TITLE: National Consumers League

Access: http://www.nclnet.org

The National Consumers League (NCL) brings its brand of consumer activism to the Internet by providing information on various consumer issues such as telemarketing, child slavery, and dietary supplements on its Web site. Users with varying levels of information needs from personal health and finance to politically oriented information will find much of use at NCL. That is, the information on diet pills will help consumers in their personal lives while the information on chocolate being produced by child slaves in the cocoa fields in Ivory Coast, Africa, will help consumers make purchasing decisions that effect political change.

The site is put together well with careful organization including sections on news, archives of press releases, telemarketing (and how to avoid it), general online privacy, NCL background, publications, and projects, among others. A commitment to consumer concerns is shown by the sites coverage of such issues as phone slamming, fraud, and over-the-counter medications.

The one technical complaint is that although the main page intelligently uses black text on a white background, many of the secondary and tertiary pages use black text on a beige background, making the site more difficult to read. However, the Web designer has certainly made a fast-loading site that also appeals visually to the user, making it a site that represents consumer concerns while being consumer-friendly at the same time. Furthermore, the simplistic style of the site is one that can be held up as a model to those hypnotized into believing mouse rollovers and java applets are integral to modern Web sites. Undoubtedly, many of the users of the NCL site will appreciate its simplicity of navigation and speed of loading.

Overall, this site serves a purpose, serves it well, and does it without interference from the design of the site itself. To see a site relying on information rather than format is completely refreshing. The NCL lives up to its consumer focus through its Web site. Nicely done!

Danny Kissane
SUNY College at Oneonta

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