Weekly Reflection – Week 8

The devil himself could not make a more evil and frustrating website

This week we looked at making the web functional. I used to work for a bowling alley as part of the sales and marketing team. At the time of joining the team the website they had was terrible! Customers couldn’t find the information they needed and I would get tons of calls from people who always had the same very simple questions. All the information was on the website, they just couldn’t find it. Not long after joining that team the company got a new director and I convinced him to get us a new website. Throughout my brief to the designer I constantly emphasized one sentence, “make it functional”. I wanted users to be able to find the information they needed, without have to endlessly search the site and get frustrated in the process. The website turned out pretty good, the repetitive phone calls stopped, people could find what they wanted and it was all designed from my original brief. You can look at it here. So I understand the importance of a functional website and how frustrating it can be when you can find the information you want. Even as a user myself, I hate going on the direct.gov website for anything. Its cluttered with so much jargon and crap that its really hard to find what you want. You get to the point where you can’t find what you need so you end up spending 20 minutes looking for a phone number to ring, only to find yourself speaking to a robot… Very frustrating! The same can be said for the DVLA website too. Pure evil manifested into code. My advice, avoid at all cost!

There was something that I learnt this week that I found interesting. Studies have found that if we as users don’t find what we are after in 3 clicks then we look elsewhere. I like the idea of everything being reachable in 3 clicks. All websites should be designed with this concept in mind. Of course that may not work for every websites but its a great philosophy to follow.

Looking back at the past 8 weeks I think I’ve come along way in terms of my development. At the start of my course I knew nothing of CSS, now I can use basic code to style web pages. Something I couldn’t do before was create web sites using HTML, I can now. I’ve learnt about the incarnation of the world wide web and its founders. I’ve learnt about things that you may not immediately associate with the web like, colour theory and typography. So far I feel like I’m learning at a bit of a slow pace and I’m only taking baby steps but its all in the right direction and that’s what matters. I think I’m taking the Neil Armstrong approach, its one small step for me, one giant leap for my career.

So far I have enjoyed my uni course. I work almost everyday I’m off from uni just to pay my bills, which can be a bit of a strain, but if I keep positive and look at the end goal of getting a degree and a job I’m happy with then that’s all the motivation I need.

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