Skunkworks part 1
Since we have to choose a web page we frequently consult I have decided to choose http://www.softonic.com/. I visit this web site almost every week. The only problem, at least for this class, is that this web page is in Spanish. The main content of this web page is software. The main page is really easy to navigate and it gives you an idea about the content of the web. What I like from this web page is that you don't have windows opening all the time with advertising about stupid prizes and cell phones. The web site is well divided in various sections.
You can navigate depending on you Operative System: Windows, Mac, Linux, Palm, etc. or you can navigate by contents. You have a table that shows in groups all the different sections or categories they have. You also have the option of going to a small list that shows the latest programs or the newest ones. You have, of course, the option of "search", which is really useful in that kind of webs. I like also the section of the "today's program" where they present a new program, or game or whatever everyday. Basically this web page is really easy to navigate and you always have the option of choosing the different sections from any section you are.
They also provide a short but precise and useful description of every program or game you are about to download as well as the official web page of that program/game. The only thing I don't like is that you have to scroll all the way down in the main page to see the complete list of newest programs, and sometimes the one you are looking for is just the last of the list.
The other web page I have chosen is one called http://www.poolack.com/. I like all the stuff related with cars, motorbikes and tuning and in this web page you can purchase some really cool stuff such as T-shirts. The problem is that the web is really bad designed when having to navigate. The first point is that it is loading all the time until you realize that what you have to do is put your mouse on the small gray button to go to the main page. Once you get there you have a Flash web. If you look down you can see the menu in different languages but they have chosen colors really hard to distinguish, black and dark gray. When you get your language you have more flash but this time you have the option to choose between some option at the bottom of the page. You have cars, motos, mountain bike, etc. and when you open them you have again to figure out that it works with your mouse on the small car or the names to open the next step. Once you are in the page with the T-shirts you are quite tired of the web page. Is it then when you decide the model you want, so you look for the link "purchase" but for your surprise this link is moving around all the time and exploding at the end, quite annoying. And when you get it, it takes like 5 minutes to load the form and it says that is out of work, and it has said that for more than three months, I promise!. So, you decide to complain about that and you look for "contact", which is also moving and exploding and when you click on it takes you nowhere.
The most annoying section of this web page is the one called "articles". In this section you can see an example of the way the clothes look like, but for your surprise this small window is controlled by your mouse. It means that when you move it inside the window to the left, the articles move fast to the left. When you go to the middle they move slow an when you try to get to the small size and price button... well, you have given up!!. It is a pity because the articles they have are really, really cool but the way they show them is really bad organized. This is an example of how Flash can be not useful but annoying.
Skunkworks part 2
This time we have to choose three web pages of similar content. I have chosen three search engines: Metacrawler.com (commendable), Yahoo.com (well) and Google.com (ugly). I would like to start with Google. I think that this search engine is just ugly, I mean, the web has nothing but the search option and in which section you want to make the search. I know that the main goal of a search engine is just help you to search but sometimes it is a really good starting point to look for something without using the search because the web itself provides a lot of information or it has plenty of links. The navigation is the easiest thing in the world. It is impossible that you don't know what do you have to do or where do you have to write, and that is a point. The thing that attracted me from this web page is its simplicity, it is a plain search engine, different from the rest of search engines we are used to see. One point is the option of the advanced search. I have never been able to figure out how does it work because all the time that I have used them they give me even less resluts than they did with the common search. Maybe I don't know how to use them properly, I don't know. I don't know what to say about the audience of this search engine. Since is has so little information it could be for everyone as it colud be for noone.
The next search engine I would like to talk about is Yahoo.com. in one word, this search engine is too BLUE for me. It has so many links in the main page and the difference between them is not quite clear. If there are different leves inside the main page I think the links should be different, with color or maybe with the font size. I think one way to differenciate the levels would be to create some tables with different themes, with different tones of the same color if they are stilll related and with a different color if they hav nothing to do with each other. Another important thing that I see is that the space you have for the search is not clear when you first get to that page. In my opinion is too small, or maybe it should be higlighted in some way, maybe with more space between the links above and below. I also think that the advanced search does not help too much because it is not really different from the common searh and it only provides some more options. The navigation is not that difficult if you know the web but it might be kind of hard for a new user. It is for me, at least.
Ther last one is Metacrawler.com. I think this search is one of the best I have tried. It is really well organized. You can see quite easily the different levels inside the web site. The way in which it is divided is quite easy. You have the own levels or sections of the search engine in orange color, so it is quite different from the rest of the links. Another important thing is that the search area has been seapratedfrom the rest so you don't have any problem and you even have the logo of the web site netx to it. In additon, it provides another search engine, which is a search in the Yellow pages that allows you to find a business in any city. Something I don;t like is the e-mail. The icon they have for cheking e-mail is too small, or maybe is not that it is too small but the place where it is located. This search engine is well designed, easy to navigate, not full of links with the same color and size, well organized and the information is differenciated in their different levels of relevance. I think anyone could use this search engine without having to figure out how it works before. Actually this is the first searh engine I used and I thought it was really simple designed but complete at the same time.
Sergio Ligero Gonzalez