Monday, September 10, 2007

Interpretive web design

It's amazing how twenty people can take the same set of fairly basic instructions and create twenty radically different results.

The assignment for one of my classes was to analyze five websites on five criteria and create two web pages to present the analysis and make recommendations for a hypothetical new site. We were supposed to post drafts to the class wiki by noon today, so I've had a chance to poke around and see what others did. Some people took a very loose view of the word draft and have only done the set up html for the site, but none of the actual analysis. Others have done parts of the analysis but not others, and still other people have obviously done the analysis work, but not any of the actual design part of the assignment so they have pages that are difficult if not impossible to read. I know that they don't expect anyone to come into this class with any level of web experience, but maybe they should. I just don't know how much you can really learn about good web design through trial and error, particularly if these are the results after a week of assigned readings all about web usability.

I have to say, working on this assignment has made me really appreciate all the time I've had to spend on the website at work, and all those web day speeches about readability and writing for the web. I must remember to by our web person a cookie (no pun intended) or something to thank her for that!

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