less intention and more of an aim to just be seen. If they were to place their graphics a little more strategically I would say they would encourage use more, but for now they are more of an indifferent aspect than a discouraging feature.

How do they do this?

They do this through the consistent placement of a graphic on every page at the top. Unfortunately, the graphic never changes or is updated. Additionally, on other pages their graphics lack a proper flow and just appear to be placed randomly, which is not discouraging but also not encouraging to the user.

How much thought was given to navigation throughout the site?

There was clearly thought given to the navigation of this site due to the fact that every page has a minimalist, vertical layout with plenty of air to encourage scrolling and not overwhelm the users. Additionally, they have a menu bar that appears on every page which encourages a user to click through and know that they always have a way back to their previous visited pages within the site. Additionally, they have a search bar on the top of their pages which encourages easy navigation if a person is seeking something specific.

Are the elements — graphical, navigational, and metaphorical — consistently applied throughout this site?

All elements are consistently applied through the site due to every page having a common layout: on the top is a social media platform connection, image, and search bar; in the middle to the left is a navigation menu; on the bottom is the mission and value statement of the organization. Additionally, all pages follow a vertical layout and “less is more” mentality.

Is the tone or rhythm of the site consistent throughout?

The tone is consistent throughout but the rhythm is a bit off on this site. While the writing remains within the same tone, the imagery is a bit clunky and random. Some pages have massive images and videos, and others have smaller random images. They should seek a balance. Additionally, some pages with more text should have more imagery, and pages with more images should have at least text to clarify meaning or ownership of images, or at least the date of the image (being taken, or being added to the site).

Do these dimensions match the audience(s) for the site?

These dimensions do match the audience for the site. This non-profit organization often draws an older audience and thus their “less is more” mentality and simple vertical layout encourage an ease of use for these viewers and content users.


Dimensions to critique:

navigation:

This site is easy to navigate and has plenty of “air” built into the layout. This page has a vertical layout and would transfer well over to a mobile device due to the lack of a need to scroll horizontally. Lastly, this site has a menu option on all pages which makes it easy to find the proper pages and links despite an improper original click.

page layouts:

All of the pages follow the idea of “less is more” which is both good and bad for their type of web-space. Although their pages are consistent with the same image and search bar at the top, they have a bit too much “air” within some. Their pages are in need of a little more information to legitimize and maximize the utility of their website. Despite this, all pages have a vertical, user-friendly layout and are very simple to navigate and understand. Additionally, all pages follow a similar layout scheme of text and imagery with the top remaining a singular image and the bottom remaining a statement of mission and values. This increases the website’s legitimacy a bit.

consistency:

As previously mentioned, all of the pages within this site are very consistent with the image at the top remaining the same, and the statement of mission and values at the bottom remaining unchanged as well. The only aspect that changes from page to page is the text in between these two fixed structures. This predictability will help the user easily navigate and understand this local non-profit’s website.

tone and voice:

The tone of this website is very professional in some aspects, and more informal in others. On pages where organizational information is provided, the tone and voice is that of a professional organization, and on those pages that are less structured the tone and voice is a little less formal and more blog-like. One can assume this is done in order to demonstrate the switch from an informational page to a more informal and “fun” page within their website. Another factor that is obvious is the use of several voices within. Although they are consistent with tone, it is clear that several writers contributed to the content due to their syntax.

writing quality:

The writing quality is very high. Terminology is both advanced and at the same time is not organizational jargon which would lead an outside audience clueless as to what is being said. This website strikes a good balance of simplicity and professionalism.

site organization:

The site could be organized better, but for a Weebly account it is pretty well set-up. This site is simple to navigate, but unfortunately lacks a lot of maintenance, credibility indicators, and content. Once they enhance this the website will be a lot more useful to the common user.

Like what you read? Give Megan McLean a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.