Animal Corner: An Encyclopaedia for Kids
Animal Corner is “a place to meet animals of the world” and is an interesting children’s website that I recommend be added to your kid’s bookmarks for surfing. It contains information and facts about all sorts of animals and aspires to be a one stop reference for kids seeking animal information.
Form and Function
With easy to read text (in small paragraphs and sentences) and pics of animals, cure Animal Corner certainly conveys the idea of an online animal reference site well. The safari green, seek brown and evergreen colour scheme creates an impression of environmental awareness and place of animal sanctuary. For adults, this colour scheme is terrific – for children it may be a little drab. Children would like the logo a lot however, as it has plenty of colour and animals while being a suitably interesting and apt corporate identity. The top decorations of the animals in circles which appear on the Wildlife page help to add interest and colour to the site and use the advanced concept of representing the links via images with no text. Kids do love this style of navigation as it is visual, not textual.
Navigation traditionally occurs from a left menu bar but also occurs in cute little animal cartoons, such as alligator starburst reading “Check out our new Reptile section here at Animal Corner”. This is a good idea for child-friendly navigation and helps fill up the page while keeping the loading times fast. The green stripes in the main white area give the impression of an extra right panel where the advertising and site features are placed appropriately. I was happy to see that the advertising was suitably animal-related and not all profit-based. Some advertising appears below the detailed animal descriptions but this is hardly interfering with the content. On the left menu appears some conservational logos and links which are very helpful for this type of website and are likely to be of interest to children (such as the “feed an animal” link).
Upon clicking on the left menu I found that the menu listings changed around a bit depending on where you went (for example the menu displays different items on the Home page to the Pets page) and this could be a bit confusing when searching. The colours changed in the different categories (tan/brown for Pets, cream/green for Insects etc) and while this would not be helpful on a normal corporate site, for children it will probably enhance the viewing experience. The right panel comes in useful in these category pages as it displays another menu for checking out individual species and is far more likely to help children than pull down menus and site trees and maps. A few pages didn’t use this although they had obvious links (ie the Pet page) so there may be some navigational confusion even though the Pet links are contained at the top of the main page. The picture bar up the top changes also for each category also and I noticed the logo size varied between the pages.
The individual species pages include a few key pics of the animals and the facts and figures relating to the animal. It was good to see a map of animal occurrence on some of the pages as well as “useful facts” and the information is quite detailed and helpful if you were writing an animal essay for school. Loading time for the pages was medium, not ultra fast, but considering the amount of images and html information contained, the loading time was reasonable.
Animal Corner is a fine example of a children’s website set in html code – with a few extra tricks to help the viewing experience remain interesting throughout. My suggestions to improve the site would include removing the date (it’s unnecessary information), standardising the logo size and navigation and maybe removing the “Ads by Google” up the top. Well done to the little battler who worked hard on this website – they sure put in a full day’s work!
fig 1. Wildlife circle bar & ads for Google
fig 2. Animal Corner logo
fig 3. Colour scheme on Pets page
fig 4. Alligator starburst – good navigation for kids