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I'm taking a class on Writing and Editing for the Web, and one of the assignments involves discussing two Web sites I really like and why, as well as two I really dislike and why. Seems to me this might be interesting to folks, so I'm posting my responses below:


*Google, natch: in addition to its awesome usefulness, I appreciate the clarity and simplicity of the design—just the search box, with News, Maps, etc options in the upper left corner

Amazon: This site has been getting better as the product offerings have widened. Useful features like Search Inside the Book have been dropped in without disrupting the basic design. I appreciate the chance to see all the product categories at top of the home screen, as well as the listing of all categories and subcategories on the left of the home screen. It’s useful to have the basic search option either across all categories or in one particular category. And as a publishing professional I appreciate the fact that you can search for books by ISBN in the Advanced Search option.
*Yahoo: Despite a recent redesign, this site is extremely busy visually. The list of links on left of screen is in a small, unattractive font with icon for each (the icons add to the cluttered look of the list). The layout doesn't seem logical (entertainment box over news box over Marketplace box).
*MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority, NYC): This site contains extremely useful information, but it makes you dig for it. I usually go to this site to find out about bus and subway service changes. It takes a few clicks from the home screen to get this information. The fact that there are separate links for “Weekly subway advisories” and “Weekend summary” is confusing. On the home screen itself, useful features like the Trip Planner are difficult to find because they’re buried under links to things like the agency’s budget and the “Tunnel-Boring Machine Update.”


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January 2009

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