Usability Institue Logo- A bolt that can be fastened with any of 4 tools
PicoSearch
Reducing Training to Its Sensible Minimum: Zero...
Inexpensive, Independent Usability Consulting by Jack Bellis
Home Page- List of All Content Home Page- All content, in date order Resources: page describing tools you can use Morsels: just our short articles and blurbs Just our Before&After Articles Just our Before&After Articles About: details on who I am and what I do Address, phone, number,  and so on
 
 

 

Website Review of temperaturealert.com

This is a quick usabilty review of the website for temperaturealert.com. Here's a screen capture of the home page as we reviewed it.

 


 

Congratulations! This is a free usability review from UsabilityInstitute.com. "Usability" refers to how easy and effective it is to use a Web site. Although it involves how a site looks (graphic artwork), it is primarily concerned with how a site works, what you click on, what happens, and whether the site does its job. Perhaps this review is all you need to improve your site. If that's the case, great. Please mention UsabilityInstitute.com if you talk with others who need help with their site.


The following three sections provide a general analysis of your website from a relatively quick review. Although Web design is still perceived as a highly creative endeavor, there are many aspects of it that call for standardization and compliance with widely established conventions. Implementing even a few of the ideas below can really improve a site.

 

  Part 1: Content Basics
    This first section is intended for typical public web sites (for products and corporate information), but also applies for the most part to intranets and software applications that run in a browser. We've been advocating many of these ideas—in the context of general software—since our 1997 book, Computers Stink, but they've been beautifully enumerated for WWW purposes in Steve Krug's book, "Don't Make Me Think."
      Click for explanation State of the Art, a Model for OthersGreat Work!Does the JobI Can HelpUndetermined/Not ExactlyNot Applicable
Hover for explanation
Comments
  1. Logo in top left, linked to home Great Work! The support pages are a site to themself, so they don't link back, but that's their choice.
  2. Tagline State of the Art, a Model for Others "USB temp alert with notif's"... everyone should do it so easily!
  3. Welcome blurb Does the Job "... know about critical temperature changes" and the "reasons to buy" basically do it.
  4. Plain wording Does the Job The Learn More page has a great, straightforward explanation.
  5. No 'happy talk' Does the Job I didn't see 'leveraging our core competencies" anywhere.
  6. Concise wording Does the Job  
  7. Visited pages are distinguished by link color-coding I Can HelpUndetermined/Not Exactly This might be an area for slight improvement. The site has a very strong color scheme and the links are colored to support it. Although there are not a large number of pages, the search results do start to show a number of products (weathergoose?)... and knowing which ones were visited might help, but only a little since the names are very distinctive. I'm not sure if I'd want to go to blue/purple if I were the designer... maybe my idea of using black-underlined for visited links would work. They can still use green for unvisited, to match the color scheme.
  8. "Utilities" are easy to find Undetermined/Not Exactly Nice touch, too... status of cart right on every page: "(Your shopping cart contains 1 item priced at $129.99)." Oops... later I noticed "Help" at the bottom... so there's some global navigation just at the bottom. This actually is understandable in that it unclutters the product emphasis at the top, but it is atypical, so worth more study.
  9. Search on all pages, with box and button I Can Help Hmmm. The site starts off appearing extremely simple... seemingly one product. But clicking "Browse for more...." brings up a page formatted as search results. Not sure but looks like the label and presentation should present that page as "Browse All Products" since there is no "Search Criteria" page or box. You could say that the site doesn't need a Search box/facility, but users don't know there are only 12 pages... they still might value searching if only to prove that "thermocouples" are not part of the product line.
  10. "You Are Here" indicator I Can Help The initial impression is that this would be unnecessary, but the bottom links indicate that there is more to the site than initially meets the eye.
  11. Breadcrumbs' as links Not Applicable There's actually some breadcrumbs ("Home > Accessories > ") but I'm not sure they're worth it since there's not much depth.
       

 

Do your hands ache after a day at the keyboard??? Now in its 4th printing.
This review sponsored by RSIRescue.com ...

