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Website Evaluation Questions

Presented below are some questions to ask when assessing or evaluating a Web site.  For an explanation of these criteria, see Web Site Assessment and Evaluation

Criteria for Assessing the Quality of Information

These five criteria are useful for assessing the quality of a site as a resource, as well as evaluating the quality of a site's content. They come from the following college library sites: Evaluation Criteria from The Good, The Bad & The Ugly: or, Why It's a Good Idea to Evaluate Web Sources and Cornell University Library's Five Criteria for Evaluating Web Pages.

1.  Is the information accurate?

  • Is the information reliable and free of errors?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or punctuation mistakes?
  • Can the facts be verified in another source?
  • Is there an editor or someone to verify the information presented?

2.  Who is the author and what are his/her credentials?

  • Is it clear who the author is?
  • Is the author a qualified expert with credentials listed?
  • Is there contact information or an email address included?
  • Where is the document published (.edu, .org, and .gov are preferred)?
  • Who is the sponsor of the site?
  • Are there advertisements?

3.  How objective is the source?

  • What kind of bias (explicit or implied) does the page have?
  • What are the opinions expressed?
  • Is the page an advertisement?
  • Are there obtrusive pop-up windows?
  • Is the advertising clearly differentiated from the informational content?
  • Is it clearly stated why the page was written and for whom?
  • Is the information presented objectively?

4.  How current is the information?

  • Is the page dated?
  • When was the last update?
  • Are the links current or have they moved or expired?
  • Is any information on the page outdated?

5.  How extensive is the coverage of information?

  • What topics are covered?
  • Is the purpose and scope of the site clear?
  • How comprehensive is the site?
  • How in-depth is the material?
  • Is the information useful?
  • Is the site easy to navigate?
  • Does it contain an index, site map or FAQ?
  • What does the page offer that is not found elsewhere?
  • How interactive is the site?
  • Is there a balance of text and images?
  • Does the site back its arguments with specific evidence?
  • Is the information cited correctly?
  • Was permission or licensing obtained for the use of copyrighted images and multimedia?
  • Are there fees for obtaining the information?
  • Can the information be viewed properly?

Criteria for Evaluating the Quality of a Website

The criteria below are loosely taken from judging criteria, which has a five star points system for determining the "best" sites on the Web.

1.  How universally accessible is the site?

  • Does it load quickly?
  • Is it viewable in different browsers?
  • Is it viewable in different operating systems?
  • Is it available for people with disabilities?
  • Can it be understood by people with various levels of education and/or from different cultural backgrounds?

2.  Is the site well-designed?

  • Is there an over-all integration of design throughout the website?
  • Does the design allow for easy navigation?
  • Is it visually appealing?
  • How is the use of spacing, layers, tables, borders, dividers and backgrounds?
  • Is the page design overwhelming or confusing?
  • How appropriate is the use of color and shapes?
  • Is there a unified feel to the site?
  • Is the font readable?

3.  Does the site contain high quality content?

Use the Criteria for Assessing the Quality of Information listed above: accuracy, authority, objectivity, currency, and coverage.

4.  Are Internet technologies fully utilized?

  • Does the way in which technologies are used fit with the purpose of the site?
  • Are there uses of technology that detract from the site's purpose or appeal (i.e. long FLASH intros, obtrusive use of sounds and animations, etc.)?
  • Are multimedia aspects of the Web emphasized?
  • Are interactive technologies used (i.e. chat rooms, bulletin boards, optional sound, video or games, surveys, search options, Java programs, etc.)?
  • Is the site technologically impressive?

5.  How original/creative is the site?

  • How unique is the Web site?
  • Is it distinguishable from other similar sites?
  • Is the site distinct and memorable?
  • Does the site offer things not found elsewhere?
  • How much of the site is original material?