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Building a
Web Project
Site design
Project site
Web development resources
Web design
Write for the Web
Balance content & presentation
Copyright issues
Further reading
1. Naming conventions
2. Color and Graphics
3. Relative Links
4. Finding a Web Host
5. Keep it Simple

5. KISS: Keep it Short and Simple...

Keep It Simple: You can make an impressive presentation using just the basic HTML commands. Furthermore, if you haven't done your homework, flashy JavaScript and animation won't redeem a boring story.

Lay out your first pages using only the most basic commands. Once your story is well structured and tested, you can go back to experiment with advanced layouts. However, it is always wise to "Keep it Simple."

Adopt a standard, simple layout and organizational design, and require your students to operate within those established parameters. This is especially true when it comes to some standard page features, such as footers which contain copyright, author, contact, and date information.

Keep your menu pages clean, simple, and unadorned, with a minimum of font changes and graphics, so that users can move quickly through them.

Page titles, picture captions, and content and index headings should be descriptive and accurately reflect contents. Students may not automatically know how to do this, so they may need coaching.

Sign, Date and Copyright Your Pages

Visitors to your school will be most interested in the current and recent things that real people at your school are doing. Therefore, make it easy for your visitors to identify both the page author or activity coordinator and the date of the last update.

If a student is the page author, use only the student's first name. (see our discussion on how to identify student authors.) Include an email address at which the student can be reached. This could be the student's own email address, or it could be a shared mailbox that the class uses. But the point is to make it possible to correspond with the author of the page.

We advise you to date all of your Web pages. This can be included in a standard footer template that you can paste into the bottom of every page you create, and then update the date when you change the content of the page.

Also, be cautious with your use of "new" icons. Too many obsolete, un-maintained web pages have icons plastered all over them. "New" is relevant for only a short while after a page is created or revised. It soon becomes an untrue statement.

When you want to highlight new additions to a menu, use a note such as "( 10/1/98)" following the link. This will give visitors much more accurate information about what "New" really means.

Copyright Your Work

Your students' work belongs to them. Generally, do not publish them on the 'Net without their and their parents' written consent.

Protect their ownership by including a copyright notice at the bottom of every page. [You can include the symbol by using the text "& copy;", as in "Copyright date by Yourname"

Check our references to copyright for further information.

Check your work on multiple platforms

What looks great on one browser can look like a bad idea on another browser. This is one of the great challenges of Web design. How do you develop site that looks good on different browsers?

If possible, test your site using both Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer. You might also want to check your design out on different operating systems such as Mac and Windows 95/98/NT.

Back your work up everyday

This may seem self-explanatory, but it's a good idea to get into the habit. The one day you forget will be the one day a freak lightning storm will melt your hard drive.

Page 1: Naming conventions
Page 2: Color and Graphics
Page 3: Relative Links
Page 4: Finding a Web Host
Page 5: Keep it Simple
Next section: Writing for the Web

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