Websites: Good vs. Great

Discussion in 'Computers & Website Forum' started by Don, Sep 1, 2006.

  1. Don

    Don
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    What's your favorite website? Why?

    In your personal opinion, what makes one website great, but another one only good?

    Do you like "one-stop shop" sites, that have headlines, stock reports, links to similar websites, games, daily cartoons, yadda yadda?

    Perhaps a web site that includes all that, plus an in-set for your church's web site?

    Message boards? Chat functions? Bible and web search? Reviews of movies and/or Christian books?

    Perhaps the new online functions for spreadsheets and word processing? Banking functions?

    The ability to "subscribe" to links of your choice, and have them show up on that page along with the other things already mentioned?

    I'm considering a re-design of a website I administer, and I'm trying to determine how much to include, what's "extraneous," etc.

    I've been working with websites since 1997; I know there's no "magic formula." I'm also aware there are a lot of new things going on with the web and websites.


    From our "techies" who visit this part of the Baptist Board, I'm curious as to what you prefer to see when you visit a web page.

    And I'd especially like to know what you'd like to see, that isn't being offered anywhere yet (because the technology isn't available, or we don't know of any sites offering it, or we're unaware that capability exists to make it happen).

    THANKS FOR HELPING !!!
     
  2. Filmproducer

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    Saw this thread and just had to reply...

    My favorite website is www.sodomandgomorrahthemovie.com, of course! :smilewinkgrin:

    As for any other site it depends on what they are for. I like sites that are clear and concise. I hate sites that are nothing more than links to myriads of other websites, they irritate me beyond belief. We use quicktime on our site, but ended up having to also put our trailer on youtube because not everyone can use quicktime.
     
  3. mcdirector

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    I like sites that
    • are well organized
    • don't have dead links
    • provide what they say they'll provide
    • have current info
    • are easy to read (this would include color, font size)
    • don't look like they tried to cram too much on a single page
    I also like continuity within the site. -- themes, images, layout
     
  4. Don

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    FilmProducer, catchy site.

    When you say, "nothing more than links to myriad other sites," what exactly do you mean? Are you talking about portal or community sites, that are meant to allow you to explore related web sites? Or something else?

    MCDirector, I hear you: dead links, current info, and information overload are banes of webmaster "content" management.

    Has anyone worked with Google's web publishing and API tools?
     
  5. Trotter

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    I have to echo the sentiments expressed above.

    Most of my online activity is wrapped up in forums (the computer site I help on, and this one for the most part). But when I go to a site, the look and feel of it is very important.

    Clashing or glaring colors are a turn off, as is uneven text. A site doesn't have to be perfectly balanced, but having a sense of balance does help. Flash intros, while nice and interesting, are a bane to dialup users... having an option to skip them is a nice addition.

    Music and sound are a big turn off, as well. Maybe I'm picky, but if I wanted to hear a site I'd just play a game.

    Links are good if they are organized together or with their relevant material, not scattered haphazardly all over the place.

    Graphics/pictures are nice, but not if they are too big or uncompressed. Again, be merciful to those still on dialup.
     
  6. exscentric

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    Having to dig through page after page to find a contact point, three pages to get to what I thought I was going to get the first click.

    I go for information, not blings, pictures, and paypal links to donate to someone I do not know.

    Pages that seem if they were designed by people that have never been on the internet :thumbs:
     
  7. Filmproducer

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    Thank you! :thumbs:

    Not necessarily portals or community sites, although they also can be irksome at times. I hate sites that besides being haphazard, and/or hard to read, also have links to a bunch of other sites. For example, sites that are "co-ops" for free advertising, (i.e., I'll post a link and/or banner for your site, if you post one for me). Nothing is more unprofessional, IMO, than going to a potential crew members site and having to wade through all the banners and links just to find a link to a resume.
     
  8. Don

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    So far, the biggest agreement is: Clearly defined purpose.

    I, too, hate clicking on a link that says "contact," only to have a page come up that says "click here to contact us."

    And no one seems to be a fan of the "kitchen sink" approach (think yahoo.com).
     
