- author: Coding in Public
Analyzing Websites for Design and Development Improvements
In the process of redesigning my blog, I have come across various features that allow users to customize their experience. These features include options to show or hide color, round the UI, play audio, change button colors, and even customize the background. Additionally, users can choose to hide certain sections of the blog if they prefer not to see them. As I continue working on these enhancements, I have realized that there are many small use cases that can easily be overlooked.
To gain a broader perspective and identify potential areas for improvement, I have decided to conduct a survey and encourage people to send in their websites. This survey serves two purposes: first, to learn from others and gain insights into aspects I may not have considered, and second, to provide constructive criticism. Although many participants may possess superior web development skills than I do, the intention is not to criticize their work, but rather to collaboratively examine and enhance their sites.
The focus of this review will primarily revolve around three key areas: accessibility, HTML details, basic UX, and basic SEO strategies. By assessing these aspects, we can identify opportunities to improve the user experience, create accessible content, and optimize websites for search engines.
To participate in the review of my blog, you can find the current version by following the link provided in the description. If you notice any areas that require modification or have suggestions, feel free to contact me via email or leave a comment on the video. I will update the link with the final version of my blog, which will eventually be available at chrispennington.blog.
Now, let's dive into the website reviews. In this video, we will examine around seven or eight websites, spending roughly a minute or two on each. The goal is to identify key areas for improvement based on my experiences in blog redesign and web development. It is important to note that the purpose of this review is not to criticize but to engage in a constructive discussion about each site. Moreover, we must keep in mind that even experienced developers can overlook certain details.
Starting with the first website, I immediately noticed the appealing color scheme and the presence of interactive elements. However, I would suggest avoiding animation unless there is a clickable feature associated with it. It can be confusing for users to encounter animations that do not serve a functional purpose. Furthermore, it seems that certain elements, like the cards, are perceived as clickable links by users due to their visual design. This can create a misleading user experience, and it is important to address such UX issues.
In terms of HTML structure, the site lacks an H1 heading, which is essential for conveying the purpose of a page and facilitating accessibility and search engine indexing. Proper usage of heading tags (H1, H2, H3) allows for clear organization and serves as a table of contents for both users and search engines. Additionally, some div elements should be replaced with more semantically appropriate tags, such as sections or articles.
To ensure accessibility, it is recommended to enable the full accessibility tree using tools like the Accessibility Inspector in browsers or extensions like VisBug. Through these tools, we can easily identify elements that require attention. For instance, it is crucial to provide clear labels or descriptions for sections so that they are not interpreted as mere divs by accessibility tools and screen readers. Utilizing ARIA attributes like ARIA labeled by or ARIA label can help convey the purpose of each section effectively.
Despite these suggestions for improvement, it is important to acknowledge the positive aspects of this website, such as its appealing color scheme and engaging design. It is evident that the developer possesses a strong sense of design and attention to detail.
Moving on to the next website, belonging to Adam Johnson, I appreciate the unique yellow theme and the cohesive design elements that reflect the logo. The use of diagonal patterns adds an interesting touch. However, the contrast between the blue text and the yellow background may pose readability issues. Upon inspecting the site's accessibility, it was reassuring to see that it was properly designed, even highlighting the keyboard focus.
An extension called VisBug was employed to gain further insights into the accessibility aspects. Such tools facilitate spotting potential issues with color contrast, among other accessibility considerations. I also noticed the inclusion of a 'skip to main content' button, which is a helpful feature for users who rely on assistive technologies. This button allows users to bypass the navigation and directly access the main content of the site.
Examining the accessibility tree, I noticed the correct utilization of headings, with the main region categorized as 'code'. Additionally, the developer employed the 'already labeled by' technique with appropriate IDs to assign regions to specific sections. This approach aids in providing a better understanding of the website structure for individuals using screen readers.
Overall, Adam's website showcases strong design skills along with careful attention to accessibility details. The use of custom focus states and inclusion of helpful features reflects a commitment to delivering an optimal user experience.
In the upcoming sections, we will continue to explore and analyze more websites, aiming to uncover valuable insights and opportunities for improvement. By examining aspects related to accessibility, HTML structure, UX, and SEO, we can contribute to enhancing the overall quality of the web.
