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Q: Improving an interactive tutorial on searching with Google ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Improving an interactive tutorial on searching with Google
Category: Computers > Internet
Asked by: nancyb-ga
List Price: $25.00
Posted: 21 Nov 2003 16:39 PST
Expires: 21 Dec 2003 16:39 PST
Question ID: 279136
As you may know, I've written Google Guide, an interactive tutorial on
searching with Google, which you can find on the web at  Please review Google Guide, and let me know ways
in which I can improve its content, including but not limited to
search tips, clearer explanations, inaccuracies, typos, omissions,
better or addition exercises.
Subject: Re: Improving an interactive tutorial on searching with Google
Answered By: angy-ga on 21 Nov 2003 22:11 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi, Nancy !

First, congratulations on creating an excellent resource, and forgive
me if I seem to be nit-picking - but I assume that's what you want
done, in order to fine tune your site. And fine tuning is all it

I'm reviewing this from the point of view of a casual web surfer, with
not a lot of patience.

First impressions - a nice, clean looking front page. However, I can't
immediately find the menu, which is below my screen and must be
scrolled down to. Also I don't immediately realise that the whole top
box itself acts as a link to the Introduction.

The two "radio" buttons at the bottom are a puzzle. What do they do ?
Am I being asked to choose between "www" and "". What
for ?  (See below.)

It would be good if the email address was a live link. It's confusing
to click on it and be taken to the introduction. This may mean moving
the contact email address out of the top box.

Page 2 - good, now the menu is obvious and where I expect to find it -
at the top. And, hooray, the font size is good, and it's clear black
on white, so I do not need to search for my magnifying glass.

It's good to see the comments from users, but I feel that they should
be spread out more - coming in one block as they do it's tempting to
assume that's all there is on the rest of the page and not scroll down
to the end.

Oh good - there's the explanation for those radio buttons - but I'd
move it to (or repeat it on) Page 1.

Why not separate everything under the "Creative Commons License"
heading in someway, since none of that is really essential to the
page. Perhaps a different font, or different font size, or just simply
italics ?

Page 3 - Contents, nice and clear and easy to understand.

But I do wish you had named your pages with something that gives some
indication as to their content - not just by numbers. It's very easy
to get lost. Especially when clicking on the "Printable Copy" link
apparently takes me back to the opening home page complete with the
big box linking to Page 2. Lots of people are going to click out at
that point. As the page slowly loads, I realise that this is not in
fact the same page, but it sure looks like it, and though the title
tells me different, the name of the page as "page_0.html" is no help. 
Calling it "printable_guide.html" would help, as would something
clearly different at the top. Try replacing Robert Miller's comment
with the words "Printable Version".

I also find the big box link too sensitive - it keeps sending me to
Page 2 when I don't want to go there.

Now to the nitty gritty. The Search Tips sections is clear and easy to
use. However on Page 5 I'm unclear as whether you want the learner to
type in (for example) "Hearst Castle recommended tour" with or without
the inverted commas in the search box. Without inverted commas brings
up the tour details, with inverted commas produces no result since
that exact phrase apparently does not occur on a web page indexed by
Google. So the difference is significant.

On Page 6 you've solved this problem by introducing the square bracket
layout - but it's a page too late.

I'd tend to add the country I was interested in to the "passport
apply" query. It really cuts down the options.

The exercises look like fun.

Page 7 and 8 - Fine, though there's a lot to take in here. Is there
any way to break these pages down into more manageable sections ?

Page 9 - Consider separating the sections from "Anatomy of a Web Address" down.

Page 10 - Very interesting. Note: there probably is an upcoming
international conference on AIDS, but I'd avoid using examples that
might go out of date.

Understanding Results section: good and clear. Page 14 - who is
Jeffrey Tobin, or for that matter Martha Stewart ? Not known in this
part of the English speaking world, so perhaps not a good choice of

This section is in good manageable bites, which are easy to follow.

Page 21 - now what is frivolous about Pig Latin ? (OK, OK, joke : ) -
just to show I am paying attention....)

I would have liked Page 24 a lot earlier on the site, especially the diagram. 

Specialised Searches section: Page 27 - I don't think the toolbar is
compatible with Win '95, for those people still using this version of
Windows - they are still out there.

This section is fun and has all sorts of useful tools - why not call
it "Special tools" or something that doesn't suggest that it contains
yet more complicated refinements of Advanced Searching. Again, the
pages are a good length and easy to assimilate.

The menu is slightly misleading, since it suggests that Froogle and
Catalogs are on two different pages.

Of course, I approve of the Google Answers page !

I  think I'd put the Links page after the Index page, since the Index
is important, and the links are suited to an Appendix.

Congratulations again, it's an excellent site.  I actually encountered
most difficulty with your Home page and the front end generally. Once
I was into the tutorials themselves it all ran fairly smoothly, and
was interesting to follow through..

As I said at the top - it's just fine-tuning.

Search strategy:

None required. Client gave URL for assessment.
nancyb-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Thank you for your wonderful feedback. As you may have noticed, I've
implemented many of your suggestions and I hope to incorporate a few
more shortly.

There are no comments at this time.

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