Web critique

I made a website (https://sites.google.com/a/cheshire.k12.ct.us/crash999/) for our team, and was wondering what you guys thought of if. I would love any and all feedback. I have to use Google sites because of a contract our school signed with Google. This is our first website in a couple years.

Great start for a new website! But there are a few things that I see immediately.
-The blue hyperlinks on the red background make it very straining to read. Consider changing to something that is more “web-friendly.”
-The menu is very small, consider increasing the size of those buttons.
-The font type/size could be a little larger, because it may be hard to read on some monitors.
I hope my criticism will help you improve your site!

Here are some of my quick first thoughts…

I think that your front page shows the personality of your team. Not only is it an important part of the website judging but it also brands your team by giving visitors a feel from your identity. Most users don’t like to have to scroll on a webpage, which works well with your home page. However, I do feel like you could give a little bit more information on the opening page. Your large template-design-graphic could limit how much content you can fit on screen.

I like your use of Google Calendar (everyone, including myself uses it, its just the best). However I think it would give a better feel if the Calendar was either bigger or in the month mode. Your ‘FIRST’ and ‘History’ sections cover the important info, which is good. I like your two documents on the resource page, they seem very useful. However, I would put a description of them on the page so that people have a feel for what each document is (it will entice them).

Your about us section was very well done with a lot of information about your team. Our mentors don’t let us put students full names or email addresses due to privacy concerns, but each team must make that decision for themselves.

You have a really good start. I would say that all of the content you have up is good quality for an award, although I did notice a few grammatical errors. Also, calendar is not spelled “calender” as your navigation says. It’s ok, it will take a bit to work out all those kinks. Try having another person on the team read it over - maybe even read it backwards - for simple stuff like that. I know I’ve made my share of grammar/spelling mistakes when I used to work on our site at 3am.

The graphical theme fits your team really well. My only concern with it is the content area is quite small. This is fine now, because it makes up for the fact that there is not much content yet, but in the future it might make the page look cluttered. Expanding the content area might be something you want to think about in the future.

You also might want to think about adding an area about your robots and/or rethinking the “General” about page. Most likely, this information will already be on the home page, because what school, what area, and what organizations you are affiliates are often the first things a user will want to know when they get to your site. And why not focus a bit on the robots? That’s what you guys do! Don’t be afraid to use pictures. It makes the text more interesting, and makes sure that people don’t think you’re building lego robots or something. It is also really really important that there is an easy way back to the home page without clicking the back button a billion times. A link at the bottom is fine, but usually the logo in the upper left (or left side in your case) also links to the home page.

The last topic I want to visit is the news/calendar/announcements sections. There doesn’t seem to be a really clear division between these lists even though the each have unique content. You might want to consider making it clear that one is for the public/families/friends and the other is for team members. Also, consider using a bulleted list or dates for the announcements rather than an ordered list. That looks a tad funny.

Anyhow, I think that’s enough to start with. Considering it’s a google site, I won’t comment on the uniqueness/cleanliness of your code. In case you were wondering, I used to be the webmaster of http://www.hammerhead226.org sophomore/junior/(and kind of )senior year. We won the state website award my sophomore year =). Feel free to send me a chief delphi message or something if you have more questions, although I can’t guarantee I’ll answer it quickly since I don’t hang around here much anymore.