Truth 'n' Reviews Critique

by Jesse Spears

Functionality

The Truth 'n' Reviews is in the minority of the class's websites in that almost all of the promised functionality is there. Overall, things do what they're supposed to. Creating a new post, logging in, viewing posts all work as expected. After log on, there were no unexpected log offs or loss of information (sessions and cookies worked correctly). The only broken promise was the article rating system wasn't yet implemented. This is a shame because it was essentially the system that was meant to differentiate the site from its competitors.

I did like that the creators of the site wisely utilized an external forum. To simply rewrite something that already existed would have been a waste of time. They managed to integrate the logo into the forum, which was a nice touch. From a user's perspective, it did not appear as if I'd left the main site.

Usability

The affordances of the website are for the most part consistent with the corresponding functions. The navigation bar looks and behaves like a navigation bar. The mapping of the site is excellent. Users are exposed to four simple functions on the navigation bar: Home, Reviews, Write Review, Forum. There is no overwhelming amount of options, nor are any important functions buried too deep. Likewise, writing a review is simple and to-the-point. It follows the conventions of most websites.

Design

The design of Truth 'n' Reviews could have used some polishing. Due to the intense technical requirements for a group of amateurs (almost everyone in the class), it is natural that the interface would be less high priority than the functionality. This is also consistent with the project guidelines, which emphasized functionality ("no broken links", etc.). Therefore, I understand why the interface is plain.

That being said, if the creators wished to continue the project, I would recommend using more images in the site, making the design less blocky, use a unified color scheme (http://www.colorschemedesigner.com/ is a good site), and make use of DIVs and CSS to beautify the site.

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The site was easy to use, but plain