Fern is Koya Bound (Ikra)

Website Analysis From An Admirer

Website: Koya Bound

Who is/are the author(s) of the page? Craig Mod & Dan Rubin, two photographers who hiked the Kumano Kodo for eight days in Japan. Mod is also a writer and Rubin a designer. Many patrons supported the website, the long list of names listed at the bottom of the site.

Who is the intended audience? Fellows travelers, hikers, and those more interested in learning about the Kumano Kodo or treks in general. 

What kind of information is the site providing? It provides information on the days, sites, experience and details of walking the Kumano Kodo (a journeyer’s handbook of sorts, but more personalized). It is also embedded with some cultural/historical background and visual imagery of the trek.

Is the design of the site well suited for the chosen content, functions, and audience? That is, is it easy for the user to navigate, search, and find answers? How so, how not so? On a scale of 1 to 10, I would give the site a 7 because it does accomplish what it intended— to share the journey of the Kumano Kodo with readers. However, there is system of categorization or organization. An archive that allowed readers to search for specific things, such as if I wanted to sort by day and only read the last day or I wanted to only read about the historic sites or the bus trips. In that sense, there is navigation or searching to find answers. The site tells a long story of a travel, and it would be better to be accompanied with a menu bar that has some other options of how to process the same information.

STEVE KRUG’S PRINCIPLES OF UX DESIGN APPLIED TO KOYA BOUND

Question: Does the site uphold Steve Krug’s principles of UX design? Which ones does it fulfill? Which ones does it depart from?

–> FULFILLS:
#1 Don’t Make Me Think (About the Design & Just Let Me Get into Your Content) : The website is super easy to scroll through with headings that tell us when we have switched days and a guided map on the side so we always no where we are geographically.
#2 Break Up Pages Into Clearly-Defined Areas:  While the site is only one “page,” the information is well-segmented with a visual hierarchy. Each day looks something like this:
——————————
FROM ONE PLACE TO ANOTHER (Faded & in caps CAPS)
DAY 1 (LARGEST FONT SIZE)
A catchy title to describe this day..(SECOND LARGEST FONT SIZE)

And here I began to describe this day’s walk….. (Regular Font Size)
———————————–
Mod & Rubin are consistent with technique throughout.

#3 It’s Obvious What’s Clickable (by the color and underlining)
#4 Paragraphs aren’t Too long and Scanning is Possible
#5 Doesn’t Have Much Clutter or Needless Words

–> DEPARTS FROM:
#1 Home Page: Where are you? Although, the beginning page
#2 Billboard Design 101: This relates to #3, but it’s hard to search for specific things on this site (or rather not really an option unless I use CTRL +F). You have to “scroll through the journey,” and this is likely a very intentionally-designed choice for the form to mirror the content of journeying. For my site it would be important to have some place where information is categorized.
#3 Persistent Navigation/Menu Bar: There is no “menu” because there is only one long page; although, the persistent map on the side could serve as a persistent navigation in sense of a MAP literally as the NAVIGATION (as opposed to a menu bar).

USING STEVE KRUG’S ADVICE & PRINCIPLES OF UX DESIGN…

How would you improve the presentation and/or design? This site is amazing, overall. I would use the map on the side & actually turn it into a menu bar where if I clicked on each city/village, I have sub-menu options to see “Artefacts,” “Historical Sites” & “Reflections.” I would also have a running menu bar at the top or on the left side that has some options like: Archive, About, Story. I would also add some background music, if possible. I may also include an oral narration/podcast of the story, so a reader could listen to the story as opposed to reading all of it. All of these suggestions along with some others such as a place that highlights significant moments or sites, are ways of having more options of the information in a more categorized, organized way that doesn’t LOSE the storytelling aspect but enhances it while keeping the story there as it is now.

What aspects of the site design or function would you like to apply to your own project and how? I would like to apply the form of storytelling or walking the reader through a journey to my project of holidays & holy-days, but with more pages. In my project, I would walk a person the story behind a given holiday. My site, I would ideally like, to be a combination of Bulger on Trial and Koya Bound together. The map on the side I want to retain but perhaps make it a calendar as opposed to a location-based map, if that’s possible. I also want to numerous images from documents, videos, and other artefacts related to my project that I come across during my research.

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