Harry Potter site reviews
Date reviewed: Jul 6 2004, 02:15 PM
This is a hard one to judge. What makes a site original these days? Well, I really like the name, the layout, the design, the staff, and the language ;) but the content isnt revolutionary or new (it doesn't try to be or need to be). So 4 out of 5 for originality. (This doesn't hurt the final score.)
This is where it scores best. I just really dig top image with the Blair Witch symbol tied in with "Something Wicked.." and the pumpkin patch by Hagrid's Hut. But the best part is Ms. Joplin doesn't overdo the design like so many designers fall victim of. It's simple, speedy (load time) and smart.
Very clever to have the 10 latest news articles on the top-right of every page. She has also organized the navigation in a good, logical way. Everything is simple and best of all, she doesn't make me think! The only potential problem I see is in the top links, that are layed out in a breadcrumb style, but really aren't breadcrumbs. At first, people will likely think this is a breadcrumb trail system, when really it's just some handly links that you're likely to use often. Not a big deal, and i dont mark off points for it, just thought I'd point it out.
They have all the information you could want about Harry Potter, and links to all the best HP sites (including SS). They also have a great photo gallery with lots of pics of local events from here in Norway even!
A great Harry Potter site for all fans that can read and understand Norwegian. I imagine all our Scandinavian neighbors love it too!
Date reviewed: Apr 7 2004, 04:43 AM
I browsed around on this site for at least half an hour and couldn't find anything truly "original" about it.
The site does look nice, though I would prefer more stability. They've had at least 10 versions/layouts in less than a year! And none of them resemble the previous one in any way. I would suggest at least sticking to the same logo so people recognize where they are even if the colors and layout is changed.
There are plusses and minuses, but the biggest problem is that many of the links in the main navigation takes you to completely different sites (at least visually so).
On the plus side, navigation is categorized into groups. Unfortunately, the implementation here is very annoying and confusing.
There are some pretty cool sections and fun things to do. The only drawback is we've seen it all before on other sites.
I guess if Accio Firebolt excells in any one area, it would be in "webmaster" information. There is plenty of great tips and info for wanna-be webbies.
With a slogan like "Connecting Harry Potter fans faster than you can say 'quidditch'!", I expect it to be more of a forums and links site. Instead it is basically a copy of any other large site out there (with a few exceptions).
Their forums look like a completely different site and isn't inegrated with the "main" site. They simply link to each other.
They do have a links section but require that you add their button to your site before they will list you. That's more of an affiliates deal than a "connecting HP fans" concept.
All in all this is a well made amateur fan site that looks good but doesn't offer anything new.
Date reviewed: Apr 7 2004, 04:01 AM
There are gazillions of sites like this one, but this is one of the first.
The design isn't bad, it's just very dull. Basically it's just a dark background and a top image. Can't get much more basic than that. What's done nicely though, is the sudtle details like the gems in the bars and pinstripes as background.
The navigation here simply doesn't work for me. It changes from page to page (their gallery and affiliates pages have no side-navigation at all) and you never know where in the structure you are. Some of the navigation (in the interactive section) even takes you to a completely different site (TheQuidditchPitch.net)!
Gary has always been great at being quick to post news. He also has a pretty good collection of images, though the structure is so bad in the gallery that it's hard to find your way around there - and the breadcrumb trail isn't even clickable! A lot of the sections are slightly outdated
I love Gary, and I love many things about his site, but in all honesty and fairness, I can't warrant giving him a higher overall score than 2 out of 5 stars.
Fixing the navigation could improve the site a lot. Updating the design (not only the top image) would also help.
Date reviewed: Mar 31 2004, 02:34 AM
There are a few sites that attempt to act as "facts" or "lexicon" sites, but luckily the content makes "Harry Potter Facts" shine.
Maybe I'm a bit picky here, but the design has many faults so it's hard to give it a better score.
With a few minor changes it could improve quite a bit. For example, lose the frame layout. It makes it nearly impossible for any of the pages to be linked to, or indexed by a search engine. Also, the only noticeable graphic on the whole site is the Owl and logo. Though the logo looks great, they are both stretched too large and thus the resolution suffers.
