Today, at the Michigan State Competition Team 226, the Hammerheads won the Best Website Award and I congratulate them.

With that said, what could we do to improve our site? What sets the Hammerheads apart from us and what do you guys think we should work on?



I say their awesome flash intro made the difference. While your website has a very nice and professional look, 226 has a themed website that reflects their identity as the hammerheads. I think identity is pretty important.

Not only that, but they keep their site clean and easy to navigate. They keep what is** current and important **on their site. Stuff such as what they do, who they are, and their current situation.


Here are just some of my suggestions:

  • Get the important stuff on the front page, maybe make the images smaller? All I see on the front page is image after image. The text is not very noticeable.

  • Make your navigation less space-y. The little text is being drowned in the sea of whitespace.

Happy coding. (:

I would say size made the difference. Almost all of 226’s pages fits on my screen without any scrolling needed. This made finding information and navigation very easy.

Disclaimer: I don’t make web pages or code anything.

I like your site much better for the following reasons:

I think flash is unprofessional and it loads slow.

Your site is easy to read and free from debris.

Have mouse wheel, can scroll.:wink:

Both websites are excellent but I have to say I also like your site better because

-Professional looking page
-Good Color Scheme
-Very Nice Layout
-Nice and easy navigation

On this one I have to like the AdamBots website better:

-Hammerheads Flash is cool but its kinda iffy.
-Your site is way cleaner and has that crisp look to it.
-Hammerheads site is still loading 1 min after Adamsbot’s site, and is still loading…
-Flash = Bad = No Ipod
-There is something wrong with the pages and they load very slow.
-Adambots have info from pre-2009

This is what I feel the difference is, but HAMMERHEADS HAS A REALLY AWESOME THEME.

Nice job both teams.

I think that both websites are very good, but I won’t put myself in a position to say if one is better than the other. Either way, great job to both teams!

I did take a look at your website, and I think that your team did a lot of things very well. Here are some of the positive things I noticed:

  • I like the color scheme. Easy on the eyes, I think it definitely suits your team.
  • The expanding side menu was a really nice feature. Makes navigation easier without too much vertical clutter. I think that our team should probably incorporate something like that!
  • Good amount of content. Your team definitely has a lot to say, and I’m glad that you have most of your bases covered regarding your team members, outreach, awards, build progress, etc. etc. etc.
  • Lots of stuff about FIRST! I like how you write your own information about FIRST and each competition. Great job thanking the volunteers as well!
  • Again, very good job with putting out lots of documents, resources, and pictures for other teams to look at.
  • Pretty easy to navigate, for the most part. I could usually find what I was looking for within a few clicks, although I might suggest that you rearrange a few of your subpages (perhaps information on your season should be under “About the AdamBots” rather than “FIRST”?). Might just be me being nitpicky. :stuck_out_tongue:

Now, I do have a few suggestions that you could probably use to improve the site. Hope that this helps!

  • The main page seems to be dominated by the large header image. I think that visitors would like to see the side navigation panel without having to scroll down too far. With my computer, over half of my browser is taken up by the header image. It’s a good image, just a little big!
  • When a new menu opens up on the navigation sidebar, I feel that any other menu which is open should probably close. This might make it easier to search around without having to scroll up to collapse one of the menus.
  • You could perhaps split your “About the AdamBots” section into two, as it does seem to be a little overwhelming when you have 10 more sections to look at! (Nitpickiness again!)
  • Make sure that links which take you to a site other than your own open in a new tab/window. I noticed this when looking at past year’s games.

Overall, I think you guys have a great site. The amount of content is very nice, and I feel like people could definitely learn a lot about your team by just browsing through your site. Once again, great job, and I hope that my comments prove to be helpful!

I do agree with the identity, the theme is pretty creative. However, I don’t plan on making a flash intro, it seems unnecessary to me.

I don’t think we could keep our site anymore up-to-date. I’m guessing that what you mean by “current and important” is that they only have information from this year. My team appreciates having team history and past year’s information because it’s interesting information.

As for the front page, I don’t think we could be more concise. The images, weren’t my idea. I looked at last year’s Championship Best Website (MVRT) and thought having them would be a good idea. Their images are bigger, so I’m not sure making the images smaller would help.

As for the navigation, from my point of view, the whitespace is good. It clearly defines separation between links to help the user navigate. However, if I get more comments about this, I’ll decrease the spacing.

Yes, you’re not the first person to mention the header. I guess I’ll have to listen sooner.

