YouTube videos – Just For Laughs Gags – Tricked Into Helping Robbery Prank

This is not a standard review. It’s just a way to bring something found on YouTube to your attention.

Every now and then we will post video links (another one following very soon) with a short comment.

Tricked Into Helping Robbery Prank

This is one of the very many videos on the Just For Laughs Gags channel.

Most of their videos contain next to no spoken words, so that they are viewable by people regardless of their spoken languages; in fact I often watch them with the sound off.

Arguably, all people in the videos are actors, including victims; however, in some videos this is clearer than in others.

Tricked Into Helping Robbery Prank is one of those video you could believe is genuine.

Meta Search Engines

Meta search engines are search engines that show result coming from different search engines. For example, if you insert the keyword “car” in a meta search engine and you search, results from Google, Yahoo and/or other search engines are displayed as if you manually searched on all engines supported. Some meta search engines can even allow you to personalise them by adding new engines for result searches.
When many engines have similar results, the quality of a meta search engine may be more about the way results are merged together and rated for relevancy.
Personalisation and powerful functions may also be score winners.
If the meta search engine is not good at sorting the results, has the wrong set of features and layout or is not easy to personalise, the final result may be worse that the best of the engines it uses to gather results.

Review – DuckDuckGo

Web page: http://duckduckgo.com/

Accessed on Sunday, 29th July 2012 @ about 7:50am GMT+1

DuckDuckGo screenshot

General overview
This is the homepage of a very smart search engine. You put your keywords in and search; the web site will perform equivalent searches on different search engines, like Google or Yahoo and combine results together.

The page is very simple and improves on the original Google concept of less is more. Results, instead, can be very sophisticated, including definition, recognition of official sites, content from Wikipedia and so on.

Such search simplicity helps speed and clearness.

Finding the web page
The address itself is as easy as they come. You can add www if you so desire or change .com for other suffixes like .co.uk and you will be automatically redirected to the main address.

If you know the site but don’t want to guess the address, it is very easy to find it on other search engines. If you use the keywords “search engine” to perform a search on Google, imagining you’ve never heard of DuckDuckGo, you will discover it among the very top results (after Dogpile, a similar engine result aggregator).

Loading speed
As expected, the page loads pretty fast.

Use of technology
Technology use is appropriately very limited. Mainly, there is only a drop down menu for specialised searches; selecting an option enters a special keyword in the search field to instruct on the specific type of search (for example, “!gi” is added to search on Google Images). This also allows learning the keyword.

Abbreviations
There were no abbreviations, which was expected, being the page so simple.

Logic structure
Couldn’t be better.

Fitness for purpose
The web page does what is says on the tin and is mostly fit for its purpose.
Some issues with the layout make it less accessible than such a simple page could be (more on that later).

Search function
The search feature is the whole point of the web site and is powerful and easy to use.

Site map
None present and none required.

Graphic look
The page looks nice, playful and modern. The white background, although is very common and pleasant, may cause excessive background brightness for some users. The site look is built around a three-colour scheme (green and red on white background) plus grey/black for text.

No overlaps have been found on the page. This means all content is clearly displayed as intended and there is no content hidden by other page elements.

The search button does not have any text equivalent representation, making it difficult to use for those who cannot see it properly. Same issue for the search options and the links at the bottom of the page can be overlooked.

Drop down lists
There was a drop down list that may cause problems to screen reader software.

Accessibility statement
There was no explicit accessibility statement; this means some accessibility programs may not offer users this page to browse. Although it is not always the case, this may also mean accessibility is not given much priority on page development.
Whether the lack of such statement is an actual flaw is arguable; however, it never hurts to add one.

Validation
There is no explicit validation button on the page. This means it is harder to verify the page is compliant with coding standards. A page that is not compliant may show correctly on the devices and browsers it has been tested on, but may present nasty surprises elsewhere.

Using W3C validator, the page showed as HTML 4.0 Strict . The validation returned errors and warnings, showing lack of compliance.

This is not uncommon, even in simpler pages like this one. No major errors have been detected, but full compliance would not hurt, particularly knowing how easy it would be to fix any issues.

Review – This is Money

Web page: http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/index.html

Accessed on Sunday, 29th July 2012 @ about 3:30am GMT+1

This is Money screenshot on 29-07-12

General overview
This is the homepage of one of the most important British financial news sites.

The page is quite rich of content that appears to be database-driven; this means there is a database of news and they are displayed on the pages using templates automatically.

It has mainly a three-column layout and it is quite easy to browse. There are some widgets to show financial and trading data in real-time.

