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Purpose needs to be stated

Thu, Jan 1, 2009

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www.okcbusiness.com

Introduction

OKCBiz is an online magazine about the people, events and happenings in Oklahoma city. Well, it took me a while to figure that out and I am not even sure because there is nothing in the site that tells me what the site is about.

Form and Function

I don’t even know what OKC stands for as there is no explaination. I thought the words from the publisher is closest to what I am looking for:

“Now in its eighth year, OKCBusiness is the product of a great deal of teamwork, much as you practice and experience every day in your own business and life. This publication evolved through the participation of readers, advertisers and staff alike as feedback from all quarters finds its way into the pages of OKCBusiness. The new OKCBusiness magazine is the result, hence its new name: OKCBiz.”

The website looks corporate and the layout does seem to fit well for an online magazine. I thought the logo is well designed – simple, elegant and stands out from the content. The big confusion comes when people start reading the content. There is nothing in the site that tells people what the site is for and why it exists. I think more work can be done to the HTML title. “OKCBiz >> Home” is simply not good enough. Of course, this might not be the author’s fault but due to the inflexibility of the content managment system in the backend driving the site.

I knew okcbusiness.com could have something to do with Oklahoma because I have seen the word being used a few times in the articles; I knew that it is some sort of magazine because I saw the word “subscribe to magazine” on the top right hand corner. I think most people will want you to tell them what the site is about and not them finding out for themselves. Perhaps I am not part of their community, but I don’t think there is anything in the site that tells me to stay longer.

The graphics and layout is standard. However, the font headers looks abit funny on my firefox. I also think that the footer needs abit of rework as the center alignment doesn’t seem to work well visually. Having “obtain permission, contact us” as a single sentence is bad (fig 1).

The line separators need to be consistent as well. Personally, I dont like thick lines (See fig 2). The rest of the graphics looks OK. The thumbnails for top stories could be resized so that they are the same width and height? This is not a bit deal but does add abit of professionalism to the site.

Using bullet list for the top menu seems too simplistic for an online magazine? I also think the upcoming events section can be done better. Having all events in one page doesn’t sound like a good idea unless there is some sort of filtering and searching system. What if there is a need to look for an event in Jan 2006? If there are 5000 records, the user will have to search through many pages. The event links in the home page also points to the same section in the same page (using html anchors might help here?).

Conclusion

I think alot more work is needed to make the site more professional. To be fair, I believe that the site is new and we need to give it abit more time to prove its worthiness. If it is going to be a content rich site, then it is heading in the right direction by having many navigational categories and articles.

www.okcbusiness.com.1
fig 1. centralised text in footer.

www.okcbusiness.com.2
fig 2. inconsistent line separators.

www.okcbusiness.com.3
fig 3. coming up events all link to same page?

www.okcbusiness.com.4
fig 4. using ip address for ads looks dangerous.

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