Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Boy Scout site is much improved

I just want to thank all my W.D. Boyce Council-BSA web development committee colleagues for the fantastic job of improving the web site.

The sprawling thing actually downloads like lightning, on a dial-up internet connection. Even faster than my own sites.

We've worked long and hard, as volunteers and paid staff, to bring this about. While the old site had its good points and was not horrible, this design and content revamp is remarkable.

NOTE: This site re-design is not finished.

And we have to please a lot of conflicting department heads, all of whom want full information on upcoming and current events on the main page. We're going to just have a sentence or two, with links to more.

Obvious improvements to make include:

* separate the articles on the main page with horizontal rules

* larger fonts for article heads

* differentiation of "click here for more information" and "read more" links, with better wording for the link text

* discard the Site Map altogether

* better visitor orientation on the main page

...and so forth.

But compared to the previous design, this is more modern looking, and easier to navigate. It's a rich and complex site, with lots of input and conflicting goals. But the teamwork and persistent efforts are paying off splendidly.

My wife and I, along with former staffer Sarah Johnson, conducted user observation testing, and detailed analysis.

All of which is documented at the Usability Interface web site, if anyone is interested. From how the user testing was orchestrated...to pre-test questionnaires...to the kind of snacks and instructions provided by the test administrators.

Everything you need to know about conducting valid web user observation tests is there, and all my original creation pre-test, test, and post-test forms are also available as RTF documents.

Just email me and you can have them all...FREE.

steven [dot] streight [at] gmail [dot] com

Forms you cannot find anywhere else, as far as I know. And believe me, I hunted hard.

Feel Free to CRITIQUE...

Once we make some more critical enhancements, we'll run another User Observation Test. That's the only way to know for sure that typical users can do what they want to do at the site.

To all my geek buddies out there:

Visit the Boyce site. If you see more work that could be done, let me know.

I'm going to do a lot more, along with some others, on the copy itself, heads, subheads, bullets, numbered lists, shorter text, etc.

We meet once a month, tonight in fact at 6 PM, to discuss what needs to be done.

We never stop, we shan't stop, tweaking and enhancing it.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the former 2nd Class Boy Scout, Troop 31


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