Finding the web page
Although the page address is a tiny bit longer than the minimum strictly necessary, on the occasion, this is not a problem, because you can access the same page by just typing the web site address without the final money/index.html part.
As such, the general site address is easy to guess. If you know the site, but not the address, you can also use search engines to find it easily.
A different story is if you do not remember the name or do not know the site at all. Searching for “money” on different website including DuckDuckGo, which automatically searches on different engines and merge the results, the site was not on the first page of results, which means many people may not find it or learn about its existence.

Loading speed
Considering how rich of content the page is, it loads quite quickly and there are no major problem with most of the elements; however, the real-time index and currency widget takes time to load data. This is not a big issue as its size is clear from the beginning and the rest of the page can load and show without delay.

Use of technology
Technology used on the web page includes dynamic content, for the whole page and for specific elements, the presence of some dynamic graphs, buttons to browse elements without leaving the page and some Flash elements, mostly adverts.
No major issues or abuses found here. Particularly commendable the fact the page does not reload itself automatically and does neither load nor play audio or video automatically.
For those who have no access to Flash or disallow Flash content, it’s good news, too. You just miss some adverts, although you may not see pictures that link to specific tools like the investing planner. If you blocked Flash content, you can still access the planner if you click where the Flash content should be displayed. Putting and alternative text link nearby would solve the issue.

Abbreviations
There were plenty of abbreviations, which is quite common on specialised news web pages. Here they may be more tolerated due to need to optimise space on the page and to the fact the page audience is usually expert of the field. This does not mean, however, that many people would not benefit from choice of easier language.

Considering the fact some news are presented more than once on the page and some are relatively old (although usually still relevant), the excuse of saving space is slightly less acceptable.

Logic structure
The page itself as well as the whole site appear to be logically structured.
This is good practice and is not as common as one may think; particularly for pages created automatically by some software.

Fitness for purpose
The web page does what is says on the tin and is mostly fit for its purpose.

Search function
The search feature is both accessible and correctly functional. You can search for articles or shares and, on the result page, there are filters to refine the search.

Site map
At the bottom of the page there is a link to the site map, which is good practice.
The map itself is very clear and easy to use; however, it is possible to believe you can reveal sub entries clicking the triangular icons on the left of each entry, but this is not the case. If it was, it would have been easier to access more specific content in fewer clicks.

Graphic look
The page looks nice, modern and elegant enough and fits the topic. The white background, although is very common and pleasant, may cause excessive background brightness for some users. The site look is built around a three-colour scheme (dark purple and blue on white background) plus grey/black for text.

No overlaps have been found on the page. This means all content is clearly displayed as intended and there is no content hidden by other page elements.

Drop down lists
There were a few drop down lists in a form near the bottom of the page. This may cause problems to screen reader software; however, on this page, the form needed a click on the Submit button to operate. This may sound as bad news as the form is not posted automatically, but in facts it’s good news. Firstly, it is possible to review choices before submitting them; also, it is possible to set all three fields without reloading the page on each change; last but not least, many screen reading programs can cope well with drop down list, provided they require explicit submission.

Accessibility statement
There was no explicit accessibility statement; this means some accessibility programs may not offer users this page to browse. Although it is not always the case, this may also mean accessibility is not given much priority on page development.
Whether the lack of such statement is an actual flaw is arguable; however, it never hurts to add one.

Validation
There is no explicit validation button on the page. This means it is harder to verify the page is compliant with coding standards. A page that is not compliant may show correctly on the devices and browsers it has been tested on, but may present nasty surprises elsewhere.

Using W3C validator, the page showed as XHTML 1.0 Transitional (which is not as good as the Strict coding and is not the latest version). The choice of XHTML is appropriate and the page should show reasonably well on a variety of browsers and devices. The validation returned errors and warnings, showing lack of compliance.

This is not uncommon, particularly for dynamic pages (those created by databases on the fly). No major errors have been detected, but full compliance would not hurt.

Our reviews

Welcome everybody!

This blog will feature web experience reviews. So, what are they?

First, let’s say what they are not: they are not complete websites or complete pages reviews. On a proper website review, you would expect some factors to be taken in consideration; for example,¬†use of server-side scripting languages for certain type of sites. This, however, may not necessarily affect the user experience of such web sites.

Web experience reviews will focus on those aspects affecting the user experience of sites and pages.

Reviews may take in consideration only some aspects or be more comprehensive, depending on specific circumstances.

We hope you will enjoy our reviews and you will find them useful.

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