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Case studies

There are two sets of case studies which you can use to study content and its organisation.


These case studies are intended for analysis of content. You can go to the site (by clicking on its Web address below) and try to evaluate its content. If you're not interested in the site's content yourself, try to imagine yourself as one of the types of user who would be interested.

Try to come up with good and bad things about the site - vital content that's present, and content that isn't there and should be, or is there but shouldn't be. Also, try not to critique the site in general (for example if it's ugly or hard to get around) - at the moment we're specifically examining the content it provides.

Once you've looked at the site, scroll down this page to see my brief comments. This is subjective, so I might have missed things you spotted, or might have criticised things which you don't think cause a problem.

Reference site 1: Railtrack


Contains a full rail timetable, which is very useful and probably the primary thing people are looking for. However, doesn't contain pricing information, and doesn't allow you to purchase tickets online.

Reference site 2: Dictionary.com


Contains several dictionaries, so is pretty useful for looking up words in general. However, all the dictionaries are public-domain, which may mean that more advanced users don't find a sufficiently detailed or up-to-date definition.

Company site: Pioneer Electronics


This site contains detailed descriptions of most of the company's current product line. (A few smaller products are missing, along with information about older products which might still be available in some places.) The main deficiency is that, having seen a product, you might want to purchase it. They don't provide online sales, and there is no link to dealers for each product, so you're left on your own.

Ecommerce site : 101cd.com


This site concentrates on bargain-hunters, looking for popular CDs at low prices. It delivers on its promise, with prices (at least for a small selection of popular CDs) which may be better than elsewhere. The cover art is also available, although again there is no detailed review information, and there are no links to band Web sites. Rather bizarrely, the site also attempts to sell books and games - if users wanted books, they surely wouldn't go to a site titled "101cd.com".


In this case you might like to check each case study and, rather than trying to decide how good it is (or even how good its organisation is), just analyse exactly what kind of organisation they used.

None of these sites really use a simple hierarchical organisation, so they can be a bit of a challenge to analyse.

Geek site : mozillaZine


This site is basically a hierarchy, with different sections (main news; reviews; etc.), each of which include numerous articles (and possibly subsections, in the case of reviews). The articles are organised in order of time.

News site : Wired News


This site has a hierarchical organisations.

There are four main subject areas - business, culture, technology, and politics - and additional subject areas in the left-hand bar. Within each of these areas there are multiple stories, arranged roughly in order of time.

Photography site : London's Industrial Heritage


Contains a selection of photographs of London (over a hundred, I don't know the current figure) that may be of interest to industrial archeologists.

There are three different logical structures over the same content; a hierarchical organisation depending on place, another hierarchy depending on type of industry, and a keyword index (which could be seen as a rather flat hierarchy). The first two means of organisation also include keyword indices within each hierarchy level. You can see that the site contains a sense of "location" within each of these access methods, although once you get down to the actual pictures, they look more like search results.

Weird site : kvetch


This site is divided into several categories. Beneath that, content is picked at random; it is essentially and intentionally disorganised.