Planning Your Web Site

 


Consider the Web site you are planning to develop. As you advance through the lesson using the Table of Contents in the left frame, answer the planning questions posed. Some of the questions will relate to your audience and other aspects of development. If you have not defined who your audience will be, answer the questions for an imaginary site.

Complete the following:

At this point you can be relatively brief. You may be outlining issues you must answer. This exercise should be useful. It provides assistance in developing your initial plan for your World Wide Web Site Development assignment which states:

Develop a special education or rehabilitation home page and associated documents for the World Wide Web.

The due date will be in class announcements within WEST.

Be sure to follow external links in the Planning Your Web Site lesson to expand your learning.

This assignment is worth MORE (20 points).


Purpose

What do you want to do with your Web site?

What are the goals for your site?

Specify the goals for your site before you begin the design process.

Content Considerations

How should content be organized?

Developing a storyboard (Lemay, 1995)

Next, decide what information goes on which pages of your Web site. One effective way to do this is through the use of a storyboard. The storyboard will allow you to outline your pages and content and even indicate links from one piece of information or page to another. This allows you to develop each page without having to remember exactly where that page fits into your site.

The storyboard helps you organize your information. You can use index cards and string or a simple outline on paper or a computer program. If you use index cards, let each card represent a separate page. List the topic or topics for the page. Lay out your cards and use the string to indicate links between pages. You will have some links that will be to URLs outside your site. Add these to your cards. Determine if links flow in one direction or are bi-directional. Remember to not leave users at a deadend page.

Hints for storyboarding (Lemay, 1995, p 44)

Things to think about:

A link to a PowerPoint presentation will provide examples of storyboards. You will need the PowerPoint viewer to use the file. It has been installed on the computers in the classroom in Taylor Ed. Building. A site for downloading and installing the viewer will provide you with the right stuff. The instructions for configuring Netscape will get you started.

Cognition

Table 4-3 Cognitive Needs of Novices (Morris and Hinrichs p 116)

Page Elements

Novices

Facts and definitons Provide immediate access on same page.
Use glossary.
Limit supplementary links.
Concepts explained
(e.g., What is VRML?)
Tell them what things are and what they are not.
Give examples on the same page.
Procedural steps
How do you do this task?
Put one link away from origin.Use standard numbering.
Speak in the command form (Do this.).
Provide direct link back to site.
Process
How does this thing work?
Use graphics to show overall process.
Include maps so users know what is next.
Put one link away from origin.
Provide direct link back to site.
Principles
How would you best handle something?
How would an expert decide what to do?
List three or four bulleted items.
Identify clearly as a principle.

Audience Factors

Who is your audience?

How do you design for their needs?

Consider the prior Internet experience of those using your site and their knowledge and experience with computers in general. These factors impact the amount of guidance and assistance your users will need.

If your site provides instruction, what type of students will be using your site (e.g., traditional, nontraditional, on-site, off-site)? Will your site serve individuals with disabilities (e.g., low vision, color blindness, hearing or physical impairments)? If yes, what accommodations will you use to make your site accessible?

How can you accommodate differences?

The Apple Web Design Guide suggests that you:

Design an accessible site. For more information see:

Technical Factors

What technical factors impact the delivery of Web documents?

How do these factors impact your planning process?

Ideal Transfer Rates

Data Transfer Method

1.8k/sec 14.4 modem
7k/sec Low-end cable modem (shared)
7k/sec 56k ISDN
14k/sec 128k ISDN
62.5k/sec Low-end cable modem (dedicated)
80k/sec T-1 (shared)
125k/sec High-end cable modem (shared)
187k/sec T-1 (dedicated)
200k/sec Ethernet (shared)
1,200k/sec Ethernet (dedicated)
1,250k/sec High-end cabble modem (dedicated)

Teaching Issues

What special issues are related to delivering instruction via Web pages?

If you are using your site to teach distance learning courses, how will you handle the following issues?

