When I first examined the website http://poweringanation.org/water/ , I didn’t have any expectations that it would be any different from other informative sites I’d visited before. The purpose of this page was made to create awareness about water conservation… boring. And with the informational video being the initial thing that appears on the webpage, my prospects weren’t about to change.
Personally, I’m not a big video viewer, especially when it comes to seeing them online. However, I found I was intrigued with the features this particular video had once you paused it.
They site posted random interactive facts throughout the video’s feed. Things such as:
*A newborn baby is 78 percent water, about 20 percent more than an adult.
*Wash and fold, wash and fold. Did you know that traditional washing machines use anywhere from 30 to 50 gallons of water per load?
*More than a third of Americans can’t swim.
It came as a surprise that once the video was finished, there were even more interactive features for the site’s audience to view. A large mosaic feature is displayed once you finish the video which allows for more personal interaction with the site.
After exploring the website for a few minutes, I realized that it was taking me all over the place. I ran my mouse across all the icons till I found one that appealed most to me.
From the video, I found I was most interested in seeing how much 100 gallons of water costs. Once I clicked on the icon and watched the 30 second clip, there was a calculator designed to calculate how much 100 gallons costs on a personal usage compared to different countries around the world. It was a realization to see I use approximately 88 gallons of water each day which costs on average about $21.31 which is more than the whole country of Peru, Ethiopia and India use in a day.
After taking just a couple seconds to navigate to the main webpage, I found myself following the same pattern while exploring other various aspects of the site.
Most of the features started off with a video followed by some interactive tool to make the information you just retained more relative to you. By doing this I remembered more information then I would have normally if the site was just full of people talking and not having me be included.
By having explored what this website had to offer, I found that is exceeded the 10 tips of navigation listed on our course website. Maybe it was just me but I had no issues with the navigation of this site whatsoever. And I easily found how I could contact the creators/ producers/ reporters of the website.
Just as a little refreshment, here are the 10 listed tips:
- Keep navigation simple: Limit choices. Avoid scroll bars and drop-down menus. Avoid layers and layers of navigation.
- Make navigation buttons large enough for a finger touch, not just a mouse click.
- Place controls and navigation in logical places. We glance pages from left-to-right and top-to-bottom. Set up navigation and controls that reflect this.
- Integrate multimedia into text, so if users what to explore the multimedia while reading the text, they can take a detour. This is nonlinearity.
- But be sure you make it easy for users to return to the previous content. –> Don’t remove key navigational buttons that were available before.
- Don’t change the position and location of links.
- Try not to offer more than 7 options for primary navigation. Exceeding 7 can overwhelm.
- Use clear labels and descriptions to users don’t guess where a button or link will take them.
- Use clean, simple design so it is easy to read and view your content.
- Conduct usability tests!
When deciding to conduct the “Usability Test” on another person, I decided my roommate with a short attention-span was the perfect person to ask.
He found himself having the same thoughts and feelings I did when I first came to this website. At first he thought it would be just another lame environmental site but in just a few short minutes, his perceptions had changed too. And what was even funnier about his process while exploring the page, he did it almost the same exact way I did! (that makes me want to take back the comment I made earlier when deciding to ask him to be my guinea pig).
He took advantage of all the tools on the site and watched video after video while muttering “this is sweet” and “wow” the entire time.
After discussing the site after he explored it, we both reached the conclusion it was one of the best websites either of us had ever seen. Not only did we both learn a lot of things we didn’t before but we also in a sense learned a new way to learn from the perks of having multimedia in today’s world.
Three things that should *not* change –>
1. The interactive features (very entertaining)
2. Captions placed with the video (makes videos more appealing)
3. The mosaic layout (good way to group the information)
Three things that should change –>
1. Length of some of the videos (shorten for people with short attention spans)
2. Add more color (draw in the eyes of more)
3. Add music to the main page (I don’t like quiet)