Archive | December, 2013

Early Childhood Environment: Website Evaluation

8 Dec

It is important to evaluate websites that we rely on for information. This is why for today’s post I have chosen a random childcare center and will be evaluating the website they use to present themselves. The child care center up for discussion is the Halton Hills Childcare Centre (HHCC). Upon seeing their website, the first thing to catch my eye is a large scrolling banner they have filtering between the following 3 pictures.

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This gives me a great first impression of the website as it is an eye-catching and effective way to use media in a website. A scrolling banner can be used to show what the centre is most proud of and can be updated on a regular basis. In order to determine whether or not the banner is updated frequently I used the Wayback Machine and discovered that the website went through a large overhaul in September of this year and before then looked drastically different. Below is how the front page of the website transtioned from its beginning in 2002 up to now.

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As you can see the website they have now is a lot more crisp and professional looking than in the past. It is also nicely organized and easy to navigate through with convenient drop down menus and large fonts. There is also no unnecessary media or decoration to distract readers from the content. Hopefully the center takes advantage of the opportunities a scrolling banner presents and updates it on a regular basis.

Next up is finding the mission statement. Unfortunately the HHCC does not outright state, ‘Our mission statement is…’ on their homepage however they do say, “Our goal is to provide a safe, clean, and nurturing environment where children can learn, have fun, and grow to their fullest potential.” (HHCC, N.D.) and after perusing through the site I was able to confirm that this is in fact their mission statement because it is stated in the description of the centers board of directors. Although it is rather ambiguous the mission statement IS stated on the homepage, the only suggestion would be to name it as such.

Finding the main contact of the center also proved to be a two step job.  First you have to go to the contact page to see that the contact information states, “Please contact our Supervisor at 905-877-5004 ext. 2″ Okay, now we know we will be contacting the supervisor. But who is the supervisor? To find this you have to go to the Staff page in the drop down ‘About Us’ menu. Here you will find a the name of both the director and the supervisor along with a picture and a blurb about themselves. It is interesting to note that only the supervisor and the director are listed here and not the rest of the staff. Therefore if a parent wished to read about a potential educator for their child, it would not be possible. 

The location of the center is made obvious by the name of the center (Halton Hills) and the address is shown both on the home page and on the ‘contact us’ page. Along with the address there is a very convenient Google maps snapshot link.

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While browsing this website it is very apparent that the content is directed towards parents of both children already enrolled and potential clientele. You can determine that it is directed to already enrolled families because the website has a page where parents can find the newsletter as well as information regarding events the center might be holding. There is also a place where parents of enrolled children can go to look at events specific to their child’s classroom. For example if your child was in the toddler room you could find your child’s monthly schedule, their meal plan, upcoming activities, as well as the names and number of the teachers in the room. Potential client can find information on the centers board of directors as well as the schools different rooms and playgrounds. HHCC makes excellent use of multimedia but presenting readers with a slideshow of pictures for each classroom as well as each outdoor area. They also provide parents with a well made video collage which serves as an introduction of the center bringing together the different aspects of the website.

Ultimately I believe HHCC has a very well designed and organized website. It is easy to navigate through and find the information parents need in order to adequately assess the center. The only suggestion I would make is to replace the headline, ‘Quality Child Care’ with, ‘Our Mission is…’ This way the mission statement is clear cut and displayed on the front page. I would also put the name of the supervisor beside the contact information so a parent does not have to search the website in order to get the name themselves.

Good Job HHCC!

References

Internet Archive. (2013). Wayback Machine. Retrieved on December 8, 2013. From http://archive.org/web/

Halton Hills Childcare Centre. (2013). Halton Hills Childcare Centre. Retrieved on December 8, 2013. From http://www.hhchildcare.ca/