Q & A

Please clarify for me; the last newsletter used John Doe as an example for copyright, can I copyright materials in my name?

No. All materials are copyright University of Kentucky unless specific exceptions have been made, usually by contract.

I can't upload files to a site I was given permission to, what's wrong?

You are probably on www.uky.edu. Most likely, the person who maintained the site before did not "set the group permissions." For each file there is an owner, a group (everyone in addition to the owner who needs to edit the file), and the rest of the world who look at the file on the Internet. Therefore you may have permission to the site, but if the group does not have access to edit the file (only the owner does) you will not be able to edit.

The quickie fix is simply to download the file to local, delete the copy on remote and then upload the file again. This does require the group flags to be set on the folder though so test this by uploading a test page first.

Anyway, you will need to request the owner of the files to set those group permissions or if they are no longer here, request the help of webmaster @www.uky.edu. You can find more information at www.uky.edu/Providers/. And finally, if you use Dreamweaver, get a copy of the Set Permissions extension and make remember to set those group flags for others.

Why doesn't CSS positioning work for IE 5.2 on the Mac?

First of all, why anyone would be installing a browser that is so out of date and not even supported by the vendor anymore is beyond me. Nonetheless, you'll find them across campus in places like the Fine Arts Computing Lab.

Anyway, IE 5 for the Mac is different from IE for the PC in that it has a poorer CSS implementation. In particular it cannot deal with floats or most objects without an explicit width stated. There is a hack for IE 5 for the Mac and if you need it just contact the CSS working group.

 

Web Policy Review

Privacy, Security and the Law

Section IV.D.1. of the University Web Policy specifies basic behavior with regard to privacy. Specifically all UK Web sites which collect personal information must inform the user exactly what is being collected and its intended use(s). There is a basic statement provided, however, in many instances (if not most) you will wish to provide a more detailed statement. You can visit the online giving page to see a sample statement. if you have questions about creating a statement, please don't hesitate to contact Web Services.

Section IV.D.2 states the obvious: don't break the law. This section specifically mentions HIPAA and FERPA because of the relevance and scope of those laws. Additionally, this site also highlights the following requirements:

  • Use of encryption or notice of its absence when personal information is transmitted
  • Use of HIPAA and photo release forms
  • Use of encryption when credit card information is transmitted.

Finally, section IV.D.3. of the Web policy requires that all Web sites be broadcast on servers that are approved by IT. In other words, don't set up a Web server under your desk.

 

 

 

 

Teenagers and the Web: Surprising New Findings

You may have seen several newspaper articles over the last couple of weeks about teenagers using the Web. The articles are based on a new study by usability guru Jakob Nielsen and his partners. Each newspaper's reporter took a slightly different spin on the story, so we thought we would review the key findings and point you to the original summary.

Teens Have More Trouble with the Web

The authors summarize their findings by saying, “When using Web sites, teenagers have a lower success rate than adults, and they're also easily bored. To work for teens, Web sites must be simple but not childish and supply plenty of interactive features.”

Teenagers struggling with the Web can seem amazing to adults. The study, however, suggests some logical reasons for this. The authors suspect that lower success rates are due to weaker vocabularies and less life experience.

For adults, it’s good to hear that years of struggling with things like campus computer systems may make us more savvy. As people working on higher-education Web sites, it means we have to be especially careful to make the site easy to use.

Teens Pay More Attention to the Graphics

This finding is a double-edged sword. Teens paid more attention than adults to the graphics on a site, enjoying cool graphics. At the same time, their overall site satisfaction dropped when on sites that were too graphically intense and more difficult to use.

Subjects “typically marked down overly-glitzy sites as too difficult to use,” says the study. “Teenagers like to do stuff on the Web, and dislike sites that are slow or that look fancy but behave clumsily.”

Web Features Combat Short Attention Spans

Teens on the Web have a short attention span, which will be no surprise to most parents or teachers. They get bored easily and can escape from your site in a single mouse-click. “Being boring is the kiss of death in terms of keeping teens on your site,” say the authors.

