For the past 12 months, the Mequoda Research Team has been methodically discussing, reviewing and rating media websites. Each website is nominated by one of seven Mequoda Website Reviewers (Robert W. Bly, Terri Edmonston, Larry Kerstein, Kim Mateus, Roxanne O’Connell, Roger C. Parker, and Peter A. Schaible), who make the case that the website is very good (or very bad) at demonstrating one or more of the 14 Mequoda Website Design Guidelines. At least one other member of the reviewing team must second the nomination, then the detailed 14 step website design and usability review process begins, culminating with a peer review and publication in the Website Design for Publishers & Authors volume of the Mequoda Library.
- Fourteen of the 48 websites earned a Grade “A” website design and usability rating on the Mequoda Website Design Scorecard with a total score of 3.50 or better on the 4.0 scale.
- Atkins.com and Better Homes & Gardens (BHG.com) tied for the highest score, each earning a 3.86 Grade “A” Rating on the Mequoda Scorecard.
- The media websites under review includes both B2C and B2B websites and encompassed all seven of the Mequoda Website Archetypes.
In 2004, the Mequoda Research Team reviewed hundreds of media websites to identify what we now call the seven Mequoda Website Archetypes and to create a standard expert scale for measuring website design and usability—codified as the Mequoda Website Design Scorecard.
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Media Website Design—The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
During 2005, our intrepid research team put the Mequoda Website Design Scorecard to work by using it to perform expert reviews of 48 media websites. With a high score of 3.86 (a tie between Atkins.com and Better Homes & Gardens (BHG.com) and a low score of 1.57, the scoring system validated its ability to help expert reviewers parse good website design from bad. The scorecard and the 48 expert reviews offer those who design websites for media organizations of all sizes an integrated set of concepts and cases to build better websites that will create happier users and healthier profits.
2006 Media Website Design Awards
48 Media Websites Compared on 14 Website Design Guidelines
|Website Design Review||Score||Grade||Reviewer||URL|
|Better Homes & Gardens||3.86||A||O’Connell||Site|
|The Daily Reckoning||3.71||A||Schaible||Site|
|Fit Forever with Denise Austin||3.64||A||Bly||Site|
|The Accounts Payable Network||3.57||A||Schaible||Site|
|America’s Test Kitchen||3.50||A||Kerstein||Site|
|The Motley Fool||3.43||B||Kerstein||Site|
|Wine Spectator Online||3.43||B||Mateus||Site|
|The Book Standard||3.43||B||Schaible||Site|
|Bottom Line Secrets||3.36||B||Schaible||Site|
|Element K Journals||3.10||B||Kerstein||Site|
|Rich Dad, Poor Dad||3.00||B||Parker||Site|
|Briefings Publishing Group||2.64||B||Parker||Site|
|Executive Travel Sky Guide||2.43||C||Edmonston||Site|
|Personnel Policy Service||2.07||C||Schaible||Site|
To create the 14 Mequoda Website Design Guidelines, we’ve reviewed hundreds of media websites and interviewed dozens of website authors, publishers and designers. We’ve conducted expert usability reviews and actual user tests to determine what we believe to be the top 14 website design best practices for the seven Mequoda Website Archetypes.
While these 14 guidelines are by no means the complete list of website design practices, they are essential to sound, effective website design. We’re sure that implementation of these practices will result in happier, more satisfied, users.
- Mequoda Website Design Guideline #1: Strategic Intent
- Mequoda Website Design Guideline #2: Content Webification
- Mequoda Website Design Guideline #3: Relationship Building
- Mequoda Website Design Guideline #4: Community Building
- Mequoda Website Design Guideline #5: Persistent Navigation
- Mequoda Website Design Guideline #6: Task Depth
- Mequoda Website Design Guideline #7: Affordance
- Mequoda Website Design Guideline #8: Labeling and Language
- Mequoda Website Design Guideline #9: Readability and Content Density
- Mequoda Website Design Guideline #10: Content Organization
- Mequoda Website Design Guideline #11: Content Freshness
- Mequoda Website Design Guideline #12: Load Time
- Mequoda Website Design Guideline #13: Aesthetics
- Mequoda Website Design Guideline #14: Brand Preference