Project 4: Website Analysis Report

Worth 20% of your final grade

Important Dates

  • April 14: Group Choice of Website Section (1 in-class writing credit)
  • April 18: Group Work Statement, Audience Analysis, and Website Analysis Checklist due (3 in-class writing credits)
  • April 25: Group Progress Report (1 in-class writing credit)
  • April 28: Group Sign up for Oral Presentation Slots
  • May 5 and May 7: Group Written and Oral Reports due by the end of the day on which your group presents
  • May 7: Individual Evaluation of Group Members

The Project Assignment

You are a student at Virginia Tech and have been chosen for a web analysis project. The Division of Student Affairs (DSA) is revising the Career Services website during Summer 2014. Your group has been directed to select a portion of the Career Services website, determine how effective it is, and then make specific recommendations to the project manager, Holli Drewry, the Assistant Director of Communications and Innovative Technologies, for improving the site.

Drewry oversees the DSA’s web presence, and she is eager to get feedback from students who use the website. Speaking about the project, Drewry explains, “Please make sure you can backup your recommendations with evidence. We need some concrete ideas for improving the site by the end of the term so we can implement them this summer.” By the last week of classes, your team will deliver a written recommendation report for Drewry and give an oral presentation to the class highlighting your findings and recommendations.

This activity is a service-learning project. Drewry is a real person, and your written report will be delivered to her and will affect the revision of the Career Services website. As you are working on your analysis and recommendations, always keep in mind that you are writing for a real audience and purpose.


To analyze the website “Designing Web Sites,” pp. 169-174 of Markel
VT Branding Guidelines
VT Web guidelines & procedures
To write your group recommendation report Chapter 13 of Markel
To present your recommendations Chapter 15 of Markel

Assignment Details

You and your group will complete eight different tasks for this project, all of which are explained here. Five of the activities will count as in-class writing. For each of these tasks, your group will turn in one document and all group member will get in-class writing credit for the work. You will (1) choose a section of the website, (2) compose a group work statement, (3) analyze the audience for your section of the website, (4) develop a website analysis checklist, and (5) write a progress report. The project grade for this assignment will be based on your group’s (6) recommendation report and (7) oral presentation as well as your (8) individual evaluation of group members.

(1) Choose a section of the Career Services website (in-class writing credit)
Your group will choose one of the following sections of the Career Services for this project. You will begin with the page you choose and explore the related pages that are linked from that page. Only one group can sign up for each section.

  1. Career Services Home Page
  2. Site Menus and Navigation (Holli explains, “I’d like their thoughts on what the main navigation headings should be knowing that the navigation will be changing to horizontal like the main pages.”)
  3. Explore careers/majors
  4. Get experience
  5. Grad | Prof School
  6. Job & internship search guide
  7. Health Professions Advising
  8. Career Resource Center
  9. Frequently Asked Questions
  10. Employer services
  11. Faculty/staff services
  12. Alumni resources
  13. Parent information
  14. Publications
  15. Advising
  16. Contact Us AND Our Staff
  17. News & announcements AND Events
  18. Location AND Office Hours

Claim your section during class on April 14.

(2) Compose a group work statement (in-class writing credit)
As a group, compose a memo to Traci that outlines the policies and details that will guide your group as you work on the project. The memo will serve as your group’s agreement on how you will work on this project. You can use the memos by the Fantastic Four, the TMNT, and the WWE Group as examples. The memo should include the following information:

  • List of group members and the contact information that group members can use to keep in touch with one another.
  • Group responsibilities (division of labor) for the project. For instance, who will serve as the chair? Who is responsible for making sure work is posted? Who is writing what? Responsibilities may evolve as the group works, but you should at least choose a chair who will keep the group on track.
  • Communication policies that account for how the group will deal with deadlines, questions, and absences.
  • Location for working drafts, notes, and other group work. I recommend you set up a shared folder on Google Docs. Please share your work space with me as well.
  • Tentative timeline for the work on the project. You’ll need to choose a date for the rough draft of your written report, a date for a draft of your presentation materials, and so forth.

Email Traci the Google Share Link for your group work statement by 5 PM on April 18.

(3) Analyze the audience for your section of the site (in-class writing credit)
Use Chapter 4 of Markel to identify the different audiences who will come to the section of the website you are analyzing. Determine their purpose, attitude, and expectations for the site. You can use the questions in the Writer’s Checklist on page 76 of Markel to guide your analysis. This task is similar to the work you did when you analyzed the audience of the technical document in Project 1. Email Traci the Google Share Link for your audience analysis by 5 PM on April 18.