Still, this is a resource site and a fancy design isn't expected.
One of the positive things about using a frames layout is that you always know where the main navigation is - and it is always accessible. The problem arises when you try to get to any of the sub-levels. Thus, I am forced to use the back-button a lot. Luckily, several pages use "anchors" which helps the pages with long lists.
Much care has been taken to fill the pages with loads of valuable information.
There are more theories and speculations listed here than anywhere I have seen.
They have the most detailed chapter sections I have seen - though I would guess that most people unfamilier with the books would prefer a more general outline.
The area I enjoyed the most is called "Columns" where the webmaster gives his comments on various things. Read "No plot for Potter" which makes some good points and reveals some weaknesses with Book 5. And "Hints for books 6 and 7" has some great information about the future books.
Though at first glance, this review (and final rating) may make it seem that I didn't like the site very much. On the contrary, I found it an EXCELLENT resource site with loads of interesting articles and information.
If I were to rate it based on content alone, it would get full marks.
However, it's appearance gives a sloppy impression, and I can't help but think we've seen this before - albeit with different wrappings.
Still, check it out and add it to your favorites (bookmarks). It's a great find! The webmaster's put a lot of time and love into the work, and it shows. And he has a knack for interesting commentaries!
Date reviewed: Mar 26 2004, 03:28 AM
Dedicated to Lupin, this site is full of originality!
The webmaster is an excellent artist. The design is mostly hand-drawn and looks great! Simple and elegant.
Due to the color choice, some of the links (in content) are hard to read. Otherwise, the left and bottom navigation schemes work very well.
It is loaded with Lupin fan art and stories. You can even vote for next months "pick og the month"! The content is somewhat limited and doesn't cover much about Lupin from the books, but rather focuses on fan-fiction and art.
This was a hard choice, because, visually this site deserves a top score. And I tend to weight the visual aspect of high importance when rating. However, I have to deduct a point for a couple minor areas of improvement.
1. Some of the colors used make Headlines and links hard to read. Even some content is so dark that I have to highlight it in order to read what it says. This is a minor usability problem more than anything. Not a big deal but a detail that could be improved on.
2. I found no background information on who Lupin (aka Moody) is. Of course, most visitors will know all about him, but I thought a page with some background information would have been appropriate.
All in all an excllent site and highly recommended to any and all Lupin fans. :)
Date reviewed: Mar 23 2004, 01:19 PM
One of the most orignal general Harry Potter information sites I have ever seen.
Though it may have a boring design approach, it serves the sites purpose very well. The only thing I would suggest they change is the messy front page. It seems too many elements are competing for attention. This makes it a bit hard to find what you're looking for.
Everything is catalogued very well into appropriate categories. It is very easy to find your way around here. Yet, there is so much information that you will likely be using the "search" function.
Very well put together and organized. The most thorough Harry Potter site I have seen. If you can't find what you are looking for here then you probably won't be able to find it anywhere.
In spite of the simplistic design, this site is a top-notch resource site for anything Potter! Thus we give it a top score! :)
Date reviewed: Mar 23 2004, 12:47 PM
This site has many orignal features including tours of Diagon Alley and the Burrow as well as some outstanding games to play.
In the past, I've always found this site boring - other than a terrific Flash intro (that gets old after the first dozen times). However, with the newly revamped Azkaban design I have totally changed my thinking! I love everything about it! Especially the way they envelop the Marauders Map into their navigation. I've been meaning to do that here for months and now they beat me to it!
The main page is put together well navigation wise but on other parts of the site it can be confusing sometimes.
What they have is excellent! The negative side is that they seldom update, and for news, this is usually the last place to post it!
For being the official site for the movies, I wish it was a tad more informative and updated more often.
However, with a brand new kick-butt design, they have added many cool elements to the site that weren't so visible before. The sound effects are great and the new design with the Marauders Map is AWESOME!