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Analytical Report on Flinders.Edu.Au

In: Computers and Technology

Submitted By garthtrickett
Words 1100
Pages 5
Analyitical Report of website: www.flinders.edu.au

Student name: Garth Trickett

Student number: 3068276

Tutor Name: Carol Drew

Table of contents
1. Executive summary
2. Introduction
3.1 How easy is it to choose a course and apply for the university it using the website? 3.2 Website Template Layout

3.3 Homepage Layout

3.4 Colour Scheme

4.1 Conclusion

4.2 Recommendations

5. References

Executive summary

Introduction
The aim of this report is to critically analyse the architecture of the website www.flinders.ed.au. The information gathered from the analysis will be used to devise solutions to problems with the website. The technique of examination for the website was to thoroughly explore the different pages of the website and grade each area of the website using appropriate criteria. Dave Gehrke (1999) states that” without efficient and user=friendly navigation, the user is likely to get confused, lost or frustrated and leave the site for good”. A resultant survey run by Gehrke (1999) showed that page loading speed and navigational efficiency are the most important things to users. The most important user type that needs to be happy with the website for it to be successful is prospective students as they make a majority of the people visiting the site. Prospective students are more likely to turn into current students if they like the feel of the website. This analyst took on the role of prospective student to test the usability of the website for a new student trying to find different courses and then applying for that course.

How easy is it to choose a course and apply for the university it using the website?

A vast majority of first time users of the flinders university website would be year 12 school leavers who are prospective students looking to check out the unit and possibly apply to it. For this reason the accessibility of the website for prospective students would be critical for the overall effectiveness of the website on both a hierarchical and content level. To help analyse the usability of flinders university website this analyst proposed they were a forthcoming student looking to search for possible courses at the university and possible apply for one of them. Upon opening the universities homepage a quick glance was all that was needed to find the “for” tab and then the prospective students tab on the website. After clicking on “prospective students” a new page opened up with a prospective students navigational bar cascading down the left side of the page. The “choosing what to study” tab was the first heading and under that was a “course options at flinders” link. Clicking on this revealed a new page which had a number of ways to browse the different course options available. There was a browse heading filled with relevant options relating to the type of student you are as well as a Search bar and additional “Explore” help section. This analyst found this section of the prospective student page to have extensive options for accessing the needed material all shown in an easy to understand manner. One thing that could improve the page would be a course category page where each course area e.g. law, science and IT could be accessed to quickly narrow down the search. After minimal effort the analyst found a course and then proceeded to the easily found “how to apply” section of the prospective students page. This section was nowhere near as easily understandable as the course search page. And although this analyst was still able to successfully find needed information a number of improvements could be made to this section of the website. Although there is a way to find the right information for whether you are a year 12 or a mature student it is at the bottom of the page and in very small writing. The most effective solution would be to put “WHO ARE YOU” heading at the top with two subheadings “Year 12 Leaver” and “mature age student” written underneath. This would then lead to the information about applying for each student type.

Website Template Layout
The website template layout is generally set out well although some aspects of it particularly the top half appears very mediocre. . A search bar is present as well as side navigational bar and top navigational bar. The top navigational bar looks squished and would benefit greatly with a size increase and a font change. A click on the current student tab in the homepage sends the user to a page with a number of different headings about different aspects of information current students may need. The page is set out well and explanation of what each heading is about is written underneath.

Home page Layout
The homepage is definitely a strong point for the university website, the "for" and "about" navigational menus categorize information well making it easy to determine where information is, r relevant to each different user type. News board located on the right home page is a good addition to the website. Keeping users informed with important updates about the university and its subsidiary organisations. Quick links drop down bar needs an explanation next to it as it could be confusing to less tech savvy users as to what it entails.

Colour Scheme
The websites colour scheme of brown yellow and white detracts greatly from the overall look and feel of the website. New students looking at the website for the first time could get the feel that the university is dull and tasteless from the colour scheme used on the website. A better colour scheme that uses warmer colours like reds and blues could make the website seem friendly and give the university a more approachable feel. A Study by Procter et al. (2001) suggests that users react positively to websites with warm colour schemes and logical, simple, professional look.

Conclusion
Recommendations
. Increase the area and the size of the font for the top navigational bar
. Website should use warmer colours for its layout.
. Quick links drop down bar needs an explanation next to it as it could be confusing to less tech savvy users as to what it entails.
. In the course information section of the website a course type heading would make it easier to narrow down options for study.
. Put “WHO ARE YOU” heading at the top with two subheadings “Year 12 Leaver” and “mature age student” in the how to apply section for prospective students.
.

References
DESIGNING FOR WEB SITE USABILITY
Determinants of Successful Website Design: Relative Importance and
Recommendations for Effectiveness

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