Navigation

How can you help users find their way around your site?

The Apple Web Design Guide suggests that you:

How can you guide users and eliminate nasty surprises?

The Apple Web Design Guide suggests that you:

Layout

How does layout affect the utility of your site?

Maintenance

Is your site completely functional?

File Management

How do you organize files for a large and complex Web site?

Typically you develop your Web files on your local computer and then up upload them to your Web account. To facilitate this process, it is best to organize your files locally in folders or directories with exactly the same structure you will have in your Web account. Set up a mirror image of your Web account structure on your local harddrive. Then when you upload files your relative links will all work properly.

Try to use filenames that convey meaning and are in all lower case. You can use your storyboard to determine file names for each page. This will help you if you happen to forget why you attached a certain name to a file. For complex sites it is best to keep track of file names and to use folders or directories for organization and management.

Breaking documents up into small parts has benefits and drawbacks. If you think users will want to print out the entire document, it is easier for the user if it is one long file. For long files you will need to provide a navigational structure that allows the user to quickly access the exact portion of the document with the information desired (e.g., a table of contents or index).

Copyright Issues

What do you need to know about copyright?

Information on the Internet is published and is therefore protected by copyright law. You must have permission from the author or creator to use copyrighted information and images. The work you publish on the Web will be protected by copyright law. If you plan to use any copyright protected information on your Web site, you will need to get written permission from the owner. It is best to deal with copyright permissions early in the development process.

Some information may be covered by the doctrine of "fair use" as when you use a brief quotation in a review or the use of a limited amount of information to illustrate a point in instructional material. The courts look at the purpose of the use and the potential economic effect on the owner of the work to determine the limits of "fair use" (Holden, 1995, p 448).

The Library of Congress and the Copyright Office Home Page provides information on copyright law discussions. You also may find more information at The Copyright Website.

Glossary

bandwidth
The capacity of a computer channel or data transmission cable, often expressed in bits or bytes per second (Holden, 1995, p 507).
Digital Signal Level 1 (DS1)
Designates the combination of 24 DS0 channels plus overhead bits into a 1.544 mbps T-1 data stream.
fair use
A legal doctrine by which courts can avoid rigid application of copyright law when a work is reproduced for purposes of comment, criticism, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research (Holden, 1995, p 509).
gif
Graphics Interchange Format, a file format commonly used with graphics or photos displayed on Web documents (Holden, 1995, p 510).
interlaced gif
An extra step in the information process that allows you in three or more passes to display increasing amounts of information from a gif file instead of just one line or another. Displays a low-resolution version first, a better version next, and then a full-blown version (Holden, 1995, p 511).
ISDN
acronym for Integrated Services Digital Network; A telecommunication
system telephone companies can install that is 6 times faster than the fastest
modem; It also can transmit data and voice simultaneously
jpeg
Joint Photographic Experts Group, a graphic image compression format.
T-1
A term for a digital carrier facility used to transmit DS1 formatted digital signal at 1.544 mbps.
T-2
A term for a digital carrier facility used to transmit DS2 formatted digital carrier signal at 6.312 mbps.

References

Apple Computer, Inc. (1996)
"Apple Web Design Guide" (July 11, 1996). http://www.cybertech.apple.com/HI/web_design/intro.html (October 14, 1996).
Holden, G. (1995)
"Publishing on the World Wide Web for Macintosh" Hayden Books, Indianapolis, IN.
Lemay, L. (1995)
"Teach Yourself Web Publishing with HTML in a Week" SAMS Publishing, Indianapolis, IN.
Morris, E. S. & Hinrichs, R. J. (1996)
"Web Page Design: A Different Multimedia" SunSoft Press, Mountain View, CA.
Smith, P. (1996)
"Web Page Design" handout developed by Patricia Smith University of Kentucky FACTS Center.


Developed by Rene Hales, University of Kentucky, FACTS Center, October 1996
Comments? Questions? Suggestions?
halesr@pop.uky.edu