WEB SITE CRITIQUE Introduction As part of our Web Site Development module we have been asked to critique a web site. The web site I was assigned to critique was the University of Leeds web site, web The University of Leeds is a reputable academic organisation. The web site shows all the courses the University offers to the public. Content The content is the most important factor because without the content a web site is useless because there is no information on the site for people to use. Below is a table which shows what the users of this site require to meet their needs.

Audience Needs Prospective Students Individuals who want to take their education further, what the university has to offer, course information, contact names and addresses. Current Students University E-mail, information on their course, assignment copies, lecture notes. Prospective Employees Jobs on offer, qualification needed, how to apply, and contact address and telephone number. University Staff University E-mail, course information, assignment copies, lecture notes, recent changes. Small Businesses Information on their services, Considering the points made above I feel that the Leeds University site aims at the general public, especially prospective students who want to take their education further. The individual could be an undergraduate or a postgraduate.

The current students of the university will have more access to the Internet, because the university does have their own Intranet site. Therefore more information is available to them than it is to prospective students. As I am not a current student of Leeds University I cannot see whether or not this site actually meets the user requirements. The site also aims at individuals who want to work for the university, such as lecturers, tutors. The current university staff will also have more access to the site; they can log on to the Intranet site for more information. The site also aims at small businesses as well as staff and students, for example the University of Leeds is associated with Leeds General Infirmary and St.

James Hospital, this makes up the Leeds teaching Hospitals. The web site does meet the user requirements but the site it self contains a lot of text and not enough pictures, which could make the site, look more attractive, although the site does use a lot of colours, rather than just plain black and white. Although information is vital on a web site it is important not to bore the user with too much information. The site holds a lot of information, which is probably relevant to all the users as it shows all the courses available, how to contact the university staff and also an online prospectus is available. The web site does not really repeat anything and none of the data can be classified incorrect or out of date.

The university up dates often as new courses become available, or jobs becoming available, a new prospectus every year. This shows that the site is updated regularly. The site uses formal language, which can be understood by any individual. There is hardly any technical jargon used, and there does not seem to be any grammatical errors or spelling mistakes on the web site.

Each page provides a title on the information the page holds. All the titles on each page are quite meaningful and do give an indication of what each page provides to the user. However the content does include subheadings which are mostly used as links. But because the text is quite small for the subheadings, there is not much difference between the subheadings and the text underneath. The text could have been made slightly larger, this would have made the site more attractive.

The University of Leeds web site provides the user with a clear statement of authorship, and a privacy policy, although the site does not provide the date of when it was last up-dated it does show the year 2001 copyright laws. The web site has potential to grow in to a much bigger site by adding more content over the future with plenty more pictures and graphics. The home page could be made to look more attractive, the colour of the font was white where as the background was a green colour. I feel that the font did not stand out as much as it could have if different colours were used. The home page actually looked dull, even though the university logo in the background did make the home page more effective.

I feel that a different colour should have been used for the font, which would have given the site a more welcoming effect as it is the first page the user sees and first impressions count. The site does not outline any warnings of unsuitable content. The name of the site clearly indicates the purpose of this web site, which is advertising the University of Leeds. Site Structure/Navigation This web site does include a main page, which shows headings for all other information held on particular pages. There are main headings and subheadings used as links to other page son this site. The site contains a course finder although the search engine is very broad, it does not take the user straight to the courses instead we receive a list based on the word you typed in.

To find a particular course the user needs to follow a few links to receive a list of courses available. The site also provides a job page, which specifies the vacancies available for anyone who wants to work for the university. All the main links are clearly labelled such as 'vacancies,' or 'course finder.' The web site has used correct wording for the main links, words such as 'miscellaneous stuff' has not been used. The web site has also made it possible to get back to the home page from any page on the site. Most of the pages include a back and forward button.

However that is the longer procedure to follow. Some pages include a link to the home page itself, by clicking on this the user returns to the home page instantly. This site also includes a keyword facility, if the user needs to find a certain subject or a certain department within the university, they type it in to the search box and a list of contents appear relevant to the word or words you typed in. This way the user will not have to search through pages and pages of information for a certain page that they want.

Technical Issues The web site offers to show little video clips of students or staff talking about their experience at Leeds University. However to actually watch these video clips the user needs to download Quick Time Plug-In. This option is free of charge but time consuming the video clips should be made available without the download option, as many users will not bother with this and therefore a very attractive part of the web site ill go to waste. Apart from this the Leeds University site does not require any extra software or any other technical gadgets from the user. Most users prefer video clips and graphics a new user will be more appealed by the site and it helps to promote the site. Each page on the site does not take long to load.

It takes about 5 to 10 seconds for each page to download, this includes both text and graphic pages. This is probably because the site does not include many large graphics. All pages have pictures or graphics included in them there are no 'text only' versions. The site has done very well as it does not contain any broken links, the links work efficiently and whilst I browsed through the site I did not come across any browser errors. Conclusion In conclusion to this web site, I feel that the Leeds University site is very good but there is always room for improvement.

The main aim of this web site is to attract more students, staff and businesses, which it does very well. I feel that the site needs more colours and more graphics. The home page should be made to look more attractive as this keeps the user intrigued as to what the rest of the site looks like. The site holds all the relevant information an individual will be looking for. Even though the site is not very attractive looking people will still visit the site because of the excellent reputation the university holds and the interesting information the site holds.