(4) Develop a website analysis checklist (in-class writing credit)
As users of numerous websites, we constantly make split-second judgments about whether or not sites are usable. In other words, we quickly decide whether a site helps or hinders our ability to complete a specific task. We tend to return often to sites that are easy to navigate, while we stop visiting sites that are overly confusing or unhelpful. As a team, study the materials in “Designing Web Sites” (pp. 169-174 of Markel) until you have a strong grasp on the key terms, concepts, and practices. Once you do, customize the Writer’s Checklist for “Designing Web Sites and Pages” on page 175 of Markel so that you can use the questions to analyze the portion of the site your group has chosen. The checklist in the book is for someone who is creating a website. You are analyzing a portion of a site, so the questions need to change to reflect your purpose. Email Traci the Google Share Link for your audience analysis by 5 PM on April 18.

(5) Write a progress report (in-class writing credit)
Write a progress report (1 to 2 single-spaced pages) that outlines what your group has completed, what work you still have to do, and how you plan to complete the remaining work for the project. Outline any questions or concerns you have that may affect your group’s progress. See pp. 302–304 in Markel for resources on writing your report. Email Traci the share link to your progress report by 5 PM on April 25.

(6) Write the recommendation report (project grade)
Together, you will write a recommendation report (5–7 single-spaced pages, including all pages) detailing your group’s analysis and making recommendations for improvement. Your report will be addressed directly to Holli Drewry. (I will pass the document along to Drewry.) The report should describe the process you used to analyze the site, present your findings, and make specific recommendations for improving the site. The most successful reports will include several annotated images, either from the original site or from mockups that you have created to demonstrate your proposed changes. This assignment does not require you to know or learn HTML, so you may choose to create mockups in Photoshop or another image editing program. For details on the information typically included in a recommendation report, see Table 13.1: Elements of a Typical Report, on page 320 of Markel. Email Traci the Google Share link to your report by 11:55 PM on the day of your group’s oral presentation.

(7) Prepare and deliver an oral presentation (project grade)
During one of the last two class sessions of the term (May 5 and 7), your group will deliver an oral presentation accompanied by slides (e.g., Google Presentation); Traci will play the role of the project manager during these presentations, and your classmates will pretend to be members of DSA web team. Your presentation should be roughly 5–7 minutes in length, followed by Q&A. Your presentation should involve all members of your group as equally as possible. Email the Google Share link to your presentation by 11:55 PM on the day of your group’s oral presentation. Sign-up for group presentations will take place in class on April 25.

(8) Write an individual evaluation of group members (project grade)
By 11:55 PM on May 7, you will post your evaluation of the members of your group and of your classmates’ presentations in Scholar. After all of the presentations, you will answer four questions about the oral presentations to let me know about your work and how your group collaborated:

  1. What did you contribute personally to your group’s work?
  2. What percentage of the work did each member of your group do (including yourself)?
  3. What did each group member contribute to the project?
  4. Assume that your group presentation was the best. Which of the remaining presentations did you consider the second best and why?

Your evaluation must be submitted on time so that I can calculate grades for the term. If you fail to submit your individual evaluation, you will lose points on your project grade.

Evaluation and Class Attendance

The group presentation project is worth 20% of your course grade. This grade will be based on your group’s written recommendation report, your oral presentation, your individual participation and effort, and your group assessment. The overall grade for the group project will be an individual grade. Members of the group probably will not all earn the same grade. To determine the grade, I determine a base grade for the group written and oral reports, and then, as appropriate, I shift the grade for each group member up or down depending upon the effort I have seen the person contribute to the project as well as the assessments included in the individual evaluation of group members.

In-class writing from this point on in the class will typically be group work that one group member emails me the Google Share link for (e.g., your group work statement, your audience analysis). Work done in class during these final weeks cannot be made up. If your work is not posted on time, all group members will receive a zero. If you have not contributed to the group documents, you will receive a zero while group members will receive full credit. You have to contribute to earn the credit for the in-class writing for this project. Note that there are five planned in-class writing credits for this project, but additional writing may be added as appropriate.

Attendance from this point on in the course is crucial. You will have time during class the rest of the term to work on this project. I expect you to attend every class session, to be on time, and to work the entire class period. Attendance and working diligently while in the classroom will figure into the individual participation portion of the group presentation grade.

Credit: This assignment was adapted from Quinn Warnick’s archived site, with his kind permission.