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A website is a useful way of getting information on the internet. It is an entire collection of web pages and other information that is made available through what appears to users as a single server (check for referencing if needed).
Considering this, a German shepherd website will have similar characteristics that will aim at informing its users on dog related issues. This kind of website has several types of users but they belong to the group called Dog lovers. Given below are personas of two typically users of a German Shepherd Dog (GSD) website.
Samantha is a middle aged woman of average height with golden brown hair. She lives in a 3 bedroom house with her Husband who is a pilot. She has a son Jonathan, who recently got married and moved out of the house. She is self-employed and spends most of her time in her home studio painting.
She is a pet lover and recently adopted a GSD who is her companion while her husband is away to work. She enjoys walking her dog and teaching it new ways to be useful and protective to the family.
Her internet usage is limited mainly to work related functions and E-mail. She has a yahoo account for her personal correspondence and uses it a few times in a week.
Because she spends a lot of time at home, she often looks online for information about dog care and training exercises. She doesn't enjoy spending a whole lot of time on the computer, so she prefers to get on and off quickly, and likes those sites that help her do that. Samantha likes it beautiful and straightforward.
George was a former K-9 handler for a mid-sized police department in England. He is currently divorced and lives in 2 bedrooms flat with his 8 year old son Jason. He runs a small business down-town in Portsmouth selling furniture. When he has free time he loves to read or catch some live jazz. George uses the web quite a bit. His store has a website so he does his best to make sure that it's up to snuff. He also spends a lot of time checking out other similar sites to his and keeping up on news and that sort of thing. He gets quite of bit of email, too much spam however, and wishes that the Web in general were a safer, less intrusive place. But he can't knock what it's done for his business. However, George is looking for a new GSD to begin teaching and building a stronger relationship with his son. He wants to share his love for dogs with him now that he is older. Watching him over the years ask him about his old patrol dog "Lord" and how he wanted one someday.
Content: is the information provided on the website. Good content should take a stand, be engaging, relevant, and appropriate for the audience. This is important because it will communicate the websites' body of knowledge.
Visual Display: is the appearance of the website. Good visual design is high quality, appropriate, and relevant for the audience and the message it supports. This is important because it goes a long way to projecting the desired image and increasing the effectiveness of a website.
Functionality: is the use of technology on the website. Good functionality means the site works well, it loads quickly, has live links, and any new technology used is functional and relevant for the intended audience. The site should work cross-platform and be browser independent. This is important because users will not stay on a website that is hard to use or come back to a website that does not work.
The website lacks information about the author, terms of usage/legal notice and contact details. There is poor information architecture as links that should be on the home page like the member area link, the puppy advertisement links and the search box, are located in a wrongly labelled link which is the breeder yellow pages. This website will not be suitable for George because he needs information about the author if he's going to adopt a GSD and neither does it suite Samantha who needs quick access to these links as she doesn't enjoy spending a lot of time on the computer.
Total German shepherds
The website has well organised content, starting from the navigation links on the left of the page. It also has a readable font size and good information architecture. It has a visible search box, contact link and a site map, all of which will make usability easy. Both personas can trust the authority and authenticity of this website, easily ask questions and lookup information without spending a lot of time and effort. Hence, it is suitable for both personas.
Vom Fieldcrest Shepherds
The website has a specific mission which is aimed at those who want to adopt a GSD. Its small font size might be a problem to both personas but the content has good verbal expressions that are presented in an efficient and effective manner. The links are annotated, well-chosen and the website contains a mix of content formats. It is suitable for George because it relates more to want he wants.
Home of German Shepherds
The website doesn't have a good visual appeal which indicates its lack of professionalism. This might be a turn off for Samantha as she has a good visual appetite going by her profession. The same goes for George as he will question the seriousness of the website owners.
Total German shepherds
The website has a good visual appeal. From aesthetics and beauty, it shows colour harmony which gives a relaxed effect to the eyes that makes you want to have a second look at it. It shows professionalism in appearance. However, this makes it suitable for both personas.
Vom Fieldcrest Shepherds
The website has a boring look. The choice of colours used on the website doesn't suggest any room for excitement. They are odd colours and are not attractive. It shows lack of professionalism. Both personas will not be interested in viewing this website for a second time. Hence it is not suitable for both personas.
Home of GSD's loads quickly. The page sizes are not too long or too short and are well titled and described. The international copyright laws are not correctly observed. The forum works efficiently but the chat room doesn't. This will suite Samantha as she will not have to wait a long time for the website to load.
The Total German shepherd website has live links. The slide show technology works perfectly and doesn't make the page load any slower. It has clean HTML with no faulty code. There is good quality and depth of links provided. It's suitable for both personas.
The Vom Fieldcrest Shepherds website has legal site content and the international copyright laws are correctly observed. It has live links and original images. Pages load on time and the website doesn't slow down the server. It is suitable for both personas.
EVALUATION OF THE NON-RELATED WEBSITE
This is a website that deals with information related to age concerns. I came across this website during a tutorial session for one of my Masters courses titled "Human Computer Interaction and Ergonomics" (HCIE). Immediately i opened the web link, my thoughts went straight to this coursework and some of the reasons for this are based on the following distinctive features it had;
The use of breadcrumbs: this feature will enable the users to know where they are on the website and this will make navigation around the website easier.
Choice of colours: the colours used on this website are very attractive and appealing. The aesthetics will go a long way to creating a good first impression for the users and this will make the users want to come back.
Re-sizable text: this feature supports accessibility on the website. Users with eye sight problems due to ageing or other reasons could easily use the website without having to move too closely to the computer screen.
Clickable image on the homepage: this is a good feature that supports easy navigation on the website as well. Users can know what to expect by clicking on the image without necessarily reading the text that follows.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR A NEW WEBSITE
Based on my observations so far, i will like to recommend a new website based on the following user requirements;
Professionalism: the website should show that there is some form of seriousness attached to it, because information found on it will most likely be taken seriously regardless of the content. This will also go a long way to creating a good first impression and users will tend to recommend the website to friends and may wish to sign up as a member or be involved in interactive activities like chatting and making posts in the forum. Both users will find this appealing, most especially George. However, to show professionalism the website should have well organised contents that lack grammatical errors, a terms and conditions of use statement/legal notice, a purchase policy, information about the website/owners, an efficient contact/inquiry section, and a well defined mission.
Aesthetics: The website should be very appealing and attractive as this will facilitate the success of the website. The use of odd colours should be minimal on the site to make the pages more presentable. The Images used in various areas on the website like the header, logo, and in describing links to other parts of the website, should be in JPEG format rather than GIF because pictures in JPEG have better visual quality than GIF. Verdana font should be employed all through the site and this should be in black for most of it.
Accurate information: The information of the website should be first class information. This should be thoroughly checked before the website is put up on the internet. Grammatical errors should be avoided and the same goes for the use of abbreviations.
Organised content: The position of the content should be well structured. Pages should not be too long.