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Courtney Witzman

Dr. Martin
ENC 4416
August 1, 2016

Rhetorical Web Audit of the Orlando Weekly

Introduction:
The following is a web audit of the Orlando Weeklys website. The site holds a plethora
of useful and relevant information, but is organized in an inefficient way. This audit focuses on
user experience more than anything. Layout, page load time, and organization in relation to user
experience are all addressed in the following pages.

Methodology:
The first thing I did for this assignment was count all of the Orlando Weekly websites
pages. Initially, I tried counting them myself, but then realized that it was a bigger task than I
thought and was going to be pretty much impossible. So I used the page counting tool for this
process and found that my site had over 500 pages (the maximum number of pages that the tool
will count).
For the rest of this audit, I have conducted a qualitative assessment of the Orlando
Weeklys website meaning that Ive analyzed the quality and effectiveness of the content

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(Halvorson and Rach, 53). There seemed to be a common theme in a lot of our readings and the
articles that I found while conducting research for this audit: user experience. In User
Experience a Research Agenda, authors Marc Hassenzhal and Noam Tractinsky write:
Over the last decade, 'user experience' (UX) became a buzzword in the field of human computer interaction (HCI) and interaction design. As technology matured, interactive
products became not only more useful and usable, but also fashionable, fascinating things
to desire. Driven by the impression that a narrow focus on interactive products as tools
does not capture the variety and emerging aspects of technology use, practitioners and
researchers alike, seem to readily embrace the notion of UX as a viable alternative to
traditional HCI. And, indeed, the term promises change and a fresh look, without being
too specific about its definite meaning (91).
This emphasis on user experience made me think that it would be beneficial for both myself and
others to use the Orlando Weeklys website and record our experiences.
The Orlando Weekly covers a lot of different topics, but they mostly focus on news and
events in and around Orlando. My fianc and I enjoy going to local events, so we follow a lot of
Orlando-based blogs (Orlando Date Night is my favorite). I actually came across the Orlando
Weeklys website when I was looking for information on an event about a year ago. But, because
of how long it took for their website to load, I bailed before I got any real information and never
went back. For the sake of this assignment, I decided to quit visiting the local blogs that I usually
do for a few weeks and instead relied solely on the Orlando Weekly. This was...an unpleasant
experience, but well get to that later.

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Because my fianc also visits a lot of local blogs, I asked him to do the same and then
asked him what he thought of the site after a week of using it. I also asked three other friends to
use the site and report back. I asked everyone to pay attention to and comment on: the layout of
the site, findability, usability, and their overall experience using the website the same factors
that I took into account when conducting the website audit. Their experiences with the site will
be discussed later on in this audit.

Summary of Findings:
All of the people that I had use the Orlando Weekly website (including myself) had pretty
much the same things to say about the site.
Layout:
Overall, I and my user volunteers found the layout of this website to be very cluttered.
There are images and ads lining the top and both sides of every page. Each page is filled with
articles (even the home page), and the articles are pretty close together so its hard to tell them
apart. Two people commented on the events calendar in the sidebar of each page saying that,
while it is useful, it looks like an ad so its easy to miss (which might be why only two of the five
of us who used the site even noticed it).
Findability:
The content on this website is pretty difficult to find. As mentioned above, there are ads
on every page of the site, which distracts from the information being provided. The location of
the search bar and the fact that there are no subsections on the site also make content hard to
find. The articles are all on top of each other without much space in between, so its hard to tell

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them apart. Perhaps one of the most frustrating things on the site, though, is the fact that there are
no subsections on the site so, if youre looking for articles that are just about the local city
council race, youll have to sift through all of the news articles to find what youre looking for.
Usability:
While the Orlando Weeklys website is technically useable, it is not easy or enjoyable to
use. Each page takes quite a bit of time to load because of the amount of content included. For
example, it took between 23 and 54 seconds for the homepage (pictured below) to completely
load on my computer and the computers of my four user volunteers. This load time is
discouraging and makes users want to leave the page and try another site (as I did the first time I
visited this site last year). In addition to this, each time you click on a new page, a giant ad pops
up (like the one thats covering the majority of the homepage pictured below). These ads are
probably one of the reasons why it takes so long for their site to load.
Overall User Experience:
Overall, I would say that visiting the Orlando Weeklys website is not an enjoyable
experience. The content on the site is useful, but it is not worth the trouble to go on the site when
there are other blogs and websites writing about the same things. Heres what my user volunteers
had to say about their experience with the site (for the sake of privacy, their names are not
included):

User 1: As someone who enjoys going to local events and tries to keep up with the local
news, I was surprised at how much I did not like this website. The ads on the site make
the company seem less credible and also make me a little nervous to have the site pulled
up on my computer.
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User 2: While I do think that the Orlando Weekly posts relevant and useful information,
I dont think that they have the site organized in an efficient way. I never went on the site
looking for a specific article, but I cant imagine doing so. Theres no easy way to look
for articles and information on a specific topic the site. I dont think Ill be using this site
again.

