[astcq-discuss] Comments on ASTC(Q) website

  • From: Jean Hollis Weber <jean@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: astcq-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx, astcq@xxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 19 Apr 2003 17:14:28 +1000

I am sending these comments to the list, not just to the webmaster, in case 
anyone wants to add something, argue with me, or agree.

First I'll say the site looks generally good, at least in a full screen 
browser on a high-res monitor, and I'm happy to see that the user can 
easily make the font size larger or smaller (important for my eyes). 
However, I've spotted various usability problem and some editorial errors.

Editorial errors

All pages. The correct name of this organisation is "Australian Society for 
Technical communication" NOT "Australian Society of Technical 
Communicators", so that it agrees with the names of the groups in NSW and 
VIC, and the US body. The banner at the top is wrong and must be corrected.

Home page. The first line says "proposed" website, but it's live, not 
proposed, so that needs to go.

What's on. Font size inconsistencies on this page. AODC needs to be 
removed, as it's past.

Links. The name of both ASTC organisations is actually "Australian Society 
for Technical Communication" NOT "Australian Society of Technical 
Communicators". Likewise "Society of Technical Communicators" should be 
"Society for Technical Communication". "Australian Society Indexers" should 
be "Australian Society of Indexers". "Technical Editors Eyrie" should be 
"Technical Editors' Eyrie". Need to change link for austechwriter to the 
new location, http://www.freelist.org/cgi-bin/list?list_id=austechwriter

Freelancers. I think this page should be reorganised, at least until/unless 
we have dozens of places/people listed. I suggest that at this point we 
have one entry for each freelancer, with a list of specialty areas 
underneath their entry. That would also allow people to specify additional 
specialty areas that aren't part of the subheading list.
Change name of ASTC to "Australian Society for Technical Communication" in 
the text.

Usability problems

1. Width and/or coding of the pages does not allow resizing for smaller 
browser window size, so at some (relatively large) point, horizontal 
scrolling becomes necessary. I suspect the pages will probably require 
horizontal scrolling if the monitor is set to 800x600 or smaller and the 
vertical scrollbar is visible, but I haven't yet tested this.

2. More importantly, printing a page in portrait orientation, with a 
reasonable margin set, causes some of the text to be cut off on the 
right-hand side -- extremely annoying! Meg had brought a printout of the 
website to AODC, and all the pages were chopped off on the right.

3. In my opinion, all pages should have contact information in the footer; 
people should not have to click the Contacts link to get this info. In 
particular, a contact email address for the webmaster should be at the 
bottom of the page, and I think it's a good idea to have a "last updated" 
date there too.

4. We need to get a collection of meta tags into the code for at least the 
first page of the site, to assist in being found and indexed by those 
search engines that look at meta tags. At least metas for description and 

Well, enough from me today.

Regards, Jean
Jean Hollis Weber
The Technical Editors' Eyrie  http://www.jeanweber.com/

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