APOD assessment poll #2

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The text on APOD is easy to read and understand.

Poll ended at Mon May 28, 2012 1:49 am

Strongly disagree
Neither agree nor disagree
Strongly agree
Total votes: 1908

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APOD assessment poll #2

Post by owlice » Mon May 14, 2012 1:49 am

Thank you very much for your interest in Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD). We very much appreciate the time you have given us viewing our images and reading the explanations; your dedication drives us to keep doing the site. APOD will likely be asking other questions in the near future; your responses will help us better understand viewers like you, and will allow us to improve what we do for you.

Please select the option that best reflects your opinion on the poll statement listed. Please leave any comments you may have on this topic below.

Thank you!
A closed mouth gathers no foot.


Re: APOD assessment poll #2

Post by rmontgomery » Thu May 24, 2012 4:21 am

I really like the descriptions, usually very clear and interesting. The only suggestion I'd have is that sometimes there will is a keyword that appears several times in a description, but each one links to a different website. Unless you pay close attention, it's VERY easy to miss some of the links. Not sure what to do about it, maybe use a different keyword with the same meaning?


Re: APOD assessment poll #2

Post by djheydt@gmail.com » Thu May 24, 2012 4:35 am

That's two questions, really. Is the text easy to read? Yes, even for my blurry seventy-year-old eyes, quite legible.

Is it easy to understand? Yes, if one has a *little* background in astronomy. I never took an astronomy course, but I've been reading science fiction since I was eight, back when Pluto was still a planet.

I seem to recall reading once that the recommended level of technicality for an article in _Scientific American_ is that it should be understandable by someone with a college degree NOT in the subject matter of the article. APOD passes that test nicely.

Usually, anyway. I couldn't really understand your recent link to the cartoon sequence on the Higgs Boson. But it was fun.

("If I could remember the names of all those particles, I'd be a botanist." --Enrico Fermi)


Re: APOD assessment poll #2

Post by Michaela » Thu May 24, 2012 5:39 am

While I find the text generally easy to read, the actual layout and web format proves trickier. I'd appreciate a more reader-friendly font choice and maybe roomier margins - somethings less drab to make the wonder of the images and text pop.


Re: APOD assessment poll #2

Post by Heymini » Thu May 24, 2012 6:27 am

I would agree with some of the other posters comments. This is in fact two questions. Yes it is relatively easy to understand given a half decent knowledge of astronomy but easy to read is another matter. Even for my middle aged eyes sometimes the font appears too thin and the spacing too narrow. Perhaps something a little thicker with less 'accents'
Its a bit like trying to read some of those awful eBay adds or bulletin board postings you see some times where the poster has used capitals all the way through with no gaps, punctuation or paragraphs.

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Re: APOD assessment poll #2

Post by Confused » Thu May 24, 2012 6:29 am

I am Confused.

Most short one-sentence questions need clarificatin. The question "Is the text on APOD easy to read and understand?" is a good subject but it should be clarified. Are you asking if it is easy for other astronomers to understand or if it is easy for non-astronomer fans to understand?

In my opinion, it is asking too much to expect the explanation to be understood by the public in general (in other words, including people that rarely look). I however am in the habit of looking every day and I probably have looked every day for more than a couple of years. I am not an astronomer and I often have difficulty understanding the explanation. I am interested in understanding it better. I think the thing that would help immensely is refrences when available to explanations elsewhere. I seldom click on the links in the explanation since they have never been helpful; they have never been relevant when I click.

Astronomers need an explanation that is educational for them. I hope that continues and is possibley enhanced for astronomers. I hope there will also be an explanation for non-astronomers that is also educatonal for them.

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Re: APOD assessment poll #2

Post by tosler » Thu May 24, 2012 6:54 am

Generally very informative. I would personally prefer that the text font was a little larger. Thanks team for the efforts put into this each day.

Dave Ussell

Re: APOD assessment poll #2

Post by Dave Ussell » Thu May 24, 2012 7:37 am

I like it just the way it is with one exception. I'd like the navigation buttons that take me forward and backward, to other APODs, to be on the top as well as the bottom, to save time in searching. Thanks for a wonderful dedicated effort. It is appreciated every day.

Derrick Watt

Re: APOD assessment poll #2

Post by Derrick Watt » Thu May 24, 2012 7:57 am

The descriptions are usually very good and clear, but occasionally they seem a bit convoluted.
Top marks for the wide ranging subject matter.