  9. mcdirector

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    We have a history on our school web page. It got nasty for me because it was taken away from the HS principal and given to me. To try to appease this guy, I was as undercover as possible. That's not a good thing. Now my email link is at the bottom of every page. I get lots of emails asking about all kinds of stuff.

    http://cbdscougars.com

    I haven't used google's web publishing tools. I did try to use those provided by yahoo, but they made me cringe.

    now, we do have a list of contacts page -- I named it contact us. I'm thinking I should call it something else . . .
     
  10. mcdirector

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    I agree about the pages that are nothing but links -- those portals et. al. are more trouble than looking at pages from a well-defined search.
     
  11. Don

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    Nah, your "Contact Us" goes directly to the contact list, neatly presents who to get hold of and how.
     
  12. exscentric

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    I love our BANK's site. When they first put it up they had a contact us area. I wrote out a message about a problem I was having. I typed in a dollar amount $50 or something similar, when I submitted the message I was informed that I could not use a $ sign :laugh:
     
  13. Don

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    So we've seen in the responses so far that if there's 2 requirements a web site must satisfy, it's gotta be: 1) Purpose and 2) Usefulness.

    Notice I didn't say "usability." Navigation and stuff is a completely different topic.

    Let's use the example of a Baptist website. What gives it purpose? If it's for a church, then that's the purpose: To tell people about the church, and why they should go there instead of the Baptist church down the street. If it's a personal web site, then what makes it special? Why should people ever visit it, much less come back and visit again and again?

    And how useful is it? Does it provide a resource or resources that we can use and re-use? Even if that resource is simply a "joke of the day"?

    All the other stuff--navigation, colors, text size, etc.--means little if these first two factors don't cut the mustard.

    So let me ask this: What makes a web site useful? News headlines? Joke of the day? Cartoon of the day? "This Day in Baptist History"? Recipe of the day? Stock quotes? Link to an instant messenger? Chat room? Weather?

    Or how about the ability to create your own preferences? For example, in addition to primary content (think Yahoo), in your profile you identify the types of news headlines you're most interested in, as well as links to your favorite web sites? The Air Force Portal, for example, has something it calls the "WorkSpace," where you identify Air Force web sites (such as MyPay and LeaveWeb), as well as your favorite web sites, so that you have a list of web sites right there on the page to click on. (Beats me why they went that route, instead of just leaving it to us to click on Favorites, Add Bookmark, etc.).

    Yahoo has a similar type thing, where you can specify News, Entertainment, etc.

    But what can y'all think of that would make a web site truly useful?

    I may end up experimenting with any/every suggestion y'all come up with, so feel free to come up with the most outlandish idea(s) you can think of. You never know; we might make history.
     
  14. mcdirector

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    Don, how would you allow the user to set their own preferences -- like with yahoo?
     
  15. mcdirector

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    And I don't want the joke of the day, weather, and sports scores on most web sites -- I've got that on Yahoo.

    But you did get me to thinking if there is someway to set website-specific preferences within a site. And if we did that, what would they be. If a site is easily navigatable, are they necessary? Just thinking outloud.
     
  16. Don

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    Here's what AF Portal Workspace looks like:

    [​IMG]

    When you hit the "Change Block" button (top right), you see this:

    [​IMG]

    Using the arrows, you can change the layout of your workspace.

    My first thought, to answer your question, is a Content Management System. In my experience with playing around with Joomla and a couple of others, users can log in and change preferences like colors, etc. I'm researching them now to see which has the most functionality for changing which blocks they want to see, etc.

    Using the Baptist Board as an example, the goal would be to get away from Yahoo, and make Baptist Board your "one stop shop." From the main Baptist Board page, you'd be able to see your interests, favorite links, and even the most recent posts in your favorite message threads.

    Shooting for the moon...going to Wal-mart now.
     
  17. mcdirector

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    I've used Joomla and xoops. I was wondering though if there was a way to do that in just an old fashioned web page.
     
  18. Don

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    XML or Java programming comes to mind....

    It's doable, I just have to spend some time working out the "devil in the details."
     

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