User 3: This has got to be one of the slowest loading websites Ive been on in a while.
For that reason alone, I wouldnt use this site on the day-to-day. I also didnt like how, if I
were looking for all of the Food & Wine events going on this month, I had to scroll
through pages of unrelated food articles. That was very frustrating. I would only visit this
site again if I couldnt find the information I was looking for somewhere else.

User 4: I didnt really like the Orlando Weekly website. It took too long to load and
there were too many ads. I wouldnt visit this website for my own use.

Analysis of Findings:
The main issue with the Orlando Weeklys website is that they are not organizing their
content in an effective way. People want the information that they are providing because it is
good, useful, and interesting information. But, the sites layout makes it hard to find this
information. Here are a few screen shots of the website with accompanying page loading times:

Home Page (23-54 seconds to load):

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Navigatoin Bar:

Arts & Culture Page (29 seconds on average to load):

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Calendar (52 seconds on average to load):

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One of the biggest issues with this website is the ads they have on the pages. As you can
see, there are an abundance of ads on every page. Most sites do have one or two ads on the side
bar, but they certainly do not have ads covering the majority of the page and they almost never
have pop-up ads. I cant recall the last time I visited a website with pop-up ads that I didnt
immediately think was disreputable. This is a very ineffective way of using their advertising
space.
Another issue with this website is the navigation bar (pictured above). While the
navigation bar does help narrow articles somewhat, there are no subsections or drop down menus
like there are on most sites like this. For example, if you visit the Orland Sentinels website and
click on News on their navigation bar, it will take you to the News page which has a separate
navigation bar for politics, crime, obituaries, etc. This contributes to both the findability and
usability of the site.
Probably the most frustrating thing about this site, though, is how long it takes for each
page to load. Looking at the page load times above, you can see that each of the pages tested
takes at least 20 seconds to load, some even taking almost a full minute. These long load times
are probably chasing potential users away.

Recommendations:

Reduce the Number of Ads on the Site According to the article Forced Exposure and
Psychological Reactance: Antecedents and Consequences of the Perceived Intrusiveness
of Pop-Up Ads, pop-up ads are widely viewed as intrusive and the consequences of this
intrusiveness were...irritation and avoidance (Edwards et. al, 1). While the Orlando
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Weekly might be making some money off of these pop-up ads, they might also be losing
users because of them.

Update the Navigation Bar The Orlando Weeklys users would benefit greatly from a
more detailed navigation system. This could include adding drop down menus on the
current navigation bar so that when you hover over a topic, the subtopics come up; or
they could build something similar to the Orlando Sentinels navigation system with a
separate navigation bar on each topics page.

Reduce Page Load Time The article Determinants of successful Website design:
Relative Importance and Recommendations for Effectiveness states that the number one
determinant of an effective website is page loading speed. Paula Selvidge backs up this
statement in her article How Long is Too Long to Wait for a Website to Load? when
she writes that ...users are more likely to lose interest in a site if the load time takes more
than 10 seconds. Each of the load times given above far exceed 10 seconds, so this is
most likely causing the Orlando Weekly to lose users. Page load time could be reduced by
having less content on each page (updating their navigation bar would help with this
because they wouldnt have all of the news articles on one page, all of the arts articles on
one page, etc...) and by reducing the number of ads on each page (and eliminating pop-up
ads altogether).

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Works Cited
Edwards, Steven M., Hairong Li, and Joo-Hyun Lee. "Forced exposure and psychological
reactance: Antecedents and consequences of the perceived intrusiveness of pop-up ads."
Journal of Advertising 31.3 (2002): 83-95.
Gehrke, Dave, and Efraim Turban. "Determinants of successful website design: relative
importance and recommendations for effectiveness."Systems Sciences, 1999. HICSS-32.
Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Hawaii International Conference on. IEEE, 1999.
Halvorson, Kristina, and Melissa Rach. Content strategy for the web. New Riders, 2012.
Hassenzahl, Marc, and Noam Tractinsky. "User experience-a research agenda." Behaviour &
information technology 25.2 (2006): 91-97.
Selvidge, Paula. "How long is too long to wait for a website to load." Usability news 1.2 (1999).

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