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Old 09-23-2006, 05:10 AM   #1
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Default SAT PracticeTest

I created a new SAT Test Prep website, www.satprepplan.com, and would like to get feedback on the site from an ESL perspective. The site is fully functional; the most interesting bit about it is the custom study plan creation tool. Students take the SAT practice test and then a custom prep plan is created for them based on their strengths, weaknesses, times to study, and time until the test. SAT Prep Plan also includes a bunch of practice problems, problem solving videos, SAT vocabulary, tips and other prep materials.
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Old 09-24-2006, 05:50 AM   #2
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Default Post a new thread

You should post this request in a new thread, probably in Web Site Design. Over here, it is buried in type discussions.

That said, your HTML is filled with double quote marks, especially in alt="" parameters, and that should be fixed.
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Old 09-24-2006, 06:00 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by dthomsen8 View Post
You should post this request in a new thread, probably in Web Site Design. Over here, it is buried in type discussions.
Right you are, David. Done.

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Old 09-24-2006, 10:12 AM   #4
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I don't do website design but as a user I would like to see the whole site centered on my screen instead of left aligned (I'm running 1280x1024) and some kind of graphic or banner on the top of the first page (similar to Apple.com but maybe smaller, like 1/3 or 1/2 that size) to tell me hey this is the first page.
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Old 09-24-2006, 10:59 AM   #5
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English is not my second language but XHTML is..

The left aligned and narrow table used to hold the content put me right off. Did you really mean to use a 600px narrow table for the content? Monitor resolution has moved on a lot over the last few years. I'd also look at the code used - HTML4.01 was really superceded in 2000, six years ago. There are more than a few errors, see this W3C test result. I would suggest you specify a body background colour in your CSS as the pages looked a bit silly against my browser default pink background. Don't rely on people having a browser default of white.

I had difficulty reading the text, mainly because it seems that every sentence is interrupted with bold text. I did try the test - well a couple of questions, but found it hard to see what was required to complete them. Perhaps that's because Queen's English is my prime language.

Interesting concept.


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Old 09-25-2006, 04:48 AM   #6
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A few things. The underrules are very annoying. Not your fault, we have to blame Tim Berners-Lee for that. But you could use a different color for links, and have the underlines appear only when the mouse is hovering over them.

Also, was the page built on a Mac? There are many unrecognized characters appearing as rectangles on my machine. For instance
Students begin testing on Oct. 9
starts with one. If this is a bullet, quote mark, or any other non-ASCII chartacter, it should be input as an entity so that it will work cross platform.
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Old 09-25-2006, 06:40 AM   #7
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In addition to Kelvyn's notes, which I agree with, I found the working of the test set quite confusing.

For instance, example text and questions about text are distinguished only by a subtle difference in font - a clearer outline of content (for instance with an outline or background color) would help with reading.

Overall, the use of radio buttons is particularly awkward, because it deviates totally from the standard by putting the prompt before the radio button instead of after it; the alternating background colors actually make it even harder here because the description of one radio button is actually closer to the background of the preceding one. I am sure that in at least one case this made me hit another button than the one intended one, however hard I tried to 'retrain" myself to look before the radio button for the answer instead of after it.

Then there is content - there are some confusions here, too. For starters, it's even hard to refer to a particular section, since several sections seem to have the same name. So... in the "first" maths section, no. 2/5, the graph is a point graph, but the labels along the bottom don't match up with lines but with the space between lines: there is no way to decide how to interpret the graph: which vertical line corresponds to which quarter?? There is actually one more vertical line with data points than there are labels!

The "second" writing section (essay) I found particularly weird. If the idea of an essay is to forms one's own opinion and defend this in the form of an essay, how can any answer (in the sample) be "correct"? The question asked is "is democracy the best form of government?" - but all possible answers seem to assume that it is the best form of government and clearly don't provide any space for a differing opinion. (Besides which, "democracy" is not a form of goverment by itself...)

But most of all, the whole layout (apart from the already mentioned wrong layout of the radio buttons) hinders rather than helps interpretation and usage of the site. For instance the colored bands at the top of rounded boxes do not support anything; the alternating colors on the radio buttons make it harder, not easier to use them, especially combined with the wrong layout. Instead, color could have been used to more clearly separate subject matter from questions about it (or another mechanism - but as it is, the distinction is not clear enough).

Another point (but maybe this the same in an actual SAT test?) is that it's rather roundabout to first list a number of questions, label them with letters, and then have radio buttons with the letter labels (before them) - why not make the list of possible answers directly into radio buttons? If you do this, the actual radio buttons would also "naturally" come before the prompt instead of after it just by replacing the letter label with the radio button itself.

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