Lesson 2: Developing a Website Evaluation Tool
At the completion of this exercise:
- you will have developed a website evaluation tool as a way to critically examine the quality of websites.
- you will have developed experience documenting and sharing your ideas about what makes a high-quality website.
The purpose of this assignment is to challenge, test and ultimately come to general agreement on evaluation criteria for websites. This exercise is student driven, but don't be surprised if your teacher offers some guidance along the way.
Develop a website evaluation tool. Use the knowledge and perspective gained in Lesson 1 to develop a rubric for measuring the quality of websites. Follow these steps:
- With a partner, take five minutes to share and discuss the merits and problems of two sites each from the activity in lesson 1. One site should be a clear example of good design and one an example of poor design. Discuss specific traits that could be used to evaluate sites.
- Using the Lesson 2 Response Form, you and your partner will record the URL's of the four sites (two from each person) that have positive and negative traits and submit to me: Lesson 2 Response Form (I only need one response form per pair)
- Join another pair and now. In a group of four, review your lists of traits that were generated in step one. Combine the lists to no fewer than four but no more than seven general traits that could be used to evaluate most any web site. (If you need some help and need to look back at "What the Experts Say" in Module 1 Lesson 1, that's okay!) As much as possible, make each trait discrete and clear. Combine similar traits. Eliminate redundant, broad, or invalid traits.
- Once you reach a consensus on the traits, decide on a numeric scale (1-4, 1-10, etc.) to use for judging how well a website rates for each of the traits.
- Brainstorm a list of descriptors that define major point values on the numeric scale. What does a high score, a low score look like? For example, if Ease of Navigation is one of your traits, you might list 'User is able to move around within the site with ease', 'directions for using the site are provided if necessary', 'directions are clear and easy to follow', 'the links to other pages within the site are helpful and appropriate', 'internal and external links are working properly', etc.
- Now that you have all the components for the evaluation rubric, sketch the complete evaluation rubric with a marker on a sheet of paper. Write boldly and large enough for others to read from a short distance.
- Each person in your group will now individually (on their own sheet of paper) use this evaluation rubric to evaluate the following site: www.cheese.com. ***It is important that you evaluate the site without collaboration or discussion***
- After all members have had enough time to evaluate, compare how your group members scored www.cheese.com with each major trait.
- If someone in the group rated a trait radically different from the rest, ask them to explain why. Can the group persuade the radical, or the radical persuade the group? Is a compromise necessary? Try to reach a consensus score for each trait. Does the tool need to be changed somehow to make it more useful?
- Decide on a reporter or spokesperson to explain your evaluation rubric. Have the spokesperson share with the rest of the class how well your group's evaluation tool worked when applied to cheese.com.
- As a class, we will combine the various evaluation tools into a single rubric and find what traits are most commonly used.