Stay tuned for the next website review, where we will provide further recommendations and highlight noteworthy elements.
Additional Information: It is essential for web developers to periodically review and evaluate their websites for various aspects such as accessibility, HTML structure, user experience, and SEO. Conducting surveys and seeking feedback from users can provide valuable insights, highlighting areas that might have been overlooked. Engaging in discussions and collaborating with other developers can enrich one's understanding of best practices and lead to continuous improvement. By dedicating efforts towards enhancing the web, we contribute to a more inclusive and user-friendly online environment.
Evaluating Website Designs
In this article, we will be evaluating various website designs to provide constructive feedback and insights. The focus will be on examining how different elements and techniques are implemented, as well as providing suggestions for improvement.
Evaluating Adam's Website
Adam's website demonstrates an interesting approach to defining regions using code. It appears that he utilizes the "already labeled by" technique to create IDs for sections within the code. This method helps in declaring and applying regions to specific sections effectively. However, it is worth noting that other options, such as using ARIA labels, are also mentioned in the ARIA documentation.
Another insightful element found on Adam's website is the use of the "figure" HTML tag with the "figcaption" tag. This approach is appropriate for displaying images or visual content accompanied by relevant captions. Additionally, the incorporation of the "blockquote" tag demonstrates a proper implementation for indicating quoted content.
The headings used on Adam's website adhere to best practices. The presence of one "H1" tag per page is ideal, and the presence of multiple "H2" tags within their respective sections provides proper hierarchy and organization. It is worth commending Adam on his attention to detail in this aspect.
Evaluating James's Website
Upon reviewing James's website, it is evident that he has set goals for his future endeavors, showcasing a clear vision and aspirations. The simplicity of the overall design is visually appealing and conveys his content effectively.
One suggestion for James's website would be to consider implementing a filtering feature. This would allow site visitors to easily navigate specific categories, such as development-related posts, for a more personalized browsing experience.
Taking a closer look at the structure of James's website, it is commendable that each section is appropriately designated as an article. However, it is important to ensure consistent usage of heading tags. For instance, the presence of an "H5" tag might raise concerns as it is not commonly used within standard content hierarchy. Assigning appropriate header tags, such as "H2" or "H3", could result in improved organization and readability.
In terms of SEO, James has taken some key steps by including relevant meta tags, such as the title, description, canonical URL, and Open Graph images. However, to further enhance the search engine optimization, it is advisable to implement JSON-LD markup. This structured data is valuable for search engine crawlers, providing more context and information about the website's content.
Evaluating Dante's Website
Dante's website showcases a captivating design with various animations. However, it is essential to provide accessibility options for users who may prefer reduced motion on websites. Currently, the website lacks the feature to toggle off animations for users who may find them overwhelming.
Another design consideration is the visibility of the top banner section. It is suggested to incorporate a faded gradient or an appropriate mix blend mode to ensure better contrast with the background and improve legibility. This way, users can easily perceive the content even when scrolling over other sections.
Dante's creative use of custom cursors is intriguing. While it may not appeal to everyone, it does enhance the website's distinctiveness. However, it is crucial to provide clear indications or tooltips as to what actions these custom cursors perform, ensuring a seamless user experience.
Reflecting on the Evaluations
Through the evaluation process, we have examined various elements of these websites, highlighting both successful implementations and areas for improvement. It is crucial to consider factors such as accessibility, proper heading hierarchy, and SEO practices for an enhanced user experience. By focusing on these details, website owners can create compelling and user-friendly designs.
Improving User Experience and Accessibility on Your Website
When designing and developing a website, it's crucial to consider the user experience and accessibility factors. These aspects can greatly impact how users interact with your site and determine whether they stay engaged or leave frustrated. In this article, we will discuss some key areas that need attention to enhance the user experience and ensure accessibility.
1. Motion Control
Motion can add interest and dynamism to your website, but it's essential to provide users with options to control or reduce it. Excessive motion can be overwhelming for some users, leading to discomfort or distraction. Consider including a toggle or settings that allow users to disable or reduce motion effects if they prefer a calmer browsing experience.
