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Usability analysis: Freud Communications

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It is important that a website fulfills the need to complete tasks by the target user. There are many elements that must be considered in order to create and sustain a successful and beneficial website. Freud Communications is a large public relations company with large, world famous clients such as Nike and Pepsi.

Assuming the main purpose of their website is to provide information to potential clients, the usability and effectiveness of the site has been analysed.

The Freud Communications homepage

Searchability

  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) means maximising the use of key terms the target user of the website is likely to enter in a search engine.
  • Searching ‘Freud Communications’ in Google produces the website as the first result, ‘Freud public relations’ and ‘Freud London’ shows the website third. This proves successful in SEO for users searching for the particular company.
  • Similar searches with more information regarding the type of company, but without the word ‘Freud’ gathered no results on the first page.
  • SEO is only present for users already knowing the name of the company, not for potential new clients looking for public relations and marketing companies.
  • Most of the text on the website is displayed as images, meaning there is less opportunity for keywords to be picked up by search engines.

Navigation

  • Information is easy to find under a straightforward list of links: ‘Our Services’, ‘Our Clients’, ‘Our Beliefs’, ‘Our People’, ‘Contact Us’. All links work well and take the user to the anticipated section of the site.
  • Sections are colour coded which may help in increasing memorability
  • The whole website is on one page, with the links changing the text and image on that same page rather than directing to a new one. This causes problems with the way that people are used to moving around the web – the browser’s ‘back’ and ‘forward’ buttons to not function within the site.

Design

  • The Freud Communications website is attractive and looks sophisticated, mainly due to the simplicity of it. The light colours on the black background enable the site to stand out from the majority of other pages on the web.
  • Most of the text on the site is clear, although some sections contain grey, red, purple and green text on the black background which is more difficult to read.
  • A good feature of the site is that it uses a “liquid layout” where the frame and the text size changes according to the size of the window.

Content

  • Web-users aim to complete a task as quickly as possible, meaning pages are more likely to be scanned for keywords rather than read.
  • Text on the Freud site is minimal and words are sometimes highlighted using size and colour. However, it can sometimes be difficult to tell what is aimed to be highlighted when the text on a page is in three different colours.
  • There is little information about current or previous clients. The homepages of some major competitors to Freud Communications PHA Media, Splendid and Shine Communications highlight recent news and events – Freud would benefit from including this. Video and audio examples of work would also benefit the company.

Interactivity/User Generated Content (UGC)

  • The website offers no UGC or opportunities for users to interact with the company or other visitors. The only way to communicate with the company is the provided telephone number or email address (which is only found under ‘Job Opportunities’).
  • Another way companies successfully use interactivity and UGC is through social media. Freud Communications currently do not have active Twitter or Facebook accounts (the Twitter account is protected and has zero following and followers).

To read the full, essay version click here.

HTML disasters – web designers take note!

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Okay, so as I’ve recently started a Web Communications unit on my course at BU, I was looking into some small hints & tips for web design.

I was pointed toward this website, dedicated to showing all that’s so very wrong with many web pages out there in the mass that is cyberspace.

I’ve seen my fair share of bad websites in my internet-browsing lifetime. A web page needs to have a little excitement on it, as soon as a bland page loads I lose interest straight away. However, a busy website is much worse, in my opinion.

This, for example, is horrific.

I am completely bewildered by it, to be honest. I seriously think whoever put this together can’t have actually looked at it. Surely after seeing the mess they just produced they would realise it’s not fit for anyone to see. Ever. I mean, come on, the background was made in Paint, and what the hell is that thing moving around the page!? Oh yeah, and there’s the wonderful navigation and text all bundled on top of each other, WHAT!?

Web pages that suck‘ highlights problems that are commonly seen in and amongst the World Wide Web (the example above is an extreme) such as bad background-text contrasts and awkward or complex navigation. Websites should be simple, easy to grab ‘n’ go with just snippets of information you want. Many of the websites mentioned in ‘Biggest Mistakes in Web Design 1995-2015‘ (No idea how they know the future?) have just small problems, just in need of a few tweaks in order to produce an, at least, usable page. Although, as we’ve seen from Yvette’s bridal thingy, some just need to be binned.

Oh gosh, I’ve had the volume on my laptop turned down until now, still with Yvette’s awful excuse for a website open on another tab…

THERE’S MUSIC PLAYING AT ME. Worst. Thing. Ever!

So, I think I can safely conclude from this that there is still very much a place for web redesigners…

And web police? Please!

I’ll leave you with this, another gem I managed to find on ‘Web pages that suck’ (where else?). I’m sure you’ll love it just as much as me (:

Mind your eyes!

Web Surfery

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Let’s start this thing off.

I’m a student, therefore I spend a lot of time aimlessly surfing the web.

The internet is huge, but I always find myself on the same sites time and time again.

I know I’m not alone when I say that my browsing history is filled by Facebook. I’m no sure I’d say it’s the most entertaining site, although it’s definitely where I spend most of my time! It’s a simple communication tool, a good way of keeping up to date with friends’ news, and great for just being nosey!

I’ve recently got myself stuck into Twitter, I feel that it’s such a good way of networking, and becoming an active part of the social media world. I have already found myself some contacts from the world of PR and social media, which may come in handy when it comes to finding a career after Uni! I also love getting real time news feeds from Twitter, mainly from Bournemouth Echo and the BBC.

Real news can be boring. When I feel the world needs spicing up a bit, I visit The Onion. A satire news site featuring articles on real and not-so-real events – never failing to produce a few laughs. I also get updates by following them on Twitter.

Currently living in a house which only receives 4 fuzzy analogue channels, TVCatchup is a little bit of a life saver! How else would I keep up to date with useless daytime TV shows and my daily dose of Deal or No Deal!? Finding this site saved me from the withdrawal symptoms I experienced when I realised there I had no e4!

Last but definitely not least – Google! I really don’t know where I’d be without it, whether it’s work related searches or just to find an answer to a random thought that pops in my head throughout the day. Now that I have myself a BlackBerry means that I’m constantly ‘Googling’ pretty much everything.