October 03, 2005
amanda's good and bad site recommendations
The first site I want to discuss is http://www.costumegallery.com/
It is a site designed to inform the public about the history of costume and calls itself ďA Central Location on the Web for Fashion and Costume since 1996.Ē It downloads quickly and is an interesting idea to those of us interested in fashion and design history. From this site you can sign up to take classes online for fashion design and learn to make historically accurate corsets and other interesting articles of clothing. But you canít download (borrow, copy and paste, etc) any of the material without permission from the web designer/host. Furthermore, the archival links are not accessible without a ďlibrary cardĒ for which you must fill out a form. I did not care to give out information so I didnít get a card. I also didnít wish to pay a $55.00 annual subscription required for the articles and newspapers she claims to have available. There is no trial term so you donít know what youíre getting until youíve already paid for it. You can buy a three month subscription, but Iíll pass just the same. Clearly this host wishes to significantly restrict her audience. I wonder why she would do this. Some of the links go nowhere; others work but are time sensitive and over three years old, rendering them useless. A number of the sites turn out to be advertisement pages with products for sale, such as the Warner Brothers link, riddled with pop ups and blaring nonsense. It is centre aligned and not terribly easy to navigate. It is visually too busy with inconsistent font, and nowhere to really go when you finally decide what to click on. Finally, the costumegallery.com site is visually overcrowded, with too much to look at on one page and would benefit overall from a good house cleaning. This is not a site I would emulate when designing my own.
On the other hand, http://www.camelotintl.com/tower_site/index.html is really cool. I think Williams and Tollett would advocate the design of this site. Itís not an academicís dream by any means, but it is effective in conveying the basic history of London Tower and relevant British history. It is a fully engaging site with good working links and interesting graphics. It is easily bookmarked for future reference. Visuals download quickly, but it took a few moments on dial up to catch up on the audio. You should install Shockwave (if you havenít already got it) so you can enjoy the details. Graphics include image maps to click on as well as a nicely aligned list of site destinations on the left of the screen. Itís really child friendly but also works well for adults, a tough gap to close. And speaking of gaps, you often donít have to scroll to see the whole page, itís already there. If you do have to scroll, itís all vertical and not the dreaded horizontal scroll. The sensibly clutter free pages are easily navigated and you donít have to fill out any forms or pay for the information you get on the site. There is also a virtual tour of London Tower available with a talking guide. Itís like watching a home movie from someone who visited and filmed the tour. And while you can buy things form a link on the site, it is not an advertisement disguised as a history site. As for graphic sophistication, the images of the Crown Jewels were a bit cartoon like and therefore disappointing, but the ďShoot for Your LifeĒ archery game is fun for this non video playing visitor; I managed to leave with my head in tact! Finally, the interviews transcribed of the Yeoman who currently work at the Tower is interesting and original. I would surely seek to emulate some of the positive elements of this web site when designing my own.
Finally, I think my own site http://mason.gmu.edu/~avonargy/ demonstrates an effort to be clear and simple with a left alignment, (although there is a bit of text in the centre,soon to be repaired) and a nice small photo that introduces me. It's nice to see who you're dealing with when you look at a personal website. The text is reasonably consistent and the font easy to read. Once I have the links worked out it will all function, adding to the positive aspects of this little starter site. Considering how much I knew about building a website a month ago,(less than zero)I'm pretty happy with it.
Posted by avonargy at October 3, 2005 12:45 PM