SITE REVIEW: www.thehighlands.org

  • maddd0ggz
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  • maddd0ggz
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Post 3+ Months Ago

The following is a survey for my internship at The Highlands at Wyomissing. I ask that you evaluate The Highlands' website based upon the following questions:

First, log onto http://www.thehighlands.org

Preliminary Questions

Sex M or F

Age _________

Survey Questions

1. What information would you expect to find on a retirement community's website?




2. What is your opinion on the amount of content on The Highlands at Wyomissing's homepage?




3. Describe the layout, design, and color scheme of the website. Point out any positive and/or negative attributes.




Begin navigating throughout The Highlands at Wyomissing's website.

4. How would you rate the "ease of use" (ease of navigation throughout the website) of The Highlands at Wyomissing's website?

Low Medium High


5. What do you feel is the best feature of the website?




6. What do you feel is the worst feature of the website?




7. How would you rate the content provided by the website (out of 10)? _______




8. How would you rate the appearance of the website (out of 10)? ________




9. What would be your overall score for The Highlands website (out of 10)? _________




10. Did The Highlands at Wyomissing's website meet your expectations?

Yes No
  • Anonymous
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Post 3+ Months Ago

  • celandine
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Post 3+ Months Ago

okay, I can't go through your 10 questions as I'm hardly your target audience, but here's my two cents as far as the site is concerned.

first, it looks alright largely - the color-scheme is pleasant and simple, it is not completely devoid of graphics and yet it is not messy.

second - you don't need your main content stretching across the whole page. I have a very wide monitor, for instance, and I find it disconcerting how the main content spreads out horizontally all across my monitor, and the side navigation menu is stuck on the far left. I'd suggest give some nice thick side margins, 10%, maybe more - so leave the center fluid but not from end to end.

also regarding linking - make sure that the link to the page the user is currently on is disabled (and possibly in rollover state), so the viewer always knows where he is.

one more thing, content-wise - I wouldn't put the contact details at the home page - your visitor has just arrived at your site, he probably doesn't immediately want to pick up a phone and call you or write you a letter. move the contact info to the contact page, (don't worry, people will find it), and put a short summary or excerpt from the 'about us' page on the homepage, simply and clearly explaining to your visitors what it is you offer. it took me a while to figure what the site was about.

good luck with it!
  • mysonmark
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Hello,

I think the web site is nice, however, it is a little uncomfortable to use. I say this because the navigation menu jumps from the left to the bottom of the page. I had to search around to find it so that I could continue to navigate your site.

Next, I think the graphics are a little pale. I would think that if you are marketing a retirement community, your best selling point it going to be the community itself. I would use the best pictures of the community available.
  • Hob Bramble
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Personally, I don't think the survey is necessary, but I'll try to follow it a little for you. If I break from it, it's because I need to do so to point something out.

Sex: Male - Age: 18

1. What information would you expect to find on a retirement community's website?
Well, I'd expect to find information about the community itself, the location, the resources, and the staff. I'm want to know whether or not the community is a place I would send a loved one, or a place I would go myself.

2. What is your opinion on the amount of content on The Highlands at Wyomissing's homepage?
Honestly, I don't think there is anything worth calling "content" on the homepage. One sentence of text, some unexplained images, a (completely unnecessary) weather report, and the contact information is hardly content - you need to add a paragraph or two talking about the community. It would make the home page feel much better or more welcoming, and give a better sense of the community overall.

3. Describe the layout, design, and color scheme of the website. Point out any positive and/or negative attributes.
The first thing I noticed about the layout of the site was that it looked like it was made in Microsoft Word - much like the very first website I ever created. A quick peek into the source code and I instantly realize that it was made in Microsoft Word - everything in the code is labelled Microsoft or MS! The headers, the navigation bar - all right from Word - and Word's awful markup. There is no design to evaluate, really - you need to dump all of the pre-made Word stuff and start from complete scratch.

Using Word to design a website is never a good idea - even if you use your own images - because it produces extremely heavy, complicated, and invalid code. Your code doesn't just not validate - it can't even be tested because it's too heavy.