For the navigation, this is one of the things we debated with the accordion menu, but, ended up choosing the current style because we thought it would make more sense to people less tech-savvy.

Also, our whole menu is quite lengthy, we keep trying to trim it but most of the stuff within About the AdamBots is important and can’t really fit anywhere else. Do you have any ideas for separation?

Thank you to the both of you and everyone else for the comments/feedback.

**Suggestions for improvement:

  • Make your homepage a little more compact for 1000x600 computer screens
  • Be careful about old content, the website judge might be very familiar with your previous years website
  • You might want to make a sub-domain to show the differences in your previous years websites
  • Just keep adding more content !
    Just General Notes**
    There are many reasons why Visualization and Inventor awards are not given to the same teams in back to back years. Websites are becoming so widespread, we are starting to see similar trends. Your website is amazing and definitely one of the top 5 websites that everyone thinks about in FIRST (remember FIRST topsite … ) Keep up the great work !

Thank you for that compliment. Hopefully, we will be eligible to compete for the Championship Best Website Award next year.

I’m a little confused by this point. The visualization and inventor awards are judged in a different fashion from the website, and even from each other. Visualization is done by a peer vote, for instance.
Also note, 116 has won at least one regional AVA every year since 2003.

That is true, AVA teams usually win back to back many years in a row. The Inventor award however does not award as many back to back year winners.

Direct your attention towards the bottom right corner of your webpage. Maybe the judges felt they should give someone else a chance for the award?

I can say that i like your site a lot better, both content and design wise (the only problem i have with it is that the header seems too big and very broken… otherwise WOW there is a lot of stuff there). the hammerheads… well… the site is good but its not the best. They still have a lot of content to add and a certain flash intro to get rid of…

As far as your navigation goes, the “Current Progress” and “Our Robots” kind of belong under the “About the AdamBots” tab and not the “FIRST” tab. That being said, you have a lot of pages to your website and I’m not a huge fan of all the scrolling either.

You have a lot of great information on your site. I suggest you look at the website judging criteria and run through your site to make sure it’s optimized to meet that system of grading.

Each item listed on there is worth 5 points. They are the exact items that are on the evaluation form.

If judges award based off of sympathy for other teams that’s kind of disappointing and really discourages effort to make a site better.

Because we participate in two seasons, OCCRA and FIRST, it does seem more logical for us if we have the Our Robots and Current Progress under FIRST because we also have similar things under OCCRA when that gets going.

I have gone through the rubric many times. We may have a problem here and there, but I’ve made sure our site is in line with it.

Thanks again.

And it would be entirely unethical.
but who knows what really happened? i cant really give you advice on what to improve on to overcome the hammerhead’s site, because it would seem such improvements have already been made…

I don’t believe a lot of it is sympathy, it is more of… did the team this year make the website?
As for OCCRA & FIRST, we have two websites this year,, and The Lamar one is for all robotics things that we do, you can check it out (but because of the 2009 website, we haven’t had time to update it lately). And, the 2009 one is mainly for FIRST, although we do mention VEX a couple of times.

As for the rubric, I was looking through your website a while ago, so I don’t know if this is still a problem, but I found some links that didn’t point to a real web page… Maybe you found it, but that’s a criteria on the rubric.

But, all in all your website is great!

I’m not sure what all of the judging criteria is, nor did I go look at what languages you are using on your site, but if they do take language into account that may have made the difference. I’ve been on hiatus from the team this year so I don’t know everything there is to know, but the engineers have said that the student in charge of our website this year is brilliant with web programming (integrating php and such).

In any case, I really like your site as well :slight_smile: (I like ours too, but I’m probably biased).


I’m not exactly sure what you meant by this, but how I interpreted it was that you were asking if we, the students, made it. The answer to that is yes, absolutely. Students completely designed and developed our website and also wrote the majority of the content. Mentors do contribute to the content though (specifically history, alumni, team meetings, calendar … ect).

It makes more sense to our team if we have all the content about our team and it’s activities in one place rather than having it in multiple areas (subdomains).

While this is helpful, it doesn’t win you any points. We have two students doing our website (design/development process) which is constructed using many different languages.

Once again congrats to you guys for winning the award! :slight_smile:

I don’t doubt you guys did it. I was saying that they are probably looking for a website that you guys did this year. Some teams have really good design and content one year, so they keep it. And, the judge’s might get tired of looking at the same stuff over and over again.