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The application that I have chosen is the Freshbooks.com accounting website, it is garnered towards smaller up and coming businesses or maybe even someone that wants to start their own business and wants to look into the accounting side of it and get some information as far as the difficulties. I chose this application because it looks like a very well developed website and I wanted to examine deeper and find the flaws or the fixes that I could, also I’m always interested in websites or applications that can streamline any type of work and this application does so by taking out a lot of the work for newer business owners.
The main page of the application is very well designed and draw the user in immediately, it has a place for the user to input their information to get started with accessing the application but unlike other applications this one also has a large amount of relevant information that the user can take advantage of. There have been other applications that have nothing but a data box to enter information into and that’s it, this requires the user to volunteer information in order for them to get any type of information in return which can cause people to shy away from them and look elsewhere instead of randomly entering their information into a website. It doesn’t have any outstanding misuses of colors and the layout of the website flows very well together. Something that the main page does very well is it gives the user both reviews of the application from users and the publications that it has been featured in and it also allows options for self-employed individuals or for someone that it already running a larger company. The user can get access to any type of information that they need from the main site alone, for someone that is shopping around for an application of this sort product the ease of access is going to pull them in and keep their attention right away.
The selection areas across the top of the main page cause a follow-on selection list to pop up whenever the mouse is hovered over them, I find this more helpful than simply having static selections that show no follow-on information. This small feature allows the user to browse the multiple pages without actually navigating to those pages. It streamlines the browsing process by letting the user see what is where without having to navigate back and forth between multiple pages and letting them get to the desired information faster and keeping the user much more satisfied. It also gives information about payments options, not just a simple data box to enter information, it defines the positives that the user will benefit from for the customer and the user if the service is used. It allows ease of navigation by front loading the main page with essentially all the information that individuals want to know without turning it into a single, no navigation page. The follow-on pages that can be selected easily navigated to quickly and allows the user to navigate back to the main page with a simple click of the back button. The website as a whole can be used easily by individuals of all ages and includes reviews and a blog section that shows the positive thoughts that a mix of users have shared. The application does an amazing job of offering every single option that it offers and offers free trials in all the functions and even includes a link to the app store allowing the mobile app to be downloaded right away.
There are very few improvements that I would suggest for the application, the “Who’s it for?” tab leads to the same pages, if they are going to do that then they might as well just have a single tab and streamline the process and negate any confusion that might occur. That alone may be the only critique that I can find on the application, overall it is a very extremely effective and streamlined application that does its job well and I assume produces results and sales. Once inside the application it does an even better job of laying out all the important information. It breaks down the important information into what’s could be comparable to a mobile device view and makes everything even simpler to navigate. As you navigate through the selection tabs on the left side the application there are text fields throughout the page that literally point to all the important sections explain what is displayed and how to use those particular sections. This is an important feature because it negates the need for tutorial videos and it lets the user
The application doesn’t have any noticeable errors upon first load-up, the application uses a very subtle and pleasing color pattern that blends and flows together very well which makes the website very pleasing and pleasant to look at and puts to use the color guideline and uses no more than four common colors on the main page and any others being saved for the follow on pagers. The website has a feature that can somewhat be called an error even though it works properly, when a user selects a certain service from the drop-down menu they are directed to a page with multiple selections for other services. This allows a user to select a service from either the drop-down menu above or right on the page, this could be considered working in a circle type of issue but it also a very positive feature that also gives the customer options. The main error that is on the page is its lack of evident 508 compliant features.
There is very little cognitive overload as far as the website is concerned, the home page looks as if it is a single page and doesn’t have all the extra information and may be missed if the individual isn’t paying attention. One factor that is very informative and is a very nice touch is that the website does in fact have essentially all they information from the website and can be accessed by simply scrolling down. This eliminates the need to select multiple tabs in order to find the information that the individual is searching for. This type of layout plays to the second principle of user interface design and presents all the information on a single page and gives the user to ability to properly make an informed decision about the product with little to no navigation across from that main page. It also plays to the golden rule of letting the user feel like they are in control, even though it seems that the user is completely in control the website has a very pleasing layout that flows and keeps the users attention and makes them want to keep viewing the information. The application also allows for easy reversal of actions, it only requires a simple click of the back button because of the simplicity of the site and the few options that it has for follow on pages, this is also another way of making the user feel in control, any type of negative feedback and problems that the website gives causes the user to feel as if they have lost control.
When it comes to 508 accessibility compliance the application has a vast amount of information that can be accessed by scrolling to the bottom of the page and selecting the accessibility tab. It speaks to the fact that employees with disabilities will be provided with the tools necessary to operate efficiently with their disability and will also be provided training in order to effectively use those tools. It also speaks to the use of service dogs and their acceptance in the workplace. The website mainly speaks to the services and the accommodations that are made for them within the company that owns the applications but no information as far as the website accommodations and services and changes that are available in order for people with disabilities to effectively use the website.
In conclusion I would suggest that a major change be that the company make a separate tab either at the bottom of the page right below the accessibility tab that includes all the options for a disabled individual; a better option would be to make a tab at the very top of the page that can be selected and would send the user to a completely 508 compliant website. This would make it easier for the user to find and would also paint a very positive image of the company by having that option right away. Overall it is a very well put together and well-functioning website that has very little errors which can be fixed very quickly.
- Shneiderman, B., Plaisant, C., Cohen, M., Jacobs, S., Elmqvist, N., Diakopou, N. Designing the User Interface. [MBS Direct]. Retrieved from https://mbsdirect.vitalsource.com/#/books/9780134380735/
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