The United States House of Representatives’ website was chosen to explore web analysis using an actual website. This website serves to introduce the House of Representatives to the reader. Its purpose is to inform and educate the reader about the United States House of Representatives, its genesis, functions, those who constitutes it and basically all that pertains to this group of people. This website was chosen for this analysis because of its pivotal role it plays as a website in civil education. It was also chosen for its detail and all the components of a website that its designers have included in it.
Critical Review of Website Information
The analysis of a good website always involves the examination of key website components that are necessary and that allow for optimal functionality of that website (Nuk and Olajarnik 12-17). The U.S. House of Representatives as a group is more or less owned by the people of the United States. This group constitutes United States Congress, which is elected on a two year term period to the House of Representatives to represent a congressional district (Russ, Vercals and Levine 9-10). In this light the group’s activities are a concern of the whole nations and concerns specific groups in more specific ways than others.
Among important elements of a good website embraced by this website is the ease of accessibility. The website is very easily accessible. It comes up quickly, when searched on the popular search engines available. Upon opening, the site loads quickly, with both text and images displaying quickly. The full displayed graphics of the site reveal the national colours. These colours immediately communicate to the individual that the site’s content has to do with the United States government and creates an association of the displayed content with governance issues. The website also contains the House of Representatives’ national logo displayed. This illustration helps to create in the mind of the viewer an association of the site with national concerns.
The use of excessive text in prose is limited and instead, the use of menus is employed in the site as such the text is easy to read, without excessive descriptions. The overall effect of the site is both pleasing to the eye; professionals create a feeling of easy access to the needed information. The use of the menus on the website makes the site convenient to use by relieving the home page of potential clutter and congestion on its face. The menus also make it easy to locate the information. Each menu tab leads to specific information and this greatly aids the ease of access to the specific information.
The site contains specific portals for its different users. There is a portal for visitors, educators and students, for those seeking to do business, the media, and those seeking employment. The “Students and Educators’ tab, for example ,leads to information about the House of Representatives, specific to the learning and teaching needs of these two groups respectively. It provides information about school tours to the capital, available scholarships and internships for interested students. It also provides information about how students may get involved in the affairs of the house. For the media, the site provides a portal through which they may contact the house and get information needed or plan events that may be of interest to the media.
A good website should have content that is easy to read and pleasant to view (Nuk and Olajarnik 5). Both these aspects are well evident in the site. The content is clear and text is legible. The images and graphics, which are used are moderate and serve to create a professional look. The website should be able to communicate its message with ease to all who need it. It is worth noting that, an effective website can engage new and existing stakeholders to increase organizational credibility. It is the work of a website to show that an organization is credible, because it acts as the public face of that organization (Russ, Verclas and Levine 7-10).
A good website is expected to meet the first and most important function of a website, which is to avail information to those who want it. This website does this very efficiently by providing search portals through which website users may be able to find their particular representatives to the house. The site gives detailed explanations about the activities of the house as well as the leadership under which those activities take place. The opportunity for visitors to contact the House of Representatives should be availed. This site provides the visitors with the opportunity to contact the House of Representatives by clearly availing contact information at the bottom of the main page. The site also keeps its content fresh as it provides information of the schedule of the house, the matters discussed and sometimes even provides a live feed on ongoing proceedings of the house in real time. This is made possible by the fact that the site has incorporated visual display tools.
The site is very user–supportive. It extends its services to all users, even those who may be impaired. It contains ‘browse-aloud’ features where, for example, blind users may be able to listen to the content of the site. The site also offers various other tools that help the user to access its content. The House of Representatives` site is also very browser-compatible and its features are visible with different browsers. This ensures that it achieves maximum reach. The site also allows its users to view it for as long as they want as it does not have any session or time lapses.
Criticism of the Site Layout
Although relatively pleasing to the eye, the site could be more attractive. The limited use of images and colours gives the site a disposition that is much too serious and this may not appeal to all its users. The use of tabulated displays to give information about different congressional districts and their representatives to the house gives the home page a very numerical feel, and that may seem tedious for some users to go through. Although the site contains substantive and accurate information about its activities as well as the members of the house, there appears to be a bias towards giving of solely positive information about its members. This, however, is not entirely unexpected in a website dealing with politicians. Information about senators accessed through the ‘representatives’ tab is mainly positive, with superfluous displays of achievements presented in images, text as well as tabular and graphical formats. The site would also do well to remove necessary requirements for certain ‘additional Plug-ins’, often requested to view certain content within the site. Information about some representatives may not be accessed.
Although successful in handling, almost every single thing that concerns the House of Representatives, the site is not as interactive as many others. It would do better by having readily interactive portals, where users may talk to or directly chat with their representatives. The site, although very functional and impressive, could be improved by reducing the numerical information on its home page and instead use more images. It also seems to lack animation. Everything seems too static and motion-less. As such, it would benefit from a slide show of pictures of the physical house or its members. This may liven it up and give it a less sombre disposition.
The site has exposed to me the importance of each aspect of creating a good website and the need to balance the use of these features on the site. The short comings of the site have made clear the impact of such short comings to a site. The information from the site has instilled in me a deeper appreciation for every little detail in a website. What may appear to be a small concern may create a big difference in a site and alter how users perceive it, and the group/organisation or interests for which it was set up. The site has also informed me about numerous aspects of the House of Representatives and I would fully recommend it to other users.