Jeff Weston - PHL 160 - 4th Hour Web Site

How to Grade a Web Site

What To Look For

Web sites have a lot to offer over just a printed piece of paper. A printed report presents everything systematically on paper. A web site is capable of spreading the same material over several pages, so the user can look at the material in any order they choose. A printed paper is usually limited to just text. A web page can incorporate text, images, sound, and animation. Web pages can include links to additional sources of information so the user can explore beyond the original content.

The most important thing to look for in a web site is content. Content is essentially the text of the site. What you read in a written report should be the same sort of content you will read in a web site. The fact that it is a different medium does not change the material that needs to be conveyed. With all the neat things you can do with a web site, it's easy to create a site with little to offer the user in the way of information. As the user of a web site it is also easy to get lost in all of the neat tricks the web site has to offer. To stay on task, always look for the content.

After content you want to look for the structure of the site itself. The web pages need to be divided up so that one page doesn't have tons of material, while another has next to nothing. The site also needs to be divided up logically so that the user is never surprised by something they weren't looking for. The site needs to be easy to navigate. Links that allow the user to move from page to page need to be easy to see and use. A site map is extremely useful in complicated sites so that you can see every page available. Structure is a key element in a web site. You never want your users to feel lost.

The final element of a web page is the look and feel of it. This covers images, sound, colors, and the overall structure of everything on the pages. Since web pages can utilize more than just text, it's good to incorporate more than just text into a site. It is easy to overdo things in this area. When a user views a page you don't want them bombarded with tons of pictures and animations. Keep things simple and use pictures and animations to clarify what is mentioned in the text. The graphic elements should no distract the user, but should give the user a better feeling for the material covered.


Cheating on a web site is exactly the same as cheating on a written paper. Just as it is simple to take someone else's work and present it as your own on paper, it is just as simple, if not easier, on a web page. The techniques you use to detect cheating are also very similar. If you sense what your reading is not the work of the author, it probably isn't.

A cheater is generally very lazy about their work. If you suspect someone has plagiarized someone else's work on the web, you may be able to turn up the original source by doing a search on key words or phrases from the stolen work. Chances are the plagiarizer didn't even change anything from the original and a web search will come up with the original work.

My Site

Since I feel content is the most important aspect of a web site, that is what I've spent my most time on. I've essentially created the text in the same way I would have typed it for a written report. It is spell checked and proof-read, as a paper would be.

From the beginning of the web site, I designed it with structure in mind. I've chosen a simple structure that lends itself well to the project. From the main page you can go to the main page of any of the religious traditions that I've studied. From those pages you can reach all of the content regarding that tradition. Additionally, I have created a site map for this site. Even though it is a fairly simple site, the site map shows you every page so you can know if you've seen all of them. The links that take you from page to page I've displayed prominently on the top of every page to provide easy navigation. At the bottom of every page is a link that takes you back where you came from.

The weakest aspect of my site is the look and feel of it. I am not a graphic designer and do not have time to create fancy graphics for the site. I've created a simple design and incorporate graphics only where absolutely necessary. The site still conveys the information needed, it just doesn't look as good as it could.