Duck Digital

RMIT Web Review - Assessment 1998-09-02

RMIT Home http://www.rmit.edu.au/

This screen has been assessed according to a working set of criteria:

Heuristic overview

As the home screen of a large site, this screen has many competing demands and limitations. It must download fast but at the same time be all things to all people. In its current form, it serves as navigational touchstone because it is the primary link to the University from the thousands of screens carrying an embedded link from the RMIT logo. From this perspective it can be seen as a front door to the University. A clearer label than the words `RMIT University Front Page' found in the title bar should be considered.

The front door is also the point from which a visitor makes primary decisions about filtering information in order to find things. For this reason, the links show the range of information available and indicate the extent to which the University is prepared to provide easy access to its parts. With such a large organisation, screen real estate is obviously at a premium. Have these links been provide because they are the most frequently used or requested? Overall, this screen takes a minimalist approach by attempting to match its lack of comprehensive information by providing an effective search engine. The `Click and Pick QuickNav' is combined with an unexplained `Go' button which confused some testers.

The screen integrity was admirable. The download time of 8.82 seconds for 26.35K was in an acceptable range (see below). However, there is an accessibility problem due to the small size of the font used. This screen has some control problems due to a java option which crashed the test computer when it was running Netscape 3.0 (arguably the most common version in use) as well as Netscape 4.0. At the time of testing, a graphic link to the Teaching & Learning Strategy was featured on the site. This too had a serious java encoding error which crashed our test computer when running Netscape 3.0.

Download Time

The down load time for this screen was within the recommended range.

URL
Size
Time (seconds)
http://www.rmit.edu.au/ 5.48 K 1.52
http://www.rmit.edu.au/images/rmit-tl.gif 1.78 K 0.50
t-and-l-image.jpg 19.09 K 5.30
Total
26.35 K
7.32
HTTP Request Delays

1.50
Total + Delays

8.82

Accessibility

Small size of the Arial font used to display many of the options on this screen make it difficult to read. This must be consideed an accessibility problem because this screen acts as a primary filter to the entire site. It offers access to:

[Press each link for screen assessment]

  1. about
  2. admissions (Office for Prospective Students)
  3. courses
  4. index & search
  5. student services
  6. what's on @RMIT
  7. alumni (this Link was inactive when tested 1/9/98)
  8. contact
  9. java option
  10. disclaimer

  11. Teaching & Learning Strategy (Featured 1/9/98 - but encoding error caused computer crash)

  12. Faculties
  13. Departments
  14. International
  15. R & D
  16. RMIT Technology Estate (repeated in QuickNav)
  17. Study@RMIT in 1999
  18. Teaching & Learning Strategy (encoding error caused computer crash)

  19. RMIT Library
  20. RMIT Bookshop
  21. RMIT Research Centres
  22. RMIT Union
  23. Divisions
  24. Student life (Office for Prospective Students)
  25. Campus tour (Office for Prospective Students)
  26. Jobs for RMIT students (Careers & Employment Service
  27. Jobs @ RMIT (Human Resources)

  28. Staff Phone book
  29. New Phone Numbers
  30. Website Index & Search

Accessibility Recommendations (referenced by Bobby

  1. Associate labels with their form controls
    Lines 23-24: <div align="right"><p><small><strong><font face="Trebuchet MS, Arial"><select name="url" onchange="window.location=this.options[selectedIndex].value" size="1">

  2. Use the LANG attribute to identify the language of the text

  3. If possible, avoid using tables to format text documents in columns

  4. Specify a logical tab order among form controls
    Lines 23-24: <div align="right"><p><small><strong><font face="Trebuchet MS, Arial"><select name="url" onchange="window.location=this.options[selectedIndex].value" size="1">

Encoding:

  1. Java enabled site option crashed the test computer

  2. All W3C non-compliance is due to markup being generated for Microsoft Internet Explorer. No encoding errors.

  3. PICS (safe rating) is not supported by Netscape and is read as an error.

  4. Unknown attribute LEFTMARGIN in element BODY for browser(s): HTML 4.0
    Lines 12-13: <body bgcolor="#000000" text="#FFFFFF" link="#00FF00" vlink="#00FF00" alink="#FFFF00" topmargin="0" leftmargin="0">

  5. Unknown attribute HEIGHT in element TABLE for browser(s): HTML 4.0
    Line 15: <table border="0" width="100%" height="100%" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="3">

  6. Unknown attribute TOPMARGIN in element BODY for browser(s): HTML 4.0
    Lines 12-13: <body bgcolor="#000000" text="#FFFFFF" link="#00FF00" vlink="#00FF00" alink="#FFFF00" topmargin="0" leftmargin="0">

  7. Unknown attribute BACKGROUND in element TD for browser(s): HTML 4.0
    Lines 20-21: <td width="58%" valign="middle" align="right" bgcolor="#DD4D37" height="30" background="http://www.rmit.edu.au/sorry-day/rmit-bg-sd-b.gif"><br>
    Lines 46-47: <td width="20%" height="233" background="http://www.rmit.edu.au/images/rmitBG-bl.gif" bgcolor="#1F0A94"><p align="center"><small><font face="Arial"><a
    Line 61: <td background="http://www.rmit.edu.au/images/rmitBG-bl.gif" bgcolor="#1F0A94"><p
    Line 71: <td background="http://www.rmit.edu.au/images/rmitBG-bl.gif" bgcolor="#1F0A94"><p

  8. Unknown attribute START in element IMG for browser(s): HTML 4.0
    Lines 17-19: <td width="9%" height="30" bgcolor="#000000"><p align="center"><img src="http://www.rmit.edu.au/images/rmit-tl.gif" width="101" height="47" alt="RMIT University" align="absmiddle" start="fileopen"><font color="#972B3E">.</font></td>

Metadata:

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1"> <meta http-equiv="PICS-Label" content='(PICS-1.1 "http://www.weburbia.com/safe/ratings.htm" l r (s 0))'> <meta name="keywords" content="RMIT, University, Education, Research, Development"> <meta name="rating" content="safe for kids">

This metadata is minimal and non-compliant with the Dublin Core emerging standard. PICS is not Supported by Netscape 3.0. In HTML 4.0 it should be considered transitional.

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