Creating Web Pages:
Making Wise Decisions Before You Begin

These are notes on a presentation given by Donna Ashmus
SouthEast and Islands Regional
Technology in Education Consortium (SEIR*TEC)


Basic Web Concepts
HTML
Hypertext Markup Language operates through a series of <tags> turning properties on and off

HTTP
Hypertext Transfer Protocol the way computers talk to one another when one computer is requesting data over the Internet

URL
Uniform Resource Locator "address" for an Internet resource specifies the type and location of the document

Before you think about HTML, ask yourself these questions:
1.  Who is the audience and what will they expect?
Identify potential users and their needs students? parents? community? educators? business? High or low tech? Experience with WWW? think beyond yourself and get in the user's shoes

2. What is the purpose of the web pages I am developing?
To instruct? inform? share? inspire? Develop a set of categories of the potential users to guide your development

3. How should I organize my web pages?
Probably the most difficult thing to do chunk information into categories use informative heading relevant to your audience break out of thinking linearly

4. What content should I include?
Too much information will drown the reader... too little information will hinder quality and meaningfulness consider giving the audience what they want to know not what you want to tell them.


Design considerations

Consistency and Predictability
Match users' expectations.
Repeat major design elements. This also helps with download time.
Establish a consistent background.

Appropriateness
Determine an image. cute? fun? professional?
Use graphics to communicate not just to decorate.

Usability
Display important information prominently.
Provide a clear means of navigation. Don't make users have to figure it out.
Forecast links. Let your readers know where they are going.


A Few Tips Before You Begin...  to Make Your Webbing Easier

1. Decide on an authoring tool.
There are several free authoring tools such as Netscape's Composer, WebEdit, Stone's WebWriter, Web Scrapbook. Download free copies from the Internet. Or you can purchase web authoring tools such as FrontPage, Home Page, Web Workshop, and Digital Chisel. WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editors provide an easy way to view changes.

1. Organize!
Create an outline of your web site. Create a main folder on your hard disk in which to store all the files related to the web site. If your web site is large, create sub folders for each area. Consider creating a graphics folder within each sub folder. This makes finding and changing files much easier.

2. Determine a file naming system.
Use all lower case letters. Use short file names (8 or less letters/numbers works best) This will help reduce typos in typing the address and will cause less problems if you have to transfer files.

3. Collect content material before you start.
This will also help in creating your outline. You know what you have and what you need to get. Create a source file in the main project folder in which to store all your original graphic files. Later, if you want to make changes to a graphic, you can make changes to the original file ensuring better quality.


Presentation handout:
Web Design Considerations

Other resources on the Web:
Evaluation Rubrics for Websites
Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators - Critical Evaluation Surveys

Check out these school web pages for some good ideas:


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