It goes without saying that there are a multitude of Web sites on the Internet. What may be a
little less obvious to the untrained eye is the preponderance of poorly designed, inefficient, or
nonfunctional Web sites. This white paper will briefly discuss general criteria for evaluation of a
Web site by focusing on two Internet search engines, Google (www.google.com) Yahoo!
(www.yahoo.com),mamma (mamma.com) and eric digest as illustrative case studies.
The following is a brief list of some of the more common components of effective Web site
design and user interface:
1) Content (the most important aspect of the Web site)
2)Usability (how easy is the interface to use)
3)Simplicity (easy for the user)
4)Consistency (ensure all pages are similar)
Four Web sites that offer insight into how a site should be developed are Yahoo!
Google, mamma and eric digest. Each of these sites serves similar functions and share many comparable
characteristics. However, despite these similarities, Google is a better example of a welldesigned
and useful Web site for a multitude of reasons, which shall be discussed in detail
The most obvious difference between these two Web sites is the interface, layout, and design
of the pages. Google offers a very clean and simplistic interface, whereas Yahoo!’s is busy and
cluttered. eric digest is too simplistic while mamma.com just like yahoo but its not colourfu.l Simplicity is one of the best estimators of whether a Web site is aesthetically
pleasing, and a simple design should always be used to avoid complexity and confusion to the
user. When a user is not bombarded with excessive text and images, they will feel more at
ease and comfortable while using your Web site. Ultimately, a simplified interface means that
the Web site will be accessible to all types of people with different skill levels, thus increasing
the potential for a significant user return.
Another key aspect of design and usability is defining or understanding the purpose of the Web
site. Due to the simplistic nature of the Google and mamma Web site, it is quickly apparent to the user that
the purpose of the site is for searching. The user is immediately drawn to the center of the
screen where information about the Web site is readily available. In stark contrast, Yahoo!’s and eric digest
home page is a jumbled mess. It can be unclear to the user what the main purpose of the
Yahoo! main site is. In addition to a search bar at the top of the site, there are also multiple
boxes of information and advertisements, as well as a multitude of links to other Yahoo!-related
sites such as email and music. This, in effect, means more information has to be passed over
the Internet, resulting in slower response times for the site. A key indicator of a useful Web
site is one that is not only easy to use, but also clearly states the purpose of the site, a type of
digital affordance for the Web site.
Besides that,consistency is a significant element of Web site design. Although both Yahoo! and Google offer
many of the same features (email, news, and search), the internal pages of each respective
Web site are drastically different. Google,mamma and eric digest continues with its theme of clean interface throughout
every one of its Web pages. This has the effect of uniformity and consistency. Yahoo!, on the
other hand, has drastically different pages in its Web site. For example, Yahoo! Autos looks
completely different than Yahoo! Music or Yahoo! News. Each channel maintains a link to the
main Web site, but ultimately, there is little consistency within the Yahoo! Web site.
the conclusion is Designing an effective Web site can be a daunting task. However, if one follows the tenants
and principles outlined here, a successful Web site can be developed. By comparing four similar
sites (Google, Yahoo!,eric digest and mamma), valuable insight is gained into effective Web site design. Most
importantly, provide valuable content, utilize a clean interface and layout, and keep the user in