2. Keyboard Navigation
Keyboard navigation is crucial for users who rely on it due to disabilities or personal preferences. It's important to ensure that all interactive elements, such as buttons and links, are properly focused and highlighted when users navigate using the keyboard. Lack of focus indication can lead to confusion and make it challenging for users to navigate effectively. Additionally, make sure that focus styles or outlines are distinguishable to ensure visibility for all users.
3. Performance Optimization
Loading speed and performance are vital factors in retaining users' interest and engagement. Pay attention to the size and format of your image assets, as larger files can significantly impact loading times. Consider using modern image formats, such as AVIF or WebP, to optimize image delivery based on the user's device capabilities. Additionally, using a content delivery network (CDN) or image optimization service like Cloudinary can help improve performance by delivering optimized images based on the user's location and device.
4. Animation Usage
Animations can be visually appealing and draw attention to specific areas of your website. However, too much animation can be overwhelming and distracting. Consider limiting animations to essential interactions or significant events, rather than applying them excessively throughout the entire site. Additionally, ensure that animations don't replay unnecessarily, as this can lead to user frustration and detract from the overall experience.
5. Mobile Responsiveness
With the increasing use of mobile devices, it's crucial to ensure that your website is responsive and optimized for various screen sizes. Test your site on different mobile devices to ensure that all elements are properly aligned and accessible. Pay attention to loading times, as slower performance on mobile devices can create a perception of a sluggish site even if it's not the case.
6. SEO and Metadata
To improve your site's visibility and search engine rankings, consider optimizing your metadata. Including relevant meta tags, such as meta descriptions and title tags, can improve search engine results and attract more visitors to your site. By providing clear and concise information about your content, you increase the chances of users clicking through to your site.
Website Analysis and Accessibility Recommendations
In this section, we will examine several websites and provide an analysis of their design and accessibility. We will also offer recommendations to improve their overall user experience. Let's dive into the details:
Website 1: Basic Portfolio
This portfolio website showcases a clean and clear design. It effectively communicates the owner's identity and profession. However, there are a few aspects that can be improved:
Lack of important meta tags, specifically broom meta tags.
- Recommendation: Implement broom meta tags to enhance search engine optimization.
Insufficient use of sections in the accessibility tree.
- Recommendation: Group the individual links under relevant sections to improve navigation and organization.
Assuming it is a single-page app, proper routing mechanisms like react router should be implemented.
- Recommendation: Utilize a routing mechanism to enhance user experience on a single-page app.
Attention should be paid to the length and styling of mobile nav switches.
- Recommendation: Adjust the length and style of mobile nav switches for better usability.
Website 2: Clean and Clear Portfolio
Although this portfolio is fairly basic, it effectively conveys important information about the owner. Some areas for improvement include:
Default tab styling used for navigation.
- Recommendation: Consider custom styling for navigation tabs to enhance visual appeal.
Lack of grouping for random links in the accessibility tree.
- Recommendation: Organize the random links into relevant groups for better accessibility.
Consider using secondary nav for links at the bottom of the page.
- Recommendation: Designate a secondary navigation area for the links at the bottom of the page.
Website 3: Creative and Customized Portfolio
This portfolio stands out for its creativity and custom animations. While it showcases the potential for unique design elements, there are some accessibility concerns:
Absence of proper heading hierarchy (H1, H2, H3).
- Recommendation: Assign appropriate heading levels for better screen reader and search engine understanding.
Lack of accessibility considerations for custom UI elements.
- Recommendation: Pay attention to accessibility for custom UI elements to ensure a inclusive user experience.
Usage of stock photos.
- Recommendation: When using stock photos, ensure they are properly labeled for accessibility.
A well-designed and accessible website can greatly enhance the user experience and keep visitors engaged. by taking into account factors such as motion control, keyboard navigation, performance optimization, animation usage, mobile responsiveness, and metadata optimization, you can create a website that is user-friendly, inclusive, and optimized for success.
Analyzing these websites provides valuable insights into design and accessibility considerations. By implementing the recommended changes, website owners can improve their overall user experience. Remember, these enhancements are crucial, especially for those who rely on assistive technologies. So, let's strive to create inclusive and user-friendly websites for all. Happy coding!