Tourism and information technologies (ICTs) are two of the most dynamic motivators of the emerging global economy. Without a doubt, technology has progressed such that work patterns has been revolutionised in turn and the tourism industry can now go hand in hand together (Buhalis, 2003). The travel and tourism has always been among the first to take advantage of the new technology. It is an information-rich one with its products and services being intangible, consumable, consumer oriented and expressively tempting. As the services are intangible, consumers are highly dependent on the type of information available prior to buying the product. They want the latest, high-speed and interactive information for 24 hours a day (Zhou, 2003). Regardless of the purpose of the website, they all must be designed with an eye to enhancing the user experience (Mohr et al, 2004). Therefore, it is of prime importance for the website to attract its target consumers. To have a better understanding of a website, the evaluator will start by defining the aspects of a good website and the four components which make a good website.
A critical evaluation of existing e-tourism website including the development for a new “fun and information” service for the chosen website The chosen website: www.travelbelize.org
Evaluation of a website is based on four components as follows: 1. Design
Any website should be able to offer an outstanding user experience through a well-designed online customer interface which includes the content, context, community, customisation, communication and commerce. The website’s design is from time to time described as the “look and feel”, where some are more visual with the purpose to craft a mood or image through many graphics, sound and video. However others are functional including large texts. It should always consist of relevant content that the user need and the site must be user-friendly and easily navigated (Mohr et al, 2004). A good graphic design should make it an enjoyment to look around the site but it is the design itself that has to convey the message and not the way round. The configuration and interface of a website have to be vigilantly considered before the authentic design can take place. Hence the significance of the graphic design of a site must not be underestimated (Kraak & Brown, 2001). Design of Belize website
The design of Belize website is no doubt very attractive and its layout is very much consistent throughout. Browsing through each page seems to indicate that there is a consistent flow of colours, even if the colour of the headings changes the user does not get too influenced by it. It means that the pages keep the user focused on the motive for visiting the site. Getting to the main page, with a clear indication of its aim saying ‘Be one with Belize’, gives the user an overall indication of what to expect from the site. For example it shows about Belize, places to see, things to do, plan your visit and it features a video where users forehand experience the beauty and natural wonders of Belize along with the countless activities available for visitors to Belize. An additional feature showing Belize weather has recently been added which is very informative. The font is very clear, simple and unambiguous. Users can easily read and find the information they are looking for. On the whole, the design of the site is quite straightforward where the user can navigate pages without any difficulty. However the evaluator has observed that even though the site is simple, there is room for improvement in the design. For example, when browsing there seem to be a lack of pictures and more texts. This is of major significance as users will prefer to have a more visual site rather than reading pages with huge amount of texts. The design can be improves on by including more pictures, use of fresh...
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