For this critiquing assignment, I decided to pick Youtube, since this is most definitely one of my frequently visited sites. I also ended up picking Preserving America’s freedom from the course website. Beginning with Youtube, I must say it’s no wonder why this website is so popular amongst users. Youtube has a very unique layout. The most popular or recent videos are posted daily on the homepage, to inform users on what’s new. The site definitely is easy to use and very simple. There’s a search box on the top of the page, so whatever a user wishes to watch or listen to is accessible. Another great aspect of Youtube is the fact that anyone can watch a video or listen to a song without subscribing to the site or registering. This doesn’t test a users patience. It’s very easy to access targeted videos on youtube. Another aspect of Youtube that is useful is when users watch a video, a list of recommended videos they might like will show on the side bar or underneath the previously viewed video. These recommendations are based on the content or genre of music a user searches in the first place. Users are also able to subscribe to videos of their interest and choice. When subscribing, the user will be informed whenever a new video is posted. Youtube also has a comment box for almost every video, so users can communicate with posters, as well as give their own personal feedback. Commentary is very important when it comes down to sites, because users want to voice their opinions. The only downfall of Youtube has to be the advertisements shown before most videos. This tests the users patience. I can’t begin to count the number of times I got fed up sitting through a 30 second advertisement, 5 seconds in I just left the site and decided to use a google mp3 player instead. Aside from the commercials, I would conclude that Youtube is definitely easily accessible, very simple, user friendly, the videos posted at the top of the home page is also a great attention getter for users, and Youtube is also interactive because users can post their own personal videos as well. Now with the Preserving America’s Freedom, this site was extremely informative. Had a lot of information that I found very useful. The header was very eye catching, especially with the cursive writing in the background. The references page was a great addition because it was a true indication that the site is credible and that’s very important to users. The tabs were organized and it was easy to access the information on the site. The timeline was a great tool to get further information on the topic, but the entire site lacked visual information. There weren’t many pictures or visual aids to maintain the users interest. Also, there wasn’t a comment box anywhere so users can’t leave their thoughts and give their personal feedback on the site. Overall, both sites had their strengths and weaknesses, but both were useful in their own ways.
The topic I was assigned was “Eugine Williams July 27, 1919.” I plugged in these key search words in both Google and the interactive database. After reading through the information, I realized right away that only trivial facts aligned. I couldn’t even find the name “Eugine Williams” in the Wikipedia page. Instead I was given an entire story on the “Chicago Race Riot of 1919,” but Mr. Williams story wasn’t found throughout the Wiki paragraphs. I also noticed that the database laid out specific information based on what I typed in. The database never gave me “extra” information, rather went in depth on Mr. Williams. For example: it stated the fact that his race was African American. The database was quite different from the usual Wiki page. Wiki portrays the facts in a story like way, while the interactive database lists the facts in a bullet point kind of way, with a small paragraph tie-ing all the information together. For example: Wiki begins with how the riot was a major racial conflict and leads into different sections that contain information about the background, riot, and other specific events that occurred within the riot. While gaining more information, researchers can build upon the information they gather by plugging in other key words in the database that apply. Again when comparing the database with the wiki page its apparent that the database is the tool to use when wanting to find specific information regarding a topic, along with all the specifics that accompany the topic. The Wiki page has references and a cited portion at the bottom of the page, meaning that their information is reliable. I wouldn’t say Wiki isn’t reliable or useful, but I do believe it shouldn’t be the only tool used when researching. I believe that Wiki gives you the big picture and helps a researcher get acquainted with a topic, but when specific information is required, the database is a very useful tool. Personally, I will be using a combination of the two when completing my research project.