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Detailed and critical analysis of the website There are, of course, many ways to evaluate a website and its

effectiveness. Many of these are highly technical and involve analysis of computer-generated metrics on site traffic, search engine optimisation, status of links and other basic site functionalities, extent of browser compatibility, adherence to web standards, and so on. However, I presume your question is more targeted towards an intuitive analysis and assessment of EurActives site design, content, functionality, ease of navigation, performance, and overall success in serving its target audiences. I hope that it wont work against me to state off the bat that I give the site very high marks and dont have many recommendations for improvements. This is undoubtedly because I have had only a few hours to devote to an analysis because of the relatively late submission of my application vis--vis the advanced stage of your selection procedure. I am sure that a more extensive analysis would yield some awareness of room for improvement. (It is always there!) In any case, I can share with you the criteria I use when evaluating a website and explain why I find the EurActiv site so successful. Content. I am first and foremost a writer, so for me, content is primordial and the first question I have is does the website make its raison-dtre instantly clear? A quick scan of the homepage tells me immediately that the site is multi-lingual, focussed on Europe, with an emphasis on policy analysis and development. Next, I look for an About Us section, either at the top or the bottom of the page, and then look to see if there is a mission statement and FAQ section. Your site of course has both (and I appreciate the distinction between concept and objectives and editorial mission), and they are well organised, well written and easily comprehensible. The Homepage is also very well laid out, so with a quick scan I can identify the various content sections. I appreciate that all advertising is clearly identified as such and find that the use of icons to indicate the different types of content improves my ability to quickly identify which content I wish to pursue in more depth. (This is not really a content comment, but I do also greatly appreciate when I navigate away from the page that I return to the section of the page where I was previously when I click on the browser return button to return to the homepage.) A strong content site also offers sufficient depth and breadth of content, meaning easily identifiable summary articles for when you need the quick overview, as well as links to in-depth and source documents for when research needs to be more comprehensive. I give EurActiv especially high marks on this score. I am not impeded by overly complex content when I dont want it, but the links to source documents are always right there when I need them. Another important content question for me is whether I can easily find contact information. Here I was somewhat dismayed that I could not easily find address and telephone information under the Contact Us heading, first locating it in the less intuitive About Us section, where I still had to scroll down the page in order to find the information, and only later discovering that it was included under the less intuitive Corrections, Reactions to Articles, and Comment to Publisher sections, where again I was obliged to scroll down the page to find any address or telephone contact information. Site Organization/Ease of Navigation. My next most important criterion in assessing a website is how easy it is on any given page to determine the answer to two questions: Where am I and where can I go from here? Here again the site receives high marks. Every page is clearly labelled at the top, and there are multiple ways to return to previous pages. The expandable policy sections make it very easy for me to pinpoint my options. My language choices are always available, as are the links to the various national portals and the standard information section at the bottom of each page. I can move forward and backward in my browsing with ease. Design Considerations. Once I know I can easily find the content I am searching for, I look to see how the graphic design enhances my ability to quickly and intuitively locate and identify the

nature of the content available on any given page. Once again, the EurActiv site receives high marks. Colour is used effectively to emphasize and delineate the various content sections. The use of ten-point black Arial type makes the site easily legible (I HATE the once ubiquitous light grey eight-point style, now thankfully on the decline). While pages are large and there are a great many options on each, pages are never cluttered, and a substantial amount of white space on each page helps to promote legibility and ease of navigation. Every page adheres to the same structure, so I always know where to look to find what I want. Graphics are often imaginative and evocative and are also selected to reinforce the various content sections. The icons to indicate types of content are also intuitively understandable. Lastly, a limited amount of Flash animation keeps the page dynamic and lively without assaulting the eye and an even more limited use of pop-ups does not negatively impact my viewing experience. About the worst I can say is that yellow and blue is not my favourite colour scheme, but thats a matter of personal taste! Functionality. Lastly, its important to asses the quality of the sites functionality. First, is it compatible with the most popular browsers? Ive become a Google Chrome fan, so I first accessed it using that browser and the site was fully functional. I did not encounter any problems either when accessing the site using Internet Explorer or Firefox, and the site appears to be just as functional when I access it on my sons iMac using Safari. Speed is an important consideration, especially for the busy professionals who need to get their information as quickly as possible. I encountered no undue delays in loading pages. I was somewhat surprised that video functionality is entirely missing from the site, but I presume this is a decision that has been taken based on user preferences. The site search engine is also highly functional, if just a tad slow (we all get so used to the Google standard!). I greatly appreciate that I can sort my results using a variety of criteria and also have the choice to segment results or view all results together. It is also helpful that an advanced search function allows me to screen results by language and date range and that I can search multiple terms using the standard connectors. I find the site also well designed in terms of its ability to meet the needs of a variety of users. EurActiv clearly knows its target audiences and has designed the site for maximum flexibility and ease of access for a variety of user groups. Meta issues. Finally, there are two questions I ask about websites on a somewhat higher plane. First, is the website an integral component of the companys overall marketing and communication plan, and does the company adhere to graphic consistency in both print and electronic media. I would bet my life that youve got that one covered. Finally, is the website not only consistent with the companys goals and mission, but does it further them? Here also, EurActiv comes up a clear winner. Congratulations!