Monday, May 21, 2007

A Home Page Rubric

An example rubric for evaluating university home pages.

OK, I admit, I work in an environment where I'm surrounded by instructional designers. I live with a teacher. And I have a Master's degree in Instructional Technology.

And I hate the word "rubric". But teachers and instructional designers love rubrics. They have rubrics for everything. They even have rubrics for evaluating breakfast:

EggsSoft and moist without being runny. Not over or under cooked. May be lacking slightly in flavor. Somewhat dry or runny.Completely dried out or barely cooked. No flavor at all.
BaconNice and crispy, but not burnt. Incredible flavor. Good flavor, not overcooked, but perhaps slightly soft. Somewhat dry and overcooked or too soft and chewy. Burnt or nearly raw. Poor flavor.
ToastA nice goldern brown, with a generous layer of melted butter. Slightly over- or under-cooked. Toast too dark or too light. Too little butter. Burnt to a crisp.

Truth to be told, rubrics are very useful, and I'm working on a rubric that I use to informally evaluate university home pages. It uses the following criteria (in no particular order).

StandardsComplies with web standards (CSS layout, XHTML, etc.) Mostly complies with standards (may have some validation errors)

Does not comply with standards (table-based layouts, etc.)

AccessiblityPage is designed for accessibility and includes accessibility shortcuts like accesskey and skip to content linksPage meets basic accessibility standards but does not display awareness of real accessibility Page does not meet basic accessibility requirements
DesignDesign is professional and clean and current-looking (Fresno State)Design is professional, but looks dated or static (San Francisco State)Page does not look professionally designed (Duke University)
OrganizationPage is organized into clear areas, excellent use of white space, callouts, sidebars, etc. to delineate different areas of the page (Virginia Tech)Page is somewhat well organized. May be somewhat clutteredor empty-looking. Page is poorly organized, and probably extremely cluttered. May have multiple poorly delineated navigation areas. Page is muddled and 'organized' without clear rhyme or reason.
Identity & BrandingPage communicates a clear and consistent identity and branding of the institution that carries through to other pages. Identity and branding are present, but may not be consistent through the site or even top level pages. Branding and identity are not clear or not present on the site. There is little to distinguish the institution from others.
Message and PurposePage communicates a clear focus of message and purpose. Content and links relate clearly and directly to that focus. Extraneaous content that does not fit within the purpose of the page (often motivated by politics) is not present. Page communicates some focus of purpose and message but may contain extraneous or politically motivated content. Page is a hodge-podge of content with no clear purpose or message. User comes away not knowing what the site is trying to say or who it is directed to.

Please feel free to write be with your ideas or comments. I think there are probably a few things that could be added to this rubric, or at least some refinements. I'd like your input.


Anonymous said...

Have you developed your rubric further or applied it to a large sample of pages yet?

Anonymous said...

Not to repeat an earlier post but I conduct research on higher education marketing and am interesting in testing your rubric.

Have you developed it further since this original post?

I'm curious to see if you have adjusted some of the categories to make them more mutually exclusive.

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