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A brief critique of the http://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/ web site on 13/02/2014.
Description: Overall the site appears to be a cobbled together set of limitations, barriers and the what seems like a good idea at the time
A brief critique of the http://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/ web site on 13/02/2014 from the perspective of the survivor/victim stakeholders.
Content is King
Ease of access to information is of essential importance. These are achieved through categorisation of data (information/content - what you see on a web page.), Alphabet list of pages, site map, drill down methods, breadcrumbs, category pages, menu, standard or advanced search tools.
Alphabet list of pages > not found on the Royal Commission site
site map > not found on the Royal Commission site
Drill down methods > not found on the Royal Commission site
Breadcrumbs > not found on the Royal Commission site - understandable due to the poor categorisation and presentation
Category pages > not found on the Royal Commission site- understandable due to the poor categorisation and presentation
Menu > A drop down menu is operated, links to category pages are disabled. A limited set of at times obscurely worded options are available via the drop down.
Standard search tool > not found on the Royal Commission site
Advanced search tool > not found on the Royal Commission site
Navigation is about finding things and getting around
Overall the navigation of the site is of the poorest standard. Feature wise the site barely has enough to rate and thus is of the poorest standard.
The site appears to be a piggly wiggly splattering of various forms of data. Some content pages are presented as HTML, others are available as downloads in either the propriety PDF format or in the propriety Microsoft Windows format. No consideration appears to have been given towards publishing this material in HTML format or to making downloadable versions available in Open Document format.
Data is presented in an unfriendly way and in a manner that is entirely unsuited to the victim/survivor segment of the target audience. Both formats of the downloadables suffer from a number of issues with regard to having the same content, copy/paste issues, suitability for search engine indexing and subsequent search engine results.
The Royal Commission web site is well below average in this area resulting in poor search engine positioning and poor results from the user perspective when searching via a search engine.
A side bar of insignificant proportions
A side bar offers addition links with information on how you can tell your story to the Royal Commission . Information on the receiving page is incomplete and presented in a variety of ways. Links to essential information are scattered throughout the text. These links take the user to content that is only found in a different propriety format that separates the user from the navigation system of the site. Links on the tell us Your Story page take the user to a new page to present them with a page containing a group of links pointing to further information. The skill and education level of the survivor/victim segment of the target audience has not been considered well enough as with the style of linking employed a user can quickly find themselves 2 pages and an instance of propriety software removed from the important information they were part way through reading. A band-aid solution that may improve this slightly would be to add a full list of associated files in the side bar.
The side bar provides links to social media Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. Both Facebook and Twitter appear to be well utilised by the Royal Commission though there appears to have been no consideration with regard to publishing news and information released in either of these mediums via the pages of its own web site. Data and reference are disconnected and distributed through 3 different domains, two of which are social media sites. The survivor/victim tart audience demographic appears to not have been a consideration. On this aspect the site must be rated as below par with added navigation, propriety software requirements, domain level issues with no consistency in the areas of content availability and accessibility of all available content from a single source/location ; this has resulted in the poorest possible experience for this demographic.
Audio and video are everywhere on the web today except here
The Youtube Channel does not appear to have been updated for several months with only 2 videos available. The target audience is made up of a high number of users with medium to low Internet skills and a large number who have limited literacy skills. However many continue to attempt the task under obviously difficult circumstances. It may be of interest for the Royal Commission to learn that some in the target audience segment despite not having the ability to read or write or have limited skills in this area as a result of the abusive environment in which they were raised do have the ability to use the Internet in a graphical sense; these users place a high relevance and reliance on the availability of video and audio. This appears to have been skipped over entirely. NB links are often provided to those who cannot read by others in the demographic who assist in this regard. Visually impaired users may be assisted in a small way through the use of the chunky large format style of the present web; of course this can easily be addressed through the use of the familiar links the visually impaired know to seek out which permits them to control the size of the text or they rely on their own screen readers to provide suitable enhanced text sizes. The site does offer a link to information to assist those with hearing or speech impairment make contact with the Royal Commission.
The side bar next provides the opportunity to subscribe to updates by entering your first and last names and your email address. While subscribing does appear to work on an ad hoc, irregular or random basis . The addition of information that informs the reader that entering your first and last names is optional for those who feel the need for a sense of confidentiality or anonymity so often sought after by survivors of institutional abuse when dealing with other bodies and organisations.
Some may find the additional menu at the bottom of the page more helpful than the main menu system.
Frequently asked question infrequently updated
It appears that there has been no need to add additional information to this page since early August 2013. (REVISED 12/8/2013 BY DDF). A more detailed review may show that this is simply a lone artifact that someone thought was a good idea at the time and then forgot all about it and the process. The site appears to use a different form of notification for information relating to evidence, transcripts and other when it is formatted for propriety software that may better suit the legal fraternity or for other unspecified reasons.
The required 1 minute ill-informed drive-by Internet psychoanalysis to reassure that you are duped into the myth of perpetual and irrevocable damage or as Lewis Blayse may have once said - just making sure you remember who you are and ensuring you remain a victim of little consideration as you are permanently and irrevocably harmed and damaged despite what biology and neuroscience tells us today about recovery from these forms of abuses.
While content may be king for the visitor and the search engine, the content on the Royal Commission web site is certainly not made for the Internet medium. When considering the needs of those who may suffer from OCD, PTSD, ADHD or other issues as a result of their abuse it would be better for them to remain users of the site rather than giving the appearance that someone in the throes of a bout of ADHD, OCD or PTSD had control over the design of the site.Overall the site appears to be a cobbled together set of limitations, barriers and the what seems like a good idea at the time type of site that is not suited well to the needs of its intended audience if indeed they have been considered at all.
There is more that I can say.
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