Here are comments and recommendations from some of our website reviews, which we have edited to maintain the confidentiality of our clients:
Comment: The font size of the main text is fixed, which means that users with impaired sight (and that may include anyone over 45 years old) will not be able to increase the size of the text to make it easier to read.
Recommendation: Alter your style sheet, to define the font size as a percentage of the default rather than in pixels.
How likely is your site to be found by search engines?
Comment: Search engines do not like frames: the subsidiary frames will probably not be visited by the robots, thus rendering most of the content of a page useless from the search engine’s point of view. The website does have an additional ‘no frames’ paragraph of text. However, this text is not visible on the page and so may be ignored by the search engines.
Recommendation: Re-code the website, omitting frames.
Organisation of information
Comment: Your site has too many top-level links. With so many options, in no obvious order, the user will almost certainly have difficulty deciding which to choose. Usability studies recommend that the number of options presented to the user at any one time should be between three and seven.
Recommendation: Restructure the material on the site so that the top-level links number no more than seven. To achieve this, pages could be combined or moved lower down the hierarchy.
Comment: On your home page you have a single image containing three photographs representing the areas you have covered so far.
Recommendation: You need to think how you will use such images when the website expands to cover more than three areas, and make sure that you have a design that is sufficiently flexible.
Layout and use of space
Comment: The top left section of your home page represents an important missed opportunity. Instead of showing essential information identifying the site and enabling the user to find out more, it shows rather trivial information such as the date the site was last updated.
Recommendation: Make use of the top left of the home page and put relatively unimportant information in a less prominent position or on another page.
Comment: The same font is used for the main navigation as for the text on your site, and visited links are not marked.
Recommendation: The main navigation should be more clearly distinguished from the text. The navigation should not be in the same font type, colour and size as the main paragraph text. You should also use a different font colour to make it clear to the user when links have been visited.
How well does it communicate with users?
Comment: Your links page is just a list of web addresses. Why are you suggesting that the the user leave your site to visit these other websites?
Recommendation: Everything on your site should be clearly explained, especially anything that requires users to take action. A list of external links should include short descriptions that tell users what they can expect from these other sites.