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At this time there is no single and perfect methodology of web sites rating definition, which would adequately reflect the value of the site from an average user`s point of view.

Usually Internet directories use the following rating definition methods:

• by calculating the amount of links from other sites (link popularity rating).
• by the amount of views of the main site`s page or even all pages using graphic counters - most frequently used by Internet rating systems.
• by the amount of clicks on sites links from directory (clicks hits).
• by voting and users appraisal of sites.
• by personal rating definition criteria.

Each of this methods has disadvantages, though in general they give rather objective view.

> Link popularity rating - is a rather good and objective method, though it is useful only for considerably popular sites. Besides, index search engines which are used to define resource popularity, embrace Ukrainian Internet not sufficiently.

> Counters more often reflect popularity then usefulness of a site. According to such a method of estimating sites like "Medical referats and histories of illness" or "Sexology in pictures" will have considerably higher rating then full-text scientific medical journal or oncological portal. Another problem with counters - considerable reverse influence , i.e. the higher is the resource place in rating, the higher is the amount of users attending it which in its turn increases its rating.

> Rating by clicks on site link in directory defines popularity of resource only from the directory users point of view and does not take into account users who already know this site or have saved its address in bookmarks (favorites) as well as coming from other sources.

> Voting partially reflects users opinion, but very seldom user having attended the site comes back to the directory to vote for it. Usually site owners do this :о)

> Personal rating definition methods despite their subjectivity, are especially useful for directories of specialized, thematical sites. Such methods consider not only popularity, but also usefulness of a resource. In such case informatively interesting and not sufficiently promoted or poorly designed site can have the same rating as widely promoted, professionally designed site with pale content.

Just on the basis of personal rating definition criteria given below, rating of each site in the UKRMED Directory is determined. The main goal is to help the users to orientate marking the most interesting sites in each category. Rating system allows to find the best sites in each subcategory faster without wasting your time on browsing uninteresting or even primitive sites. Such rating also has an advantage in comparison with traditional search systems which find sites only by their accordance to presented search query and give no idea about qualitative properties of the found sites.
Important: Our rating is not a final verdict to a site. It only helps the users to orientate and is always reconsidered after qualitative changes on the site.

Within this project rating of each site in the Directory is defined by three factors:

• Quality and usefulness of health information.
• Site usability, i.e. design quality, clearness of site structure and simplicity of navigation.
• Actuality, interactivity and opportuneness of information updating.

By rating definition the following criteria are considered:

> As to medical value of information from the point of view of both health professionals and patients:

  • does a site offer original medical information or authors publications?
  • does a site offer full texts of clinical guides, medical articles, analytical literature reviews?
  • does a site offer the list of subject related sites links? Do they have descriptions or reviews?
  • does a site offer primary sources of information presented on the site?
  • is there a possibility to contact with site authors/owners?

> As to site "vitality", i.e. whether a site is in progress and regulary updated:

  • is the site contents regulary updated? Whith what recurrence?
  • does a site offer interactive communication with users?

> As to site usability, design quality and navigation:

  • what is the visual and technical level of site design?
  • are there additional language versions?
  • how convenient and intuitively clear is the site navigation?
  • does a site offer possibility for searching, a site map?
  • what is the speed of site loading?
  • does a site offer possibility to save information to the disk? Are the site pages printer friendly?

Rating is determined by five-point scale, wherе, approximately:

***** The best site in its category. The site you should view!.
**** One of the best sites. It has some faults but is also worth viewing.
*** Site is of mediocre level. It has serious faults but if you are interested in such an information, you can find there something interesting for yourself.
** Site of low quality. Just a visit card - site. "Dead" site. Only if developed may become in future an interesting project.
* Primitive site. Better use your time on something more deserving attention.
nothing usually a kind of announcement or simply advertisement.

More specific information about Criteria for Assessing the Quality of Internet Health Information is available here.

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