InfoQuest! Information Services
What Makes a Good Web Site
May 15, 1996


| Panelists | Criteria | The Good | The Not So Good | HTML Style Guides |



Lynn Siprelle -- Teleport Webmistress. Web designer, and author of the Teleport daily "One Useful Thing and One Cool Thing."
Lynn: |
Teleport: |

Mike Pritchard -- 5 Circles Internet Consulting. Internet marketing and web designer. |

Kelly Ford -- Mt. Hood Community College. Access technology specialist, Internet support specialist. |

Terry Brainerd Chadwick -- InfoQuest! Information Services. Internet research specialist, web content developer. |


IPN Survey: Web Site Design Criteria

What makes a web site "good" depends on your biases and criteria. Some resources that rate web sites focus primarily on design. Others focus more on content, ease of use, uniqueness, currency, and organization, as well as general appeal. One of the top rated Subject Guides that reviews web sites, McKinley's Magellan, ranks sites by the following criteria:

Depth: Is it comprehensive and up-to-date?

Ease of Exploration: Is it well organized and easy to navigate?

Net Appeal: Is it innovative? Does it appeal to the eye or the ear? Is it funny? Is it hot, hip, or cool? Is it thought provoking? Does it offer new technology or a new way of using technology?

Point Communications, which makes the Top 5% of the Web awards, bases its criteria on:
Content: Just how broad, deep, and amazingly thorough is the information? Are there good links? Good clips? Is it accurate? Complete? Up-to-date?

Presentation: Is the page beautiful? Colorful? Easy to use? Does it lead visitors through the information nicely? Does it use video, audio, and original graphics? Does it break new ground?

Experience: This is the key rating. Is this fun? Is it worth the time? Will we recommend it to friends? All things considered, does this site deliver the goods?

Good content, good organization, and ease of navigation were the top criteria for a good web site mentioned by respondents to the IPN survey. Also listed as important were:

Functional graphics -- graphics that have a purpose and are designed to load well

Accessibility and readability across browsers and computers -- making sure there are text-only options and that all graphics have text alternatives

Understanding the needs of the intended audience -- both clients and users, and designing to meet those needs and capabilities, and

Checking a site for spelling and grammar errors,

Several things were also mentioned as being "not liked" in a web site:

Blinking text and animation, or other fancy tricks, done just for the sake of showing off can move a web site into the "not so good" category.

Broken links and dead end paths.

Promises for functions, products, or contents that are not delivered via the site.


| Panelists | Criteria | The Good | The Not So Good | HTML Style Guides |


The Good

These sites were suggested by IPN respondents as examples of well-designed web sites. Most of these sites were nominated because they have good content that is well organized. And most are easily readable with a text browser.

The Not So Good

The first two sites were nominated because they can only be viewed with a graphical browser -- text-based users are out of luck--, because the graphics load slowly, and it takes a long time to reach the good information on the sites. The rest of the sites were nominated because the graphics load slowly, and/or they are poorly organized or change so often that it is difficult to get to the information you want.


| Panelists | Criteria | The Good | The Not So Good | HTML Style Guides |


Some HTML Style Guides

* Top 10 Ways to Tell if You Have a Sucky Home Page
A humorous but enlightening description of the bad in web sites. Two related pages expand on the concept: Top 10 ways to improve your home page and Top 10 ways to improve your Netscape browsing experience.

* The Ten Commandments of HTML FAQ
Presenting some of the DOs and DON'Ts of Web design in an easy and fun to absorb manner.

* What Makes a Great Web site? by
A easily understandable and concise article that discusses the characteristics of a good web site.

*   Designing Accessible Web Sites
This Web site contains resources about how design html pages to increase their accessibility to users with disabilities. There is information on web design guidelines, browsers with built-in voice and access features, how to make standard browsers more accessible, model web sites, and more.

IPN panelist Kelly Ford runs a mailing list called that is a low volume list talking about accessibility issues. If you are interested in how well your web site works with speech you can ask for people on the list to give it a test drive.

* Sun on the Net: Guide to Web Style.
This is an excellent guide to writing good Web pages by a company consistently rated highly as having an excellently designed web site.

* Employee Computer Training Center Resources for Designing your own Web Pages.
This site contains links to an excellent set of Web development resources, including design considerations, guides for HTML authors, templates, color, graphics, forms, browser comparisons, and more.


| Panelists | Criteria | The Good | The Not So Good | HTML Style Guides |


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Last updated May 14, 1996.
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