Having used WordPress to build sites before (The .Org Variety) I was surprised in particular by the figures that 14.9% of websites, of all websites are built with WordPress and of those that are CMS management systems the percent is 54%.

The focus was on Usability and the User Experience. Key Points with any product from flat pack furniture, to Websites are:

  • Effective
  • Efficient
  • Safe
  • Easy to Learn
  • Easy to Use
  • motivating
  • Aesthetically Pleasing

But there are always trade offs between these.

I particularly enjoyed the fake/real Microsoft diagram that showed the good things about apple products. It incorporated many of these key usabilities and how they work well with each other.

We ended the session by talking about how good or easy to use websites are. One example the class looked at was mapofhedead.com. It was quickly enjoyed by the class for its clear yet comic nature that explained all the built up areas where it would be difficult to survive in a Zombie Apocalypse, but then had local landmarks such as supermarkets and garages where you could re-supply. We agreed that this was an amusing and fun site that was easy to navigate as it used the well-known google maps as a 3rd party application so we didn’t have to learn a new map app. However it was clear that this site only had minimal, albeit comic use.

I choose www.planetrock.com to analyse. I picked this site because at first look it is a site that looks well-built, attractive and suitable to its target audience. Built to look a bit like an amp, with other Rock style items spread across the page to symbolise links rather than plain boxes. However as you continue to use this site it quickly becomes very ‘busy’ with too many pictures that are inconsistent in colour and style. The ads, that aren’t even 3rd party, are particularly ‘Clipart-y’. I decided as well-intentioned this site was it was just to busy with Pictures and Little explanatory text. I feel it needs some more white space.

This ended up being a good example of those original trade offs introducing how important the visible effect and nicety of websites can have but how that shouldnt be completely traded off at the expense of Usability.