Site Map: When analysing the website for any potential areas that could be added or modified, there was the requirement to view all of the pages within the website in order the determine what was already good versus what could be done during development. When viewing through the website it was noted. that hone attempting to navigate through the website there were pages that were were hard to find and navigate, both in desktop view and in smartphone view. Since the website utilises a navigation bar as well as a sub-menu when necessary it makes certain page harder to find than necessary. We then resorted to finding a form of a site map in order to find any missing areas just in case, only to discover that we had covered all of the pages within our analysing. This was a concern based on the prior issue of navigation, a major issue with the current website not having any form of site map is that it can make certain areas of the website be unnecessarily harder to locate when viewing the website initially.
Another problem with this was that the absence made it harder to navigate when viewing through a smartphone. Although a part of this is due to the lack of a usable responsive design instead preferring a static design further emphasises this problem. Since the sub-menu negate this issue slightly it does not make it complete. As these sub-menus are able to provide enough information as to what can be found within their contents, leading to both confusion and misdirection based on assuming what that area holds. Examples of site maps being used within other website are prevalent within the IT industry since to a point it is a standard of sorts for navigation, with a major example in the industry would be with Microsoft.com and Apple.co.uk. as they both allow for the different sections of their website to be separated allowing for distinctions to be made between different areas of the websites. Although both are a form of E-commerce/marketplace websites there are other smaller websites that present it in a similar format. One of which with the Local Trust website (not Big Local NE Hastings) which separates the types of information by context, which is crucial since our website could utilise a similar or same format for a site map.
Page Structure/Design: When the website was first viewed during a group session for research as well as beginning the creation of the questionnaire for the client of BLNEH. There was the immediate problem with how the website had multiple sections of the home page for example, where different common elements present in standard website were implemented to a point. Either displaying an issue with how it was displaying itself on the screen, or was having issues with how it was functioning. Returning to the central conclusion of the research with the absence of a responsive design, this does also affect how the website is perceived during smartphone view. Which as mentioned previously makes the desktop view also be carried over almost exactly with the only difference is with the ability to zoom in and out of the website. This makes the website nearly impossible to consistently navigate through without zooming in to a degree. Although the desktop view is exactly the same that does not make that much easier to use, since with everything being the same makes all of the problems carry over with the design and the structure. These problems include the Navigation bar, the Side menu, and the Banner image.
With how the pages are structured to compensate for the login function there is the issue with all of the content exclusive to each page being cramped, which not only makes the text information on the website have issues with formatting with there being examples with sentences being cut off to the next line in a paragraph. Though emphasising the login function does not seem like a problem there is however the issue with how the function works itself, as another issue is that we discovered no way to actually login or sign up making an unnecessary accessory to the website. A final part of the structure and design is with the Navigation bar itself which suffers from having too many boxes within the bar to the point of having two boxes overlapping the original bar and covering the banner image partially. What made this problem worse is that after reviewing all of the contents in each of boxes it was realised that converting it to a dropdown box instead would allow for there to be significantly less objects in the way as well as saving space in the overall design of the website in both viewing experiences.
Interactive Elements: Although the website is able to convey textual information about varying contexts. There are however certain sections of the website that contain information that is presented as text despite there being potential for it to be shown through an alternative method. The two most common examples of this is with information regarding the locations of different places that involve the Big Local in some way, although the text-based data is in depth regarding to how detailed it is. By allowing the user to have a specific location with enough information for that location to be found using some form of interactive map (such as Google Maps). There is the problem with having that information requiring an additional step in the process of gaining the locational data, essentially meaning that for the average user across all browsers would mean the use of another tab in order to input this information. However an alternative that wasn’t exactly research due to our existing knowledge on the subject is with the implementation of Google Maps within the page itself, this would work it is common place for an interactive map to be utilised along with written information as another method of conveying to the user.
Responsive Design: This is an area that whilst it does primarily affect how the website is perceived when viewing through portable devices (Tablet, Smartphone), there is also the implication with how the website functions through a normal desktop. As discussed previously with the portable viewing it copies the viewing experience from the desktop version, though this serves as a benefit as it allowed to us to have an indication as to potentially old the website is in terms of design considerations. It makes the website a compilation of zooming in order to navigate correctly with some icons. requiring said zoom to be used to its maximum. For how it affects the desktop experience the static design makes it so that the only way to correctly view the website and its pages without having content out of view requires the website to be in full-screen meaning that the window can’t be minimised in any way. Although the static approach does allow for the different objects present per page to be visible throughout, there is the issue with how it limits the design as well as improves upon it.
With responsive design for example it allows for the website to be usable with different devices outside of the original market that it was intended for. Another area outside of accessibility is with simple modernisation, since this website was originally intended for a different audience the use of responsive would allow for one of the most prevalent and widespread audiences currently around in the world of web, portable devices users (Smartphones primarily).