While researching several Texas government based websites, I came across votesmart.org, which is a website aimed towards helping citizens become aware of their regional special interest groups and organizations. Based on my search from votesmart.org, I chose to evaluate equalitytexas.org, the website connected to Equality Texas which advocates and lobbies for the elimination of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.
Access. The website is easy to access and opens quickly. The URL directly correlates to the purpose of the site and easily remembered. The URL for the site remains stable regardless of the page you are attempting to access. Each link on the site responds quickly and do not require any downloading of any other third party system to access the information. It is also helpful that under the “legislation” tab when you click on the link of a specific case, it opens a new window on in your browser, which could be useful if you’d like to view multiple cases at once. However, the social media interactive links on the homepage sometimes takes a while to appear, which could result in a lot of missed opportunities for interested members to contribute to the cause through social media.
Design. The design of the webpage is clear and easy to use. The title and logo also serve as a direct link to the donation and member sign-up page, which makes it easier to get donations and members without each interested party attempting to browse the entire website to do so. The tabs at the top of the page beneath the logo are easy to access and also include subpage links for faster and easier access. The entire website has a cohesive design and color palette, which draws the reader to important titles and sections. The search site option also makes navigating the site a lot easier. The page is designed perfectly in order to gain members and donations easily while conveying the direction and intent of the interest group. However, the design of each page, including the homepage, could be fitted better as to not include much white space towards the bottom of the page.
The interactive links on the homepage also make it appear as though information is being cut off between the logos and the “contact us” link. The highlight that results after clicking the “EQTX” logo and the “DONATE” link should be removed. It confuses the viewer about which link they’ve clicked on and it distracts from the overall clean image of the site. The date of the last update, however, was not listed on the site, but was presented on the votesmart.org site. The home page link is located at the top of each page, so I rarely needed to utilize the back and forward buttons in order to navigate throughout the pages.
I was able to get to any link that I needed simply by clicking the homepage or clicking a new page title in the tab section. Every image on the site assisted the information that was being presented on each page. However, I am unsure as to whether all private information given on the sight is secure. There was no icon or message from any third party secure information service such as, VeriSign or PayPal, which could be a major issue for those that wish to donate to the organization.
Content. The overall content of the site is very informative and straightforward. Each section of the webpage is devoted to the function and mission of the interest group. Their “About Us” tab is easily located and gives a clear summary of the purpose of the organization. Each heading is clear and descriptive enough for the viewer to understand where to access information. Each page is organized to fit the needs of members and newcomers that are simply seeking information on the organization. The “legislation” link allows the viewer to gain information on current issues affecting equality in Texas. New members and existing members are able to access needed information easily without mixing the needs of the two. The content of the site is up to date and the links in the legislation tab are accurate and up to date as well. There were no dead links on the site and the content was documented and verifiable.
I believe that the site is very useful and informative for individuals who seek sexual orientation and gender equality in Texas. The site is easy to access and navigate without downloading special programs or needing assistance from anyone else. It was very easy to find out the purpose and mission of the organization once you were on the site. Their goals and accomplishments were easily accessible and easy to understand by all. The site was clear and concise and suitable for the purpose that the organization is attempting to achieve. Overall, I was pleased with the site and would recommend anyone who is interested in this issue to visit this website to gain accurate and current knowledge.