If you don't know how to design a website without Word, start by going to w3schools.com's HTML Tutorial and learning the basics. Then move on to their CSS Tutorial. Write your code in Notepad or a similar program - if you really need a What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get Editor, try Seamonkey - it's got a browser and e-mail client, an IRC chat client, and, more importantly for you, a web editor that will let you switch between viewing your code and your design with ease. You'll still need to learn HTML and CSS though - no two ways about it.

4. How would you rate the "ease of use" (ease of navigation throughout the website) of The Highlands at Wyomissing's website?
Medium to Low - The good news is that there is always a navigation bar. The bad news is that the left-side navigation only exists on the home page, and on other pages it's a different bar or completely non-existent - it's somewhat confusing.

5. What do you feel is the best feature of the website?
Either the search feature - to my shock, it works pretty well. I don't like the table it shows the results in, but it least it works and found what I searched for - or the site map. Anything that makes it easy to find what I need is good.

6. What do you feel is the worst feature of the website?
I'm stuck between the inconsistent navigation bar, the awful Microsoft code, the everything-in-one-column layout, and the use of .pdf files. If you redesign this site without using work, the first three problems will probably by gone, so for the sake of argument I'll say the .pdfs. I just don't like .pdfs - they take to long to load and just plain annoy me.

7. How would you rate the content provided by the website (out of 10)?
8 - You lose two points for not having enough useful information on the home page, but overall the information is all there. Content wise, I have no problems at all, and if this was all about content, you'd have it down pat.

8. How would you rate the appearance of the website (out of 10)?
3 - The jumping navigation bar, Microsoft Word layout, useless home page - I could go on. I give it three points because at least there IS a navigation bar, and you don't have any ads.

9. What would be your overall score for The Highlands website (out of 10)?
4 - The content is there, but you need to put some of the home page, and design your site so that the content comes through.

10. Did The Highlands at Wyomissing's website meet your expectations?
Well, I don't really know what my expectations were supposed to be. Going in as a designer, I'd say no - because there really wasn't any design. If I were going in for information about the community, I would say Yes, because I got the information I wanted. But only barely a yes, because the navigation and lack of info on the homepage almost had me leave before I learned anything.

Summary: You content is fine - it's good, actually. It's your design and layout that need overhauling. Go to the w3schools, and learn some HTML and CSS, and re-do your design from scratch, minus Word's imput, and you'll have something great. Until then, you have a fantastic book (content) that's hidden by a torn cover (design) and missing table of contents (navigation), that's only still readable because of the index in the back (search and site map).

Before I finish, I'd like to mention one last thing: I don't want to offend you. I'm not trying to be mean. My first and second websites were both made in Microsoft Word - the first with a pre-made template, the second I designed myself. Looking back, the best thing that every happened to me was when I discovered Netscape Composer and trying playing the the code view. Sure, it took me a long time before I finally learned to code better, but that first look brought it all on.

That's why I also recommended Seamonkey - Seamonkey's web editor is the same as Netscape Composer. It isn't perfect, but it's a huge step in the right direction for you, and can help get you going. (Even if this is the only site you ever design, you want it to be done right, right?)

So, again, I meant no offence, I'm just telling you now - Microsoft Word is not a web design tool. Learning the HTML and CSS it takes to design a site like the one you're going for isn't hard at all, it just takes a little practice. Good luck!
  • Guy who knows things
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I haven't read everyone's reply above, but my first thought was that I liked the simplicity. I love all the white space.

But I thought the compression on your images were way too high, giving the site an amateur feel that it probably doesn't deserve.

(Sorry if I've restated what's already been said...)
  • maddd0ggz
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Post 3+ Months Ago

thank you to everyone who has posted in this thread
  • c0mrade
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I like the simplicity, it seems a little too spread out though.

Try making the page area a little thiner, maybe a 10% margin on each side.

One thing I noticed was the navigation sidebar seemed a long way away from the center of the page. And looked a little out of place. I think thinning the page will help with this.

Other than that, I like the white space, and the color scheme. Though I am far from being your target audience so their opinion might differ.

Good luck with your site
  • Boke
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Post 3+ Months Ago

try making the menu buttons an animation or something, it would make it a bit more lively

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