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Old 11-01-2009, 12:11 PM
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How to Write a Quality Review

Dear member:

As you may know, prior to being allowed to request your first review you must provide 3 quality reviews about other people's websites. And we understand that sometimes people who are not very skilled in web development, or who had their websites made by a third party may not have the knowledge to judge or evaluate someone else's work effectively.

This usually leads to people posting 3 "nice site!" messages just to easily bypass the rule and be able to post their request. We moderators usually remove such responses and kindly write to the users requesting them to make a second effort in providing a review.

We realize that reviewing a website is not a simple task, and that is why we wrote this article.

Should I read this?
This article has been written for members who want to give their first quality reviews having little experience in web development, eg:
  • Website owners who hired a developer,
  • Sales or Public Relationships representatives who are looking for improvements in their business websites.
  • Junior web developers who are giving the first steps in their careers.
  • Experienced developers who want to help our fellow members improve their websites, by providing a quality assessment of their work.

What is a website review?
A website review is an evaluation of a published website. It contains information about the possible issues and factors with room for improvement, along with suggestions on how to improve them. Optionally it can also contain a rating (eg: from 1 to 10) on each reviewed aspect.

Are there any composition rules?
We do not require members to be formal when writing a review, but we do encourage you to write something constructive and useful. And of course, do it in a friendly manner

What to look for when writing a review?
There are several factors that you can consider when reviewing a website, I will try to outline some of them and provide examples but you may find more:

Design: You don't have to be a graphic designer to tell when there are design issues with a website.
  • Is this website appealing and eye friendly?
  • Do I get lost easily by browsing it?
  • Does it look cluttered?
  • Do the margins and spaces make it easier to read?
  • Are the stock photos appropriate for this website? should they add more or remove some?
  • Can I easily see what is the website focus and its purpose? If I stare at a page for more than 10 seconds and I don't know the purpose or what does it offer then there is something to be said about it.
  • Is there enough contrast to be able to read the text? Is the font readable?

Content: Uniqueness and usefulness are two words that will mean success to a website.
  • Is the website message effective? Does it target the right audience with the appropriate tone and content?
  • Is this website derivative? Can I find exactly the same information anywhere else on the net?
  • Is the content relevant? Do I feel like wasting my time reading it?
  • Does it have a consistent wording? Style?
  • Grammatical or spelling mistakes?

Functionality: Many websites are not merely content documents, but they will have interactive controls such as forms, widgets, javascript or flash components, and they should work properly:
  • Do the forms work? are they easy to fill and provide information about mandatory fields?
  • Are the dynamic components actually useful or just eye candy?

Navigation: Unless you are reviewing a 1-page website, you will find yourself clicking links to move through the content. There are rules about this too.
  • Can I easily tell where am I? where I have been and where can I go from here?
  • Does it have enough operation elements? Does it have too many buttons? or too few?
  • Are the navigation elements consistent throughout the website?
  • Does it have a sitemap?
  • Does the logo link to the home page?
  • Does it have a search box?

Compatibility: As you know there is a variety of platforms that can display websites, and it is the developers' task to ensure interoperability in all, or in most of them.
  • Does this website validate the specifications for which it has been created?
  • Is this website easily viewable from any browser?
  • how does it look when browsing from a phone? What happens if I disable cookies or have a slow connection?
  • Is each page produced by a unique URL that can be copy pasted to another browser and opened to see the same content?
  • Does this page take very long to load with my connection or make my browser crash?
  • Can I browse it with a 1024x768 resolution?

Others:
  • What are the marketing capabilities of this website?
  • Does it require more S.E.O. work?
  • Does it have a custom error page? If it crashes, does it crash gracefully?
  • Any javascript errors?
  • Does it use standard fonts?
  • Is it possible to contact the author?
__________________
Cristian Espinoza ~ Sr. Web Developer
Currently available for Freelance Web Development

(+54 9) 1155 601 661
Skype: espinoza.cristian

Last edited by Hades; 05-30-2010 at 01:37 PM. Reason: added new typos...
 

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