Alison Smith

The UMD CS Department's home page holds a fairly simple design. The layout features a standard header with page title, search box in the upper-right of the window, and a main menu on the left of the page. The various boxes on the page are separated by a thin light-colored border, which does not provide a strong separation of the boxes, and much of the text from menu to body runs together. The color scheme for the original design features an off-white background, black text for paragraphs, a dark red gradient for some menu items, and orange for some selected items.

The goal of the redesign is to increase the usability of the site by making the page more visual appealing to the user and separating the important information so that it is easier to locate on the page. Two main features are important in terms of this redesign. A stronger separation of boxes and better use of the color scheme will be more visually appealing to the user, as well as make each box stand out on the page, so the user can easily find the important information he is concerned with. Although, I will keep the original color scheme, as it represents the University of Maryland colors, I will use black for the background with white text, and a brighter red for headings and menu items to better catch the user's attention. I will also be changing the font of many of the headings and menu titles to be more bold and attracting to the user.
The overall positioning and layout of the original page is appropriate, so much of the information will remain in the same layout after the redesign. One other issue
with the original design is the large number of links in the main menu. If the redesign were to include technology outside of CSS changes, I would recommend that the main menu be collapsed to only show the primary links, and then when each is hovered over the sub-set of links will be shown - similar to a vertical drop down menu.