It’s that time of year again. Most students are back from their summer holidays, settling in to the old routine AKA mass procrastination to avoid their homework. These avoidance techniques commonly include starting a “WPR”, or “web page review [site]”. It’s a harmless pastime, but it never fails to amuse me how many of these WPRs are dishing out bad advice, or missing key points altogether. I’ve picked upon a few problems at the first 3 WPRs I came across this evening…
Starting with Indubitable Reviews, already I see 4 HTML errors because an id is being used where a class would be better suited. Not a major issue on the grand scale of things, but as the accessibility statement claims that “
All the pages on this site validate as xHTML 1.0 Strict” it’s a little bit like false advertising.
The reviews themselves are quite short, and offer little in the way of actual suggestions. There seems to be a lot of ass-kissing going on for a WPR that’s advertising itself as “blunt” (About Us – second paragraph). The review of Kaylee’s Reliquesce for example, tells us that said site is “impressive” but I see no such thing. The site is nice, sure enough, usable and aesthetically pleasant even… but hardly what I’d call “impressive”. Web Designer Wall — now that’s impressive.
My suggestion for Indubitable Reviews would be to try and focus less on being some sort of accessibility expert (really, you don’t need the access keys) and more on the individual websites. Explain in greater detail the benefits of Kaylee adding a search bar (ease of use, etc), or why Alex should elaborate on his pet peeves (increased keyword placement, more interesting reading).
Moving on to Shattered Moment Reviews and we have a WPR that claims to be “one of the best WPRs on the Web”. I would expect this WPR to be the cream of the crop, because not only is it supposedly one of the best, but the owner advertises his “straight A’s in English”. This must mean that
the unnecessary capitalisation of web , and the unneeded apostrophe in “A’s” are total accidents.
The reviews themselves are not as brief as Indubitable, but are much the same in terms of ass-kissing. I also see a lot of paragraphs along the lines of “you have this error, but I’m not sure what the culprit is”; I thought the point in being a reviewer was to impart greater knowledge on those who ask for reviews? Apparently things have changed since my day.
Keira of verbalism.org is told that because her “Writings” are articles she can expect them to be reviewed, and then they’re not touched upon. This, despite the fact that one — “You and Your Blog Site” — basically tells us to write what we want. This article is virtually pointless and I would have mentioned it as such in a review. Furthermore, Keira’s site doesn’t validate and the transitional doctype is a cop-out. Again, two things that should have been mentioned.
Harlequin Reviews is probably the neatest of the lot, putting the focus straight onto the last reviewed website. Again though, the reviews are brief. (Did spending 3 days writing a review go out of fashion?) I feel more time could be spent reviewing the content of each website, especially blogs — even if you simply add your opinions of how well its written (or not, in some cases).
For the benefits of semantics, the pending reviews would be better in a list (
<ol>) and the site header should not be inside a link (instead the link should be inside the header). Instead of the list of “Read?” links on the Reviews page, a more keyword-rich/SEO friendly approach would be to use link text such as “Review of [name]’s site [site name]” or suchlike. Of course, I’m being anal for the sake of it there.
All in all, the quality of reviews from these flash-in-the-pan reviewers has gone up since I started reviewing (“Splash page? 2000 points!”) but there’s still a lot of hodge-podge attempts out there with a mixture of both useless and sometimes wrong advice. Submit for a review if you’re brave, but don’t put all your faith in one person. Don’t forget that quantity doesn’t necessarily equate to quality, either.