Reading Response - Racing School Website

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http://donswansonracingschool.com/programs.htm
This is the Don Swanson Racing School’s website; the “professional performance driving school” is based in Southern California. I discovered it on the site: www.websitesthatsuck.com and it received the (non)-honorary award of being one of the worst websites of 2012.

So after reviewing the Racing School website for a while, I’ve decided that the problem doesn’t fall on the data displayed, or even the audience. It’s the designer who screwed up. Some issues include: many font colors; animated GIF’s; poor navigation; very long pages; and non-functional links. The designer effectively communicates what the site is about on the homepage, but fails to create a visual hierarchy of information, thereby leaving the user without any sense of direction. To begin with, the banner at the top of the homepage looks eerily similar to an advertisement – maybe, because it’s smaller than normal banners and might have been created in Microsoft Paint? The site’s navigation is located within this banner, but with the text being so small and not providing any affordance whatsoever, it’s very difficult to detect the true identity of the navigation links. Even worse, several of the links don’t work. Katz would say that “the designer is not adequately sensitive to human factors issues and may not be able to [does not] model the needs, abilities, and limitations of the audience.” Also to this point is the actual content on the homepage: there is too much of it, requiring the user to scroll and scroll. The most prominent element on the homepage is the “Sponsor Marketing Opportunities” link sandwiched in between two animated GIF’s, and accompanied below by a large photograph of a large truck. I don’t quite understand why the designer wants this information to appear at the top of the homepage. Who is the primary audience of this site – driving students or companies? The prominent link and picture make it seem like it’s the latter. Overall, I think the designer needs to break up the page into specified areas and incorporate more white space.

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Comments

It's too bad, because there

It's too bad, because there are some really nice photos on the site. You'd think that if they used the resources for a professional photographer (or at least some expensive stock images) they'd use some of their resources for a good designer too.