RIA Site Critique-Abby Legge

September 3, 2013 |  by  |  Inspiration, Project One, Student Work  | 

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At first I chose “Your Tour” because of the cool and clean UI first presented.  I also chose it because it was associated with Google, and Google usually puts out things that are very cool technologically, but also appeals to us as humans.  This is seen especially with their ads, and the title of “Your Tour” just continued to demonstrate their way of emotionally drawing in an audience.  Once I began to play with it, however, I knew that I just had to explore it further.  The purpose of the site is to take the user on the Tour de France from start to finish.  It also weaves in history and social media posts to really show the user what it was like, and how people are feeling about it now.  It also seeks to immerse the user with photos and videos that make the user feel as if they are on the trail.

User Profile

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I would say that the user profile boils down to anyone who has an interest in the Tour de France, or a fascination with the technology that Google used to put it together.  The ages range anywhere 15 and over, mainly because of the universal appeal of the Tour de France itself.  It is an enigma in sporting culture, and even in common culture, as it is the ultimate test of endurance and strength.  These are two things that most of us aspire to have.  The majority of users probably have interests in biking, sports, endurance races, the race itself and/or the technology that made this experience possible.

Most users would range anywhere from student, to banker, to nurse and everything in between.  Again, I believe because the Tour de France appeals to the basic human desire to win despite obstacles.  This opens this site up to appeal to the masses.  The race itself comprises of athletes from all over the world, so many various cultural backgrounds are invested in this race.  Perhaps, however, the dominant culture would be the United States, because of our emphasis on sports and the fact that Google is an American-based company.  Yet, the site is also available in French, so it opens it up to anyone who knows English and/or French at the very least.  The user would need definite access to broadband, and probably would be more adept at technical abilities.  The instructions however are very clear, so even more novice users of technology would be able to follow along.

User Interface

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The UI itself is very clean and keeps to the Google brand in color, type and whimsical but intelligent feel.  There is a static grey bar at the bottom that when using the site, displays the progress along the “stage” that you are in.  The images that you see before you switch between video, images, Google Maps and graphics all depicting the journey you are on.  In the beginning, there are clear instructions on how to move through the site (fast paced scrolling!) and reminder arrows pop up in case you stop.

I believe this all works very well, as it gives a good platform for the images displayed as well as makes the user feel immersed.  The colors, while vivid, are used sparingly and do not detract from the content presented.  They made a wise choice in choosing a tar grey and a yellow reminiscent of street lines.  It all subconsciously adds to the feel of being on the road.  If there is anything that doesn’t feel right, it is the distracting “Report a Problem” and “Images © 2010 Google” tabs that pop up in the content window as you bike through the stage.  They are distracting and I believe would have better been placed in the static menu bar below with all of the other items that are more global nav-oriented.


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As I mentioned before, the navigation directions given are clear, concise and in big bold type.  Every stage operates by the same scrolling method, and there is always a big “back” button in the top left corner in order to return to the beginning.  Language options are easily seen in the menu below as are links that lead you to social media, the Tour’s main website and an About pop-up.  Because this is created by Google, a lot of the familiar elements you see in Google Maps are still present and function in the same way.  For instance, you scroll through a stage until you get to a Google Map of the route.  There is the typical compass in the bottom left corner though, that lets you navigate the map like you would any other.

The few things that didn’t work, are perhaps more based the user’s accessibility to the site. Moving through the site is all based on fast-paced scrolling, which is simple for those of us with touch mouse pads.  However, if one was using a typical mouse with a wheel scroll, I can see how the movement between video, maps and photos would be more jerky and less fluid.  Also, as wonderful and exciting it is to scroll quickly through the images as if you are racing with merely two of your digits, it gets fatiguing.  If one played with this all day, carpal tunnel would be looming on the horizon.  If there was an option to play through the content without scrolling, I think that would better accommodate more users.