Re: APOD assessment poll #2

Post by droffarc » Thu May 24, 2012 9:11 am

"Europa posses a deep, global ocean of liquid "
Not often you find this type of typo on APOD.

How do you get to Europa? Turn left at Grannymead

Ralf Potten

Re: APOD assessment poll #2

Post by Ralf Potten » Thu May 24, 2012 9:29 am

APOD is since long one of my favourite sites. From my early childhood I loved to lay on the lawn in the evenings or at night and look up to the sky. I just admired the sparkling stars and in a kind I felt "at home". Later i started wondering what all the sparkling points in the sky might be, and my grandfather gave me an old magazine - must have been from the early Fifties or Forties - about "the universe" and what was known about it its miracles by that time. Thus I started learning to read! He also told my about all the classic motives and asterisks he knew about and teached me to find them. Sometimes, when I was watching the nightly skies, lying on the ground (what I found more comfortable than sitting or standing) I kind of "fell" into the skies and had a feeling of flying and travelling through space and time. Even nowadays I sometimes get this feelings. And beside from all these feelings I tried to learn and understand more about what our seemingly endless surrounding might be and what kind of miracles and wonders it contains. I am no scientist at all.
Some years ago a friend of mine showed me APOD, and from that time on I am a daily customer of your well done site. The pictures are always fascinating, even though from time to time pictures are shown that are already in the archives. The explanations teached me a lot of things I didn't know before and are written in a way that is mostly understandible even for people with no technical or scientific background. And thus, time after time, the background grows. This is also due to the many links you offer in your explanations that get deeper into the topics. Someone here critizised that sometimes (or often) one word, when repeated, gives links to different pages. I, on the other hand, think especially this a very good idea, as by that way, the same topic is shown from different sides and often offers opportunities to get deeper into the topics.
I just wanted to say, just keep on hosting this site just the way it is! I am a great fan of your carefully done work!


Re: APOD assessment poll #2

Post by spacegeek » Thu May 24, 2012 11:43 am

Proofing the text through a grammar check (or human) would help greatly. There's also http://www.grammarcheck.me and other sites like it. And making the paragraph narrower will make it easier to read. Thanks

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Re: APOD assessment poll #2

Post by smitty » Thu May 24, 2012 11:55 am

I typically find the APOD text quite helpful. Occasionally I wish the text would comment on more of the interesting artifacts visible in a given image; an example is the recent GALEX: The Andromeda Galaxy, in which there were interesting blue and orange "fuzzies" which were not remarked on. I also like images which become annotated when we scroll over them with our cursor.

I begin every day with APOD and a cup of coffee (as I'm doing now). It helps me put the remainder of the day's terrestrial issues into a more healthy perspective.

Thank you for doing a consistently great job!

mrs. linda sinha

Re: APOD assessment poll #2

Post by mrs. linda sinha » Thu May 24, 2012 12:17 pm

Dear Apod, reading is easy but to a non science person, me, understanding is slower but i get there, mostly.
as for the font size we the readers have to enlarge our pc font size to suit ourselves individually. i am 74
with glasses and two cataracts but i read your text fine. i love your work and am ever glad to see and read
your pages. thanks indeed. Mrs. Linda Sinha.


Re: APOD assessment poll #2

Post by Cal » Thu May 24, 2012 12:18 pm

I voted "Strongly Agree", because the website works at my level of astronomy expertise (rather low). i am not a professional astronomer, I don't even own a telescope, but I love learning about astronomy. The explanations are usually fairly easy for me to understand, and I sometimes follow the links.

Two things I think could be improved:
1. Better proofreading. Mistakes like today's "Europa posses a deep, global ocean" make me stumble as I read. It seems to me like this didn't happen so much in the early years of APOD (I've been a regular since about the 3rd year).

2. Different link styles for different destinations could help people who have different interests. A link that goes to another APOD, for example, should get a special style, because it tells the reader, "here's more of the same style". You could have another style for a link that explains something in simpler terms for those who don't understand (like me sometimes), and yet another style for a link that goes into more detail for people who want more (like me, other times).

I'm a little surprised to see people complain about the font size. Most browsers today can adjust or magnify quite easily.

Keep up the great work!

Phil J Fry

Re: APOD assessment poll #2

Post by Phil J Fry » Thu May 24, 2012 12:19 pm

The only problem I find is that the hyperlinks (especially in the older APODs) can be invalid.
So if you want to go an extra bit further, you can easily get frustrated.