The teens enjoyed sites that offer interactive features that allow them to “make their mark on the Internet and express themselves in various ways -- some small, some big.” Features they enjoyed included:

  • Online quizzes
  • Forms for providing feedback or asking questions
  • Online voting
  • Games
  • Features for sharing pictures or stories
  • Message boards
  • Forums for offering and receiving advice
  • Features for creating a Web-site or otherwise adding content

Writing for the Web (Short, Engaging, and No Tiny Fonts)

Our workshops on writing for the Web have always taught that this is a different medium. Content must be short and easy to read, more like a newspaper than a viewbook. This is true for all audiences, but especially for teens.

“Teenagers don't like to read a lot on the Web,” say the authors. “They get enough of that at school. Also, the reading skills of many teenagers are not what one might hope for, especially among younger teens. Sites that were easy to scan or that illustrated concepts visually were strongly preferred to sites with dense text.”

Another interesting finding is that teens don’t like tiny fonts. Usability experts have always warned against small fonts for older audiences, but the study found that tiny text also bothers younger eyes.

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2005-01-30-teens-usat_x.htm

Removing Outdated Pages Not Just De-Linking

The Web server is the final publication environment of your Web site. Just as an editor would not leave post-its on pages as they went to press nor are you likely to find old copies of Time inside your latest issue, so your Web site should only include current information.

We have had a couple incidences in the last couple weeks where failure to take down old Web pages caused confusion. At the college of Medicine, the presence of old Home pages (index.htm) on several sites suddenly replaced the new home pages (index.asp) when the order was inadvertently swapped on the server. If the out of date information had not been there it would not have been a problem.

Equally when the Campus Access Map was changed, the old files were left online, so when we went looking for any broken links associated with the change to the new site, we didn't find all the links from the Campus Map pointing to those old pages.

In addition to these specific instances, the presence of outdated information accessible through bookmarks and search engines opens up lots of room for confusion, even though the page was de-linked from your site itself. All it takes is one person on the outside to link to an out-of-date page and there will be problems.

Old pages should be stored offline in an archive. Next month we'll talk about Custom 404 pages again.

Link Maintenance

As a corollary to this, everyone should manually check all the links on their site on a somewhat regular basis (every 3-6 months). Pharmacology was kind enough to show us how a substantial number of their links to external sites were broken or no longer pointed to the correct file, the only reason this was spotted was because they had asked for a Site Review even though the site was not scheduled for one.

Site Reviews

They Ain't Perfect

In the course of reviewing new sites, we caught a few items that needed to be corrected that were missed in the Site Reviews. In an average month, Web Services reviews about 15 sites and about 350 pages. We're bound to make mistakes. Now while we don't want folks to start engaging in a game of "Gotcha!," it doesn't hurt to support one another. If you see an oversight or potential problem on a site, let us know. (We'll contact the webmaster, to avoid potential misunderstandings.) We all benefit when any of our sites are improved.

The List:

Updates

When creating CSS style sheets to change the appearance of hyperlinks, it's important that you put your pseudo-classes (such as a:hover) in the correct order. An easy (although somewhat geeky) mnemonic device is Lord Vader Former Handle: Anakin. The first letter of each word corresponds to a hyperlink state, as shown here:

<style type="text/css">
a {text-decoration: none}
a:link {color: blue}
a:visited {color: purple}
a:focus {color: green}
a:hover {color: red}
a:active {color: pink}
</style>

Color it effective: How color influences the user – http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/assistance/HA010429371033.aspx

Every Byte Counts (Towards Page File Size) – http://www.netmechanic.com/news/vol8/beginner_no3.htm

Hey Terrie! Hey Adam! (part deux)

When will we be dropping the www2 from the Medical Center addresses?

The remaining Web sites are a little more complicated than we anticipated, but we expect to have them moved before the May Web publishers meeting. I apologize for the delay.

I will send an e-mail to everyone once I make the change to www. Please plan to take some time to make sure you do not have any hard-coded links that will be disabled, and generally to make sure everything is working OK.

If you have any questions, let Terrie know.

-Adam

 

Important Dates

TRAINING UPDATE: Web@UK - April 27, 9-11:30 a.m.
register: http://www.uky.edu/
HR/HRD/Training/
ClassReg.html

Web Publishers, South - May 16, 2 p.m., Location TBA

Web Publishers, North - May 17, 2 p.m., Location TBA