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Free Fort Hays State University Athletic Website Essay Sample

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The official FHSU (Fort Hays State University) athletic website is a website dedicated exclusively to athletics. The athletic website is dedicated to providing updated information with regards to athletics, sensitizing supporters on upcoming events and providing a rich source of information for anybody within the FHSU fraternity or any interested party regarding the operation and developments within the athletics department. The attributes of a good website include: "content structure, graphic design, search strategies and accessibility" (Hopkem 274)

Header and Footer

The header of the website boldly informs every visitor that it is the official website of FHSU athletics. On a first glance the website is appealing to the target audience by incorporating photos of various sporting events and by ensuring that all areas of sports are covered. The site ensures that the target audience is well represented in the header photo; there is a sportsman, a sportswoman, a coach and supporters which obviously include alumni. The header also emphasizes on the logo and the motto FHSU athletics. The provision helps to identify the athletics department with other achievements of the university. Furthermore, the website manages to inform all the target audience of any upcoming developments within the department including updated results for the most recent athletics events. The footer of the website is also well placed at the end of the page but fails to provide all the relevant information concerning the site. The only information contained in the footer is the copyright information with no information regarding the date of last update and the contact information. However, this is understandable since the website is rather new and there would be few outdated details. Despite the shortcoming the footer provides links to NCAA, MIAA, FHSU Academic site and the partner that helped design the website.

In terms of navigation, the website offers an efficient and easy to use guide for anyone looking for information concerning athletics. The header is conveniently divided into broad areas within athletics and in addition have drop down menus for guide into further areas. Clicking on each header detail opens the drop down menus which also contain dozens of details. The strategy helps to maximize space on the home page thereby ensuring that all the relevant information is provided in the home page. In addition, when one clicks on topics that relate to sports the header adjusts by showing a photo related to that particular sport. However, when the topics for fan zone, facilities and information on giving donations are clicked on the header remains neutral.  The navigation area stays constant for 90% of the time ensuring that anybody new in the site has enough time to familiarize with the major aspects. Within the general FHSU website there are sites that will direct one to the athletics website. In addition, navigation links to each sport provide further information such as schedules, rosters and statistics. The navigation utilizes the JavaScript technique and does not include any sitemaps or breadcrumbs. However, the technique of rolling over and clicking can be misleading and difficult to use in some instances.

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Graphics and Web Design

The website provides proof of good usage of graphics and web designing principles. These attributes include good proximity, contrast and alignment. However, there seems to be an attempt to include all the numerous details within the site on a "small space." The website lacks a horizontal scroll and at a resolution of 1024x768 the website seems unusually busy. In addition there is poor balance of details between the right side of the site and the left with more details being crowded on the right hand side. There is also the observation of excess graphics on the same right hand which magnifies the imbalance. In some instances the website outlines a grey text on a black ground which makes it difficult for one to read. In consideration of the overall page as a whole, there is a general observation that the header and the main page occupy significant amount of the already crowded space. The header and the main page take almost 50% of the resolution of the site. This implies that one can only view 50% of a picture with a small portion of the headlines at page fold. The graphics colors of gold and black represent the official colors of the school and are in harmony with the navigation strategies. Most graphics manage to capture special moments for most sports, individual athletes, coaches and teams thereby ensuring that the website both attractive and serves its purpose. The website lacks in video and audio files and the only one available is a mosaic of FHSU athletics. The font usage is uniform throughout the website and there were no observable typos or grammar mistakes.

The design of the website s commendable since it manages to attract all the target audience. However, the website is not so user friendly due to the numerous photos that rather make it difficult to browse with low speed connections. The font size is also rather small and when black fonts are displayed on a black background the visibility reduces significantly. The matching of colors is also poor as in some instances it makes the site look rather dull for athletics. The lack of contact information also makes it difficult for persons who may need further assistance. Recommended adjustments should include the use of fewer pictures, bigger fonts, different colors, horizontal scrolling and the inclusion of contact information.

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