Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Useability........and the Law

Continuing from last week the group has to now begin creation of a new project. a website focusing on the top ten events each month in hull. The events will be selected from 10 categories of event types to give the user a choice in what to see.

Also this week we were given a lecture on usability for web design and in particular how it is now enforced by the law to makes sure websites are useable for disable users. In the UK this usability issue is represented in the “disability discrimination act 1995” in which it states:

2.2 (p7): “The Disability Discrimination Act makes it unlawful for a service provider to discriminate against a disabled person by refusing to provide any service which it provides to members of the public.”

This then means that service providers had to make there websites useable for disabled users or face penalties from the law. This requires web designers to keep in mind how their websites will be made usable for those who are blind, have motor problems, deafness, learning difficulties, to list a few.

But actual guidelines to what web designers and service providers need to consider is located on the World Wide Web consortium web page. These guidelines outline the areas to be considered for example guideline 6 which governs about using new technologies on old browsers. A web designer creates a website using the most up-to-date technologies for a website but the features can only be used if one is using the newest browsers. Users using older browsers cannot access the features or the web page because they do not support the new technology. This is in effect excluding a vast majority of users from accessing the web page and can be seen as discrimination. Guideline 6 gives guidance by suggesting that one should take into account older browsers and give them the option of turning the new features off for access purposes.

By understanding these documents and incorporating their points into the design phase will mean the final website will take into disabled and discriminated users.


Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Another Presentation, Another Project, More Competition

The past two weeks the group has been preparing for a formal presentation for a group project.

The group project is to design and create an events website for arts scene in hull. This website would have to list all the events in hull related to the arts scene. To come up with the idea for the project the group was split into two separate groups, the plums and peaches. The plums (of which I was a member) was tasked with coming up with the idea and providing the research to back it up. This would then be passed onto the peaches that would be responsible for creating a style board and once this was done it would be passed back to the plums to create the mood board.

My role within the plums group was to help come up with the idea and to research the current competition. This research was important as it would influence the final idea by looking at what trends competitors were in and what type of content they were uploading. In short by examining the competition it would help define our website from competitor websites.

The 5 main competitors online are:

1. What’s on in Hull
2. Hull Unleashed
3. Visit Hull and East Yorkshire
4. Skiddle
5. Brit Events

Looking at what’s on in Hull website first it was apparent that this was the City Council’s main event page as it was linked to the council website. This suggests that it is aimed at people who live locally to the area of Hull, but also because it lists all the events going on in Hull whether big or small. One feature that was very noticeable was that each event had its own google maps link at the bottom of the page allowing users to visually understand where the event is being held. This saves the user from using real life maps or having copy and paste the address into google maps itself.

Looking at the hull unleashed website it was apparent that the design of the site was confusing. There to many advertisements and the typography does not stand out. Analysing the content however it is noticeable that this site mainly focuses on the tourism sector of Hull as it lists bar’s, cafes, hotels, etc and lists very few events.

Visit hull and east Yorkshire website again was mainly aimed at the tourism sector in Hull. Events are listed on the site but these are also few in numbers excluding a lot of the events actually available in Hull. One lesson to be learned from the site itself was the use of iconic imagery in that the webpage had constantly changing imagery that was iconic to Hull (and the east Yorkshire). This should be included in the final idea.

Looking at skiddle and brit events webpage’s it was immediately apparent that these were national event websites where hull was only a sub page or venue. Also when going on the hull page the only events were either big music events, theatre, and comedy shows again excluding the large amounts of events in hull.

What is also apparent in all the competition is that they all focus on search engines or event categorization instead of simply displaying the content.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Tweaking Design

Over the previous week I have been amending the design on my personal webpage. Due to this I have created multiple drafts of the original design each with qualities that I find aesthetically pleasing.

During my lecture with the tutor they have pointed out a few aesthetic flaws in my design. Firstly the flaws in my typography were most notable, in that it was all the same font which meant that my logo did not stand out from the menu bar or text. This design flaw meant that the logo was noticeable and the user’s eyes would lose on what to focus on. Secondly the size of my typography was to big giving to much visual input at one point.

To sort this it was recommend a different font should be used and the size should be scaled down. Also any special effects on the menu bar and text should be removed. This helped to highlight the logo and made the text for visually pleasing.

Then next area to sort was the home page as from this photo shows that it was clogged up and was not very easy on the eyes. The tutor amended this to the following.

The text is more clear and shows up better than before where it was lost in the image. Also the image is more controlled and easy on the eye by becoming smaller. The two white lines help with that and also put the home page into perspective. These lines have also been included onto the other pages to keep everything similar. The end product looking like this:

Overall I am pleased with end product of the re-design. It has shown me important key areas in design such being careful with typographies size, font, and place as these can detract from the sites original purpose. Think of using photo’s carefully and how they will fit into your design whether they are the focus or simply aesthetic as both will be displayed differently. And finally consider continuity over the overall product. Does each page match and give an idea of continuous flow/structure.