Friday, March 06, 2009

M364 Block 1, Unit 2, Activity 1

[Two screenshots] are taken from BBC website and the BBC CBeebies website.

How do the two home pages compare with each other, with regard to the user experience goal aesthetically pleasing and the usability goal efficiency? Place two Xs on [a] matrix that indicate their relative positions with regard to these two parameters. A high score for aesthetics means that it is very attractive and a low score means that it is less attractive. A high score for efficiency means that it is possible to complete your tasks quickly and a low score means that it is relatively slow to complete these tasks. [...] This is a purely subjective exercise, and there is no one correct answer, but you should be able to justify your answer.
On a scale of 1 to 10, and using an axis order of (Efficiency, Aesthetics), I rated the sites
  • BBC: (7, 6)
  • CBeebies: (8, 7)

I took the approach of rating each site from the perspective of its target audience, but have not attempted to factor out the five-year age of the screenshots.

The BBC home page looks purposeful but it is clear that some functionality will require scrolling. It also suffers from the lower resolution of its time, which reduces the amount of information (text, more than graphics) that can be put on the screen without looking noisy and cluttered.

The CBeebies site is garish, and supports both structured navigation and just playing around, clicking on characters - both of which characteristics are highly appropriate for the children and toddlers who watch this channel. A good half of these users are likely to be pre-literate, and will find it far easier to recognise and click on characters than to identify menu options (which they would have to do by appearance and position rather than by reading).

I rate the CBeebies web site higher on efficiency than the course book does because I regard playful exploration as one of the supported activities of the site, and I think that the high proportion of the screenshot dedicated to clickable images of progams and characters is a very efficient way for its audience to do that. 

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