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Re: APOD assessment poll #2

Post by Skylark53 » Thu May 24, 2012 12:29 pm

When APOD began in 1995, the subject matter was pure astronomy and it was aimed largely at professional astronomers. APOD's remit now is far wider, in terms of both the material included and the intended audience. This makes for a very interesting and diverse set of images that I otherwise would never encounter.

As a retired astronomer, I find the level of the science explanations to be below what I would find useful. But in my opinion this is a small price to pay given that vastly more people can enjoy the images and have access to the science. So I am firmly in favour of what APOD is doing now.

At the moment there is a distinct lack of serious science information; links often go only to more images, or to other APOD pages. Links to more detailed info (e.g. Arxiv, ADS) would be welcome, and might in large part resolve the difficulty of satisfying an audience from a very wide range of backgrounds. Links in different colours could be used to signify level: green for 'everyone', amber for 'professionals'. Medical websites have had several different levels of information for some time.


Re: APOD assessment poll #2

Post by Boyd » Thu May 24, 2012 1:08 pm

The length of text line (the ‘measure’ or column width): Lines that
are too long or too short interfere with readability: long lines (like
on APOD), with too many jumps (‘saccades’) and stops (‘fixations’),
are tiring, as are too short lines with too few ‘saccades’ and ‘fixations’.
Reader preferences quite definitely favor moderate line widths.
Typographers recommend, for English, an average of between 50
and 60 letters per line. About a dozen words per line might be a rule
of thumb. Therefore, if there were 2 side-by-side columns of text
(serif type, used currently, is more readable than sans-serif type,
and the current typeface point size and line spacing are fine; the
slightly ‘ragged right’, unjustified, line setting is also fine), and the
bold image title replaced “Explanation” at the top of the first column,
and the “Illustration credit & ©” were moved to the bottom of the
second column, the text below the image would be more readable.


Re: APOD assessment poll #2

Post by Boyd » Thu May 24, 2012 1:15 pm

Forgot to add that “the eye of the experienced reader moves in
a series of” jumps (‘saccades’) and stops (‘fixations’).

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Re: APOD assessment poll #2

Post by i53lccl5 » Thu May 24, 2012 1:38 pm

The text on APOD is easy to read and understand.

The actual text style could be improved for contrast and character definition for my preference.

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Re: APOD assessment poll #2

Post by Keyman » Thu May 24, 2012 1:43 pm

I'm enjoying your site quite a bit. While some have made valid poins on font styles, etc, I do like the links and when I have time they provide quite an adventure.

But for those complaining about typos... Seriously people???


I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg.
The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid. Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at
Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a
wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be
in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed
it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey
lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh?

Yaeh, and I awlyas thought slpeling was ipmorantt !

Thom Hessel

Re: APOD assessment poll #2

Post by Thom Hessel » Thu May 24, 2012 1:56 pm

Hello, I am a high school Astronomy teacher, and I enjoy the descriptions that go with the APOD pictures. I know that they have been written, or at least vetted by NASA scientists, and so I can trust the veracity of the content.
I would say the reading level is just right - it presents a great opportunity for informational text, which is a big focus of the Common Core Standards.
Keep up the good work.

Tony K.

Re: APOD assessment poll #2

Post by Tony K. » Thu May 24, 2012 2:22 pm

The site is very easy to read and understand. No need to change anything. Your site has been my homepage since 1997.

As for grammar mistakes - they happen. As for broken links in older pages - this is the web, nothing is forever.

The variety is great and I thank the creators for their dedication to expanding our collective horizons educating us all on the wonders of the universe. Your work and dedication should be commended.


Re: APOD assessment poll #2

Post by matnken » Thu May 24, 2012 3:07 pm

APOD is without question my favorite site. I open to that site every day and am amazed at the photography and writeups that I find. It really doesn't bother me if there are misspellings or missed links. I will continue to read it every day. Please keep up the great work. http://asterisk.apod.com/posting.php?mo ... 28&t=28546# :D

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Re: APOD assessment poll #2

Post by stardaddyed » Thu May 24, 2012 3:58 pm

I think the descriptions are a little two easy to understand. I would like to be challenged with new information and learn something a little more in depth. This might be accomplished by separate links to more information on a specific topics (which is done to some extent now) or a separate link to a deeper description. Let's raise the science education bar a little. Too many of our "educational" shows are pointed to the least common denominator and fail to push the audience to learn a little more then they already know.