Web Site Reviews
Humphreys, Terry, The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality
Editor's Note: Terry Humphreys teaches an on-line sexuality course at the University of Guelph and has written about the pros and cons of web-based teaching. Terry is the host of this regular feature of the SIECCAN Newsletter, which reviews web sites and related matters of interest to educators, health professionals and researchers. Comments to Terry at email@example.com.
Sexscape.Org Web site address: http://www.sexscape.org/
Sexscape.Org is a Canadian "ask the expert" web site on sexuality hosted by Kim Martyn, a sexual health educator in the city of Toronto, Canada. As the site states "Kim has spent many years with the Toronto Board of Health working to educate people about human sexuality, prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases (STD's), and planned parenthood." The stated purpose of the Sexscape. Org web site is to "provide objective information about sexuality" for one's own personal benefit. As such, the site is geared toward individuals in the general public who have questions about sex.
The site has been in operation for six years and has retained its focus on a question-and-answer approach to sexual issues. The site is logically categorized by sexuality topic area (i.e., sexual arousal, other than straight, sensual seniors, cyber-sex, etc.) or simply by question (starting with the most recent). It also has an area where you can pose your own questions to Kim. Currently, the site contains approximately 134 questions and answers classified into 15 categories.
Overall, Martyn provides very down-to-earth, practical, and above all, accurate information to a wide variety of visitor questions. Her positive approach and conversational style make this a site worth bookmarking! And the "Question of the Week" on the Homepage is a great touch to get return traffic to the site. Now the details, and some suggestions.
The web pages on Sexscape.org load quickly, thanks to a minimum of graphics. One of the most important features of any question-and-answer site is a useful search engine. Sexscape. Org's search engine is partnered with Amazon.com (one of the largest online bookstores in North America). Keyword searches provide both the Q&A's within Sexscape.Org's archive that match the search terms, and a book of possible interest to the searcher. However, the majority of test searches performed on the Sexscape search engine returned Alex Comfort's The New Joy of Sex as the only related book from Amazon.com. Clearly, this feature needs refinement. Further, the partnership with Amazon.com is questionable. If this is truly a Canadian web site, then it might be worthwhile for Sexscape. Org to associate itself with a Canadian bookstore partner.
One feature that does seem confusing is the current incongruence between the Homepage design and the design of the rest of the site. The logo and colour scheme on the Homepage do not appear elsewhere on the site. This may confuse the novice user, who might believe that there are two separate sites. Hopefully this will be reconciled with future revisions. In addition, the Homepage presents data (both daily and overall) tracking the topics individuals are searching Sexscape. Org for and how often. The purpose of this presentation of frequency data is unclear given the overall purpose of the web site. One might think that such information would be of more use to those who develop and maintain the site, than to visitors. That being said, it appears from these data that a high percentage of the traffic to the site is looking for explicit pictures, not answers to personal questions. This tends to be the plight of many sexuality education sites (Sexscape does not contain sexually explicit images).
Authorship / Webmaster
Peer Partners Inc. is identified as responsible for and the copyright owner of the web site, however Kim Martyn is the individual clearly responsible for providing the expert answers to individuals' sexuality questions. …