 

 


Part 2: Visual Design: Fonts, Colors, Layout, Basic Interaction Design, and Accessibility
As we read in a graphic artist's ad, "Technology makes it work but art makes it sell," and you should take heed. We're not graphic artists here at Uinst, but we know good art when we see it and the common denominators that separate good pages from bad are clear. Look at the top sites and you'll see they spell out the following criteria.
  Click for explanation State of the Art, a Model for OthersGreat Work!Does the JobI Can HelpUndetermined/Not ExactlyNot Applicable
Hover for explanation
Comments
1.

Sans-serif fonts

Does the Job  
2.

Appropriate background color

Does the Job  
3.
Appropriate color hues Does the Job  
4.
Visual representation of the information hierarchy I Can Help There's no sense of being on a main page or repeating/sibling type pages such as products.
5.
Conservative quantity of colors Great Work!  
6.
Text sizes are "relative" Obsolete item. Browsers have changed so much, this is a moot point... I think.
7.
Anti-aliased graphics Great Work!  
8.
Graphics' file size doesn't slow navigation Does the Job  
9.
"Alt tags" used well I Can Help I suppose some folks could use them on the product photos.
10.
Links don't just say "Click Here" Does the Job  
11.
A style sheet (CSS) is used Obsolete item. Browsers have changed so much, this is a moot point... I think.

 

If you've made it this far, I have a free gift for the first 100 visitors who reply. If you know anyone who's learning to read, email me and I'll send you a free copy of a kid's book I wrote. Please include "Poopy Phonics" in the subject line so I have a chance of recovering it if it goes to my spam folder. For smart mouths everywhere, the book is PoopyPhonics(.com). No strings attached, but if you like it, consider posting a review to Amazon.com. —Thanks, Jack

— Privacy Policy: No spam, no emails, no private info given out —

 

 


Part 3: Genuine Value: Useful Content & Critical Interaction Design


And now for the hard part. If all of good Web design were as clear-cut as parts 1 & 2, above, you wouldn't need much judgment and there would be a lot more good sites. But the easier the decisions are, the less significant the thinking and effort behind them... and the easier it would be to provide useful content. This section is where you make or break your rapport with the visitor. If you provide real value and give folks enough tools to get to it, they will push past the basic omissions and ignore even the most amateurish art.
  Click for explanation State of the Art, a Model for OthersGreat Work!Does the JobI Can HelpUndetermined/Not ExactlyNot Applicable
Hover for explanation
Comments
1. Questions are answered State of the Art, a Model for Others  
2. Search results get the job done Undetermined/Not Exactly  
3. Effective 'click tree' Undetermined/Not Exactly The product linking is an area for more experimenting.
4. Conceptual flow from upper left to lower right Does the Job  
5. Simple, outline-like site map I Can Help  
6. Primary navigation is obvious Does the Job Conventional wisdom, applied with a blunt instrument would say that the primary nav is at the bottom and shouldn't be, but for a site with one flagship product, the "Purchase" and "Learn More" links are equal candidates.
7. Secondary navigation is obvious Not Applicable  
8. Contact information easily accessible Does the Job Would it help to unclutter the home page by making a Contact page?
9. Links are clear Does the Job  
10. Intro panel or animation not excessive Does the Job  
11. Graphics used only for core message Does the Job  

 

Summation & Next Steps

Overall Rating: Strives / Survives / Great Work! Thrives

Summary and Recommendations:

Great site that supports its main product with clean, professional art and does the basics very well. Navigation among product details is the main area for improvement. I did not study the shopping cart.

  1. Make a conventional site map.
  2. Reconsider global navigation possibly at the top.
  3. Look at whether the product navigation and page names could be more consistent.
  4. Make the visited links the same color as the body text (rather than standard purple which would fight the color scheme).

Hope this helps and let me know what you think,
Jack Bellis, UsabilityInstitute.com


"My interest in usability arose from the pain and tears of patching the wounds of suffering interface designs with the inadequate bandages of help files and user guides." — Daniel Cohen

2002, UsabilityInstitute.com   All Rights Reserved    jackbellis@hotmail.com
Any and all content may be reused without prior consent if you simply acknowledge the source, UsabilityInstitute.com