Evaluation of a set of three health-related websites

In this paper, we evaluate a set of three medical related websites namely www.nln.org for the National league of Nursing, www.nursingworld.org for the American Nursing Association, www.ama-assn.org for the American Medical Association and the https://www.ncsbn.org/ for the National Council for State boards in Nursing. We also evaluate an Archives resource site namely http://thomas.loc.gov or the Thomas, the website of the Library of Congress of the United States of America.

Prior to presenting the evaluation we briefly describe each website: the purpose of these sites and their current set-up. We then go into the evaluation proper where we analyze the overall content, style and functionality of each site. In the overall content of the websites the quality of the information being presented and the comprehensiveness of the information is assessed. Moreover, how current the information located in the websites and where they were derived or from what authority this information was derived is also assessed. Lastly, in evaluating the style and functionality of the sites we take into consideration the layout or the manner content is presented within the sites, ease in navigating the sites, its compatibility with respect to various browsers, information space with respect to advertising pages, and the speed upon which it is accessed through the internet.

The first of the sites to be evaluated is www.nursingworld.org, the official website of the American Nursing Association (ANA). Briefly, ‘ANA is the only full-service professional organization representing the nation’s 2.9 million registered nurses (RNs) (About the American Nurses association, http://www.nursingworld.org/about/)’ that advances nursing through imbibing high standards, promoting the economic welfare in their workplace and by proactively lobbying governmental agencies on issues affecting them.

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For the style and functionality of the website, the overall layout is easily understandable. The site can be easily navigated and the information is clearly sorted out for easy access, even though the site carries a lot of information it is surprisingly accessible. On the other hand, the address of the site (www.nursingworld.org) is a bit misleading if you were to guess what would be the site of ANA and a name as www.ana.org or www.americannursingassociation.org may have been the better URL. The use of images instead of flash movies may have the decreased the site’s overall aesthetic impact to the user but without the use of flash movies, the site can then be easily accessible from any computer with varying internet speed with information prompting fast. Lastly for the evaluation of the www.nursingworld.org, the information relative to the advertisements, they are separated clearly in order to reduce the clutter and make browsing easier.

The second site is www.ama-assn.org or the American Medical Association (AMA). AMA ‘helps doctors help patients by uniting physicians nationwide to work on the most important professional and public health issues’ (‘The AMA mission’, http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/category/1815.html). Although it is similar to the initiatives and programs of ANA, AMA has a wider market as it focuses on the entire medical profession.

For the overall content of the site, it has similarities as that of the ANA site, with additions of ‘professional resources section’ for medical practitioners and ‘med school & residency site‘ for medical students. Most of the information is up to date except for the annual report is only has the 2005 annual report. In addition, the site’s information is taken from credible sources, which are also accessible in the site.

 As for the overall layout of the site, the vast information is batched together in a clear and easily understandable manner such that users can browse through the site easily. The site utilizes flash movies that make the site more appealing and further imbibes to the users the vision and mission of AMA. Apart from what was mentioned above, there are however no significant or innovative means of presenting data seen from the ANA and the AMA site.

The third website is www.nln.org which is the site for the National League for Nursing (NLN). The purpose of NLN is similar to that of ANA but is slightly varied. According to its purpose (http://www.nln.org/aboutnln/ourmission.htm), the NLN ‘advances excellence in nursing education that prepares the nursing workforce to meet the needs of diverse populations in an ever-changing healthcare environment.’ This purpose is done through achieving the goals of Nursing education, Faculty development, Research in Nursing Education, Data collection, assessment and evaluation and Public Policy.

For the overall content of the site, information pertinent to the goals mentioned above is clearly visible. Users who wish to participate in achieving one of the goals or for anyone who would just want to browse through the site can easily go to a specific heading and see its related sections. In terms of the currency of the documents, most of the documents are up to date however there are some documents such as the calendar of activities of NLN, which are still in need of updating (the calendar is still 2006).

As for the overall layout, the site has a asymmetric design, departing from the modular and common website design that sets it apart from the rest of the websites being evaluated although the site uses only simple graphics to present its content. The site can easily be navigated, with information clearly divided and grouped together into concise headings that make it easier to browse through. Lastly, uploading time for the site is suitable for users with varying Internet bandwidths due to its low-memory web design, thus information no matter the manner of Internet access can easily acquire information.

Another site evaluated is https://www.ncsbn.org/, the site for the National Council for State Boards for Nursing (NCSBN). The NCSBN is a United States-state wide organization aiming to promote and advance regulatory excellence in Nursing for public protection (‘Mission and Values,’ https://www.ncsbn.org/182.htm).

For the overall content of the site, it has comprehensive content mostly pertaining to the nursing profession and for the regulatory nursing boards, each other that implies that their site presents specific, relevant and concise information that complement each other. The documents are well cited with authorities in the field clearly stated accompanying any research or paper they did for NCSBN. Overall the site is up to date, with sections for instance the calendar of activities that go as far presenting dates of activities for this year in advance, which is good for most people. However there are sections in the site that still need to be updated, sections such as the News releases and the annual report.

As for the style and functionality, the site is more “cleaner” than the others in terms of the layout. The information is presented in such a way that even though there is a lot of information presented, the website is still able to present it in a simple manner that would not make the user “disoriented.” The site can be easily navigated with all the information easily accessible. The site however goes back to the symmetric design unlike the site of NLN. The site utilizes simple flash presentations in their homepage that gives an additional aesthetic impact to the user.

Lastly, we evaluate http://thomas.loc.gov/, the site for the Library of Congress of the United States of America. According to the section describing the site (http://thomas.loc.gov/home/abt_thom.html), ‘THOMAS was launched in January of 1995, at the inception of the 104th Congress. The leadership of the 104th Congress directed the Library of Congress to make federal legislative information freely available to the public.’ Currently is being maintained by the Library of Congress.

For the overall content of the site, its presents a multitude of information as concise as possible yet the site still appears to be heavily cluttered with information. However as compared to the other sites and the content they hold, Thomas is appreciably easy to understand-simple as it possibly can. In terms of the authority, the information presented by the Thomas is undoubtedly accurate and comes from directly from the source that is Congress. In addition, the documents stored in the site are the most current in the field, with daily updates coming directly from Congress. Links are also presented in the site that are relevant to users who wish to browse other relevant legislation.

In terms of style and functionality, the Thomas has a simple layout and aesthetic appearance as compared to the other sites. The main page is a bit cluttered so there is a possibility that first time users might get lost with regards to the immense information being presented and the one the user wishes to find. However the site boasts of a search engine for their database that is incredibly useful for users and researchers that would want to find the necessary information which adds up to the overall functionality of the website. Lastly, due to its simple web design, the site can be easily accessed with any Internet bandwidth at any location at any time.

References:

1.      The American Nursing Association. Retrieved Jan 13, 2006 from www.nursingworld.org

2.      The American Medical Association. Retrieved Jan 13, 2006 from www.ama-assn.org

3.      The Thomas, Library of Congress. Retrieved Jan 13, 2006 from www.thomas.loc.gov

4.      The National League for Nursing. Retrieved Jan 13, 2006 from www.nln.org

5.      The National Council of State boards of Nursing. Retrieved Jan 13, 2006 from www.ncsbn.org

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