Case Studies #11:

This Case Study is in regards to the website, a website for an e-bay consignment business.

At the top of the page is the primary navigation bar. This contains links to the “About” page, “Services” page, “Policies” page, “Fees” page, “For Sale” page, “Locations” page, “Franchise” page, and “Home” page.
To the left of the content is a secondary navigation bar. This contains additional links such as “Company News”, “Franchise” information, “More Information”, and “What’s Hot”.
Rolling over these titles opens the navigation to show relevant links.
At the bottom of the page are the (usual) links that are seldom used but important to some users. These include the site’s Privacy Policy, Site Map, and duplicate links to the other main pages.
A user can determine which page of the site they are on by the activated tabs in the primary navigation.
The navigation is set up to provide users with information on how conducting business with the company works, to provide users with information on how to contact or visit the company at its locations, and how the user can start a franchise. These intentions are visible in the layout of the navigation. The most useful links to users (who are primarily visiting the site to learn how the service provided works) are first. Then there is information on where the business is located, and finally franchise information. This setup allows users to quickly find the information required on the site.

The architecture of the site is very flat. That is, there are only single pages for each link. This allows a user to find all of the relevant information without having to click through to different pages. Also, because the information being provided is very static (does not change very often), the site does not have archives of previous information. Only the newest information is required by users, keeping the number of pages to a minimum. In addition, the site does not have to showcase items or products. This is done by linking to the company’s e-bay store. This also prevents the site from having several pages in one section of the site.
The content hierarchy is apparent through the use of bold letters, letter size, and letter color.

Heading 1:
Large black font, used as titles for content.

Heading 2:
Medium black font, used sub-headings.

Small black font, used for content and information requiring sentences and paragraphs.

The content on the page is organized into paragraphs, as this is the easiest way to convey the information about the service to potential customers.
When possible, information is bulleted to reduce the amount of reading required by the user.
This organization of the content works well for the site, because there is plenty of important information about the service that needs to be completely understood by users before they use the service. This prevents and/or limits liability on the company as they have expressed all information in a clear and concise manner that is available to all users.

The structure of the site is set up as a main upper row that contains the banner and primary navigation, and two columns that bound the content of the site. The left column contains the secondary navigation, and the right column contains a slideshow of current auctions and affiliated companies.
This allows the content in the center of the page to be focused on by the user, while also quickly giving them additional information about the company without having to navigate to a different page.

The site uses a few icons to help users navigate the site and be more efficient. These icons include:
Bullet icons, to help users determine clickable buttons.

Google Toolbar button, to add the GlobalGarageSale toolbar.

Rss feed button.

Print button.

Recycle icon, to display to users that GlobalGarageSale is a “green” company.

Search icon.

In addition to these icons, the site also uses imagery to help users navigate and obtain information from the site. These include:
Current auction thumbnails.

Map of location.

E-bay images, to indicate that the company is a trusted seller on the E-bay website.

Color Palette:
The site uses a simple color palette of four main colors, in addition to black and white.
The color palette of the site is somewhat awkward. The background of the page is a light tan color, and links and navigation are in green and yellow. These colors do not work well together, as the tan does not help the green and yellow. These colors might work better with a white background.

Also, the green is an important aspect of the site, as the company tries to showcase that it is a “green” company. Through use of the company, users are recycling items rather than trashing them and purchasing new ones. This helps keep the items from ending up in landfills.

Site Focus:
The focus of the site is to provide potential customers with information about how the service works, how to contact and find the locations of the company, and how to start their own franchise. This is done through the different pages on the site such as those highlighting the fees associated, the company’s policies, and addresses for the locations.
A couple of possible improvements to the site could be to move the “Home” tab in the primary navigation bar to the left side, to rename a few of the links in the navigation system, and to change the background color to white.

Moving the “Home” tab to the left side of the site would keep in line with the “norm” found on other sites. The navigation bar is meant to help users navigate around the site, and moving important parts of it would only lead to confusing the user as they would not be used to finding the home button to the right of the page.

A few of the links, such as “More Information” and “What’s Hot” could be renamed to reflect more accurately the content on the pages. At first glance, these links are confusing and I had no idea what was on the pages. Renaming them would limit this confusion and prevent the user from wasting time clicking on them and finding information that is not relevant to their purpose of navigating the site.

Lastly, changing the background color of the site to white (or even a light gray) would make the site look clean and professional. Currently, the tan is “upsetting” to the green and yellow currently on the page. The colors clash and do not add to the overall appearance of the site.

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