Friday, 5 October 2007

Analysing Web Design - Four Four Two

After attempting to create a basic web page using Dreamweaver in class, it made sense to go off and look at how some of the professionals do it. The Four Four Two website is the online accompaniment to the successful football magazine of the same name. The site attempts to add some of it's print content from the month latest issue onto the site, whilst at the same time keeps it up-to-date with breaking football news and other fresh content.

The site design itself is very simple. In terms of information architecture, the design takes the form of the standard 'inverted L' shape. The header at the top of the page contains the title of the site, whilst along the left hand-side of the 'L' is a menu of links. These all link to various sections of the website, including interviews, columns, reviews, your shout, and gallery. Along the right hand-side of the page, are numerous adverts, which is again fairly standard for website design.

In the middle, main content section, the page leads with the '5 things you need to know today', again adding to the immediacy the site offers when compared to it's sister magazine. Below this are again links to different features and sections on the site, however the inclusion of graphics makes it more visually pleasing, and serves as further enticement for the reader to click the link.

In terms of interactivity, the site is fairly simple. There is a 'vote' that readers can vote on and see the results, whilst clicking on the news section 'planet football' creates a scrolling news bar at the top of the screen. There is also a link in the menu bar, to a football quiz, which trust me can keep an avid football fan happy for hours. One neat touch, is the inclusion of a small 'V player', at the top right of the main page, that allows you to watch highlights from the latest games, courtesy of Virgin Media. Who needs Match of the Day?

In terms of navigaton, I think the sites design is fairly successful. The menu bar on the left serves as the main navigation bar, allowing a user to go from section to section, and always have the ability to click back to 'home' if they get lost. the layout is quite small, in terms of the fact there is only a small scroll when looking at the entire website. To aid this, some features are given less space, but included is a smaller scroll bar, which allows the user to scroll down the feature, instead of scrolling down the actual website. This allows for more content to be included in a smaller space, which I feel works well online.

The website as a whole is very aesthetically pleasing, keeping a simple colour scheme of white, red and black, which stays true to the 'Four Four Two' colours, thus adding to the brand identity. The use of pictures is subtle, and often the same pictures appear in the magazine. This and the clever use of white space, allows the site to feel less cluttered than other sites I have visited, and adds to the ease of reading.

With this site, I feel Four Four Two have the perfect accompaniment to their magazine, which by the looks of things is their main focus. The site is very low maintenance, and there isn't a great deal of content that will keep you coming back for the entire month. Yet, I don't feel with this site they were trying to achieve a online football behemoth, such as Football 365. Instead, it serves as either a preview of what you can expect to find in the magazine, a refresher, for those who have missed certain features in the current issue of the magazine, or a 'quick-fix' for those who want to read a little more about football whilst at work, or in their lunch break. Take nothing away from the design. It may look simple, but its extremely usable, and that is something all novice web-designers, like myself, should take into account.

1 comment:

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