Report On Website Analysis: Good Website Vs. Bad Website:
In most system designs, the primary focus is usually on business goals and delivering fancy features using cutting edge technologies. However, these system design approaches ignore an essential stakeholder – the end user. User-Centric Design (UCD) refers to the process of creating a tool such as an application interface or website from the perspective of how it will be viewed by the human user. This design paradigm does not require users to adapt their habits in order to use the system but rather focuses on adapting the system to the users’ needs, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors as they interact with the system. The result of applying UCD is to create products that offer a more efficient, reliable, satisfying and user-friendly experience to the target user, which is likely to increase customer loyalty and promote sales.
The aim of this paper is to analyze and compare two nominated websites where one of them is well designed and the other has a poor design. The website analysis will be from a perspective of usability, performance and efficiency as seen by the end user. Issues such as web analytics, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and web traffic are outside the scope of this paper.
The paper documents the observations and recommendations of the websites nominated for analysis, with evaluation being done with respect to the usability and interactive aspects of the websites. The first part of this paper provides a critical evaluation of the Sony Ireland website which can be found at https://www.sony.ie/. The website is localized for the Sony Corporation consumers in Ireland division and provides users with information on the wide range of consumer electronic products from Sony and technology behind them. The site also enables customers to access the online Sony store to purchase products and also access the Sony Entertainment Network where consumers can get the best movies, video games, applications and television entertainment services.
Sony Ireland website analysis.
Designated target audience and website appeal to target audience:
The Sony Ireland website mainly targets people in the United Kingdom and Ireland since the domain is localized there. However, with regard to the demographics, the Sony brand is a diverse brand with products and services for all varieties of people both young and old as evident from the navigation menus showing consumer electronics such as TVs, ordinary and professional cameras, mobile devices, gaming consoles, and car and marine products. The simple intuitive layout with graphics and simple menus also allows young children to easily navigate the site and access the PlayStation™ Network as well as the Music Unlimited™ platform. The social economic perspective of Sony’s target audience indicates that Sony product as suited for a middle and high income demographic mainly based on the product pricing on the site and high quality brand establishment. The site quite appealing to all audiences since it has slideshows with high quality graphics and simple product descriptions. The presence of a well updated and monitored support page is also appealing to users.
Website component analysis:
In order to determine the overall usability, performance and functionality of the Sony Ireland website, some specific components were evaluated and the findings were as follows:
Website page layout:
The Sony Ireland site has a clear and sharp page layout which allows prospective consumers to clearly grasp the information presented. The content is split into categories such as Store, Electronics, Entertainment and Support which allows a user to locate products of interest almost immediately. Overall, the page-layout and design is quite intuitive, interactive and user friendly since it combines precise product categorization with an aesthetically pleasing layout that encourages the customer to explore the site.
The site is compatible with most browsers such as Internet Explorer version 8 and above and the latest stable versions of Firefox and Google Chrome in Windows and Mac platforms. The site also renders well on Apple’s Safari browser version 5 and above. The site is also compatible with the default browsers on Android devices running Android 3.2 and higher as well the Safari browser on Apple devices running iOS 6 and higher. It was however noted that the Compatibility View feature in Internet Explorer browsers should always be turned off since it is not supported in the website design.
In terms of navigation, Sony Ireland website has easy drop down menus, interactive lists and categories to make it easy for a user to access the different products. These menus are refined to give information on specific products and services such as audio, gaming, storage, special collections, education, TV etc. It also has a wide view and items are not cluttered on the screen thus making it easier to pick out options.
Color and Graphics:
The color and graphics on the website are simply vibrant especially with the monochrome theme and colorful slideshow galleries showing High Definition images of products in each category. The fonts are also quite clear and friendly to both conservative and non-conservative audiences.
The Sony Ireland website supports multimedia since it provides an interface to access the Sony PlayStation Network™ where users can access online multiplayer gaming using their PlayStation gaming consoles. While the chance to test multimedia capabilities was not availed, the success of Sony’s PlayStation Network is an indicator that Sony is doing everything right on the multimedia front.
In terms of content presentation and information usefulness, Sony Ireland provides a simple content layout with product categories and sub-categories as well as product descriptions and pricing under each specific product. The site also provides contact information on their support page and information on other prospects by the company such as environmental sustainability practices, Sony community forums and Sony education among others.
Responsive Web design:
The website is also quite responsive since the interactive drop down menus snap in and out when the mouse cursor is placed on them while clicking on an item or link on the site quickly takes one to the location they require. The pages load quickly with the exception of the HD images on the site which take a second or two longer to load on slow internet connections.
The overall site functionality is quite impressive since one can login and purchase items online which are quickly loaded onto the online shopping cart using for check out. The support page is also quite functional and well updated on various product issues, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS), instant checking of warranty status etc.
With regard to accessibility, the site is quite accessible with its clear type fonts, intuitive graphics, eye friendly color shading and the obvious absence of clutter. This makes the site suitable for most people with clear vision or those with minor visual impairments. Those with major impairments can access the site easily if their vision is at least semi-corrected (not fully corrected).
Summary and Recommendations:
Overall, the Sony Ireland website is elegantly designed especially with the use of a responsive design approach where navigation bars and menus switch elegantly in both mobile and desktop devices. The content and page layout is also well designed with the users in mind. The only notable recommendation is that the site would work well if the images were compressed and preloaded to ensure faster page loading speeds.
Please remember that this paper is open-access and other students can use it too.
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