Guidelines for Writing Website Reviews

Megan's picture

She has: 11,421 posts

Joined: Jun 1999

Everyone has useful comments to make about a website. Both new internet users and experienced web developers have important contributions to make. When you post your own site for review, please remember that if you take the time to help out others, you will get better feedback in return. Not only will you get more reviews from your peers, but more thorough ones that will help you to make your site even better!

How the Process Works

You are required to review other sites before your own request will be approved. When you post a new topic it will go into a moderation queue. The moderators will check to see if you have posted some reviews before releasing your thread. The critiques you post must meet some basic qualifications as set out below (under "What We're Expecting"). If you do not meet the posting qualifications you will receive a private message from the moderator as a reminder to complete your reviews.

Why Reviewing Other Sites is Required

The regulation was put in place to hinder those members who use this forum to spam our community, or simply to increase their linkbacks. Before we put the requirement in place we found that many people would post a "critique request" and not even return to the forum to read responses. This is spam.

In adddition to this, looking at other sites with a critical eye will help you become a better designer. Once you learn to pick out the flaws in other designs you will be better able to notice your own mistakes. If you have a legitimate reason for not reviewing other sites please contact an administrator to explain.

What We're Expecting

What we are looking for here is an honest effort. Three reviews are suggested, but even one good, thorough review may be enough. You are expected to come up with some constructive criticism for the sites you review. A one-line response is not enough! See the next section for some suggestions for things to include in your review.

The reviews you post should:

  • be a least 3 lines long
  • include some constructive feedback about the site

You are also expected to do this each time you request a review. If you post two sites, you are expected to do 6 reviews. If you repost your site again after several months you will be expected to post some additional reviews.

Exceptions may be made for members who participate regularly in other areas of the forum.

Tips for Writing Effective Website Reviews

From a user's perspective:

  • Is the site attractive to you? Why/why not?
  • Is it easy to use? Can you find what you're looking for?
  • Do you understand what the site is about?
  • If this site is offering a product or service, would you sign up or buy it?
  • If you were interested in this site's content, would you come back? Why/why not? If the site has a forum community, would you sign up and post? Why/why not?
  • Is the content good? Do you understand what the text is saying? Do you notice any spelling/grammar mistakes?

From a designer/developer's persepective

You may choose to comment on:

  • colour scheme
  • common design principles (alignment, white space, visual organization etc.)
  • common design mistakes
  • usability
  • appropriateness of design & contenet
  • branding & marketing
  • graphics quality
  • browser compatibility
  • resolution
  • function of widgets/dhtml/forms, et cetera
  • image compression
  • information architecture
  • consistency
  • coding/validation
  • use of technologies

Happy reviewing!

Responding to Website Reviews

When responding to reviews of your site, always be respectful of other people's opinions. Remember that your fellow members have spent valuable time and energy writing their reviews of your site. They are trying to help you make your site better. If you are dismissive, disrespectful, or argumentative they may feel as if they have wasted their time writing a review of your site. Other members may see this response and refrain from helping you in the future.