Form and Function
The website is a cheerful combination of playful circles and bright colors (Fig. A). The prominent PBS Kids logo appears in the upper left and features a rollover effect when placing the mouse over the text links to the right. The rounded squares near the middle of the page provide a simple contrast to the circular images above them and help them stand out as the four main links to fun for the children. The rectangular appearance near the bottom holds links provided for adults and parents and creates a dividing line between the main choices for the kids and the more technical information for adults at the bottom of the page. The contrast of circles and rectangles successfully keeps the eyes drawn toward the upper half of the page where the fun is.
While the main page is simple and playful, the lower contrast of the light purple portion of the background against the white text links makes these links more difficult to read (Fig. B).
Navigation from the main page is simple, either choose a show from the list of links on the left, which take you to sites designed specifically for that particular TV show, or choose from the four links near the middle of the page to present a selection of activities grouped by task. The pages linked to the four main options are also linked together in a linear fashion, however the linear structure only moves forward. While the images on these pages are cute, there is nothing to describe what they link to (Fig. C). The pages rely on the image “alt” text to appear as a tooltip when the mouse is placed over the image as the only means of describing what the image links to. A better practice would be to include descriptive text under the image rather than making the user mouseover each image to find out where it leads.
While the lack of descriptive links and low contrast text hinder ease of navigation, the overall presentation of the site is fun and playful. The design elements are appropriately geared toward the site’s intended audience. The PBS Kids website is a great launchpad to explore all the fun each individual TV show provides.