Making Web Sites Out Of Nothing At All


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How to create a web page for a university department when little content is provided. Adapted from “The Illusionist: Pulling Web Content Out of Thin Air, by Suzanne Wayne, Penn State College of Education, as presented at HighEdWebDev 2007 conference.

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Making Web Sites Out Of Nothing At All

  1. 1. Content Supply: Making Web Sites Out of Nothing at All ISU WebComm School Graham Garner Adapted from “The Illusionist: Pulling Web Content Out of Thin Air, by Suzanne Wayne, Penn State College of Education
  2. 2. Preparation: Look for similar sites <ul><li>Check the Big Sky institutions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Eastern Washington University </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Idaho State University </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The University of Montana </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Montana State University - Bozeman </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Northern Arizona University </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>University of Northern Colorado </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Portland State University </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>California State University, Sacramento </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Weber State University </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Preparation: Look for similar sites <ul><li>Check other regional institutions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Boise State University </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>University of Idaho </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>University of Utah </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Utah State University </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Check peer institutions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask departments who their peers are </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Look for keywords and descriptions </li></ul>
  4. 4. Preparation: Look at print material <ul><li>Web is the new Print </li></ul><ul><li>Everything starts on paper </li></ul><ul><li>Look for: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Brochures </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Posters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Booklets </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Press Releases </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Planning Documents </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Strategic Plans </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Grants proposals </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Preparation: Talk to client <ul><li>Ask the client: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What kind of information do people regularly ask for? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What kinds of information do you look for when visiting peer departments or institutions? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What do you want your audience to know about your department? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What action do you want your audience to take? </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Preparation: Talk to the PR folk <ul><li>University Relations </li></ul><ul><li>Photographic Services </li></ul><ul><li>Public Information Officers </li></ul><ul><li>Development Officers </li></ul>
  7. 7. Basic Content List <ul><li>Global navigation (includes search box) </li></ul><ul><li>Contact information </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Department addresses and phone numbers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Directory of faculty & staff </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Unit identifiers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Logos, wordmarks </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Calendar </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Events, meetings </li></ul></ul><ul><li>About Us (mission statement) </li></ul>
  8. 8. Where to Look <ul><li>Academic Catalogs </li></ul><ul><li>Class Listings </li></ul><ul><li>Online Directory </li></ul><ul><li>E-mail footers </li></ul><ul><li>Faculty/Staff Directory </li></ul><ul><li>Related Departments Web sites </li></ul>
  9. 9. Keep it Simple <ul><li>Short and scannable </li></ul><ul><li>Outline first, then design </li></ul><ul><li>Provide “nosearch” link to client </li></ul><ul><li>Set and share deadlines </li></ul><ul><li>Clearly mark missing content </li></ul><ul><li>Say something like: “I have been able to give priority to this site up to this point. However, due to my work schedule, if I do not receive your final content changes by this date, the site will be delayed.” </li></ul>
  10. 10. Steal from Yourself <ul><li>Original grant proposals </li></ul><ul><li>Original program proposals </li></ul><ul><li>Strategic plans </li></ul><ul><li>Press releases </li></ul><ul><li>E-mails and letters </li></ul>
  11. 11. Copy, but Don’t Copy-and-Paste <ul><li>It’s OK to get ideas from other Web sites, but don’t just copy-and-paste </li></ul><ul><li>Use others’ content as a suggestion </li></ul><ul><li>If you want it verbatim … </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Seek permission </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide attribution (credit). </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Best solution: Share content with client, and ask for something similar. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Web is the New Print <ul><li>Web Site = Printed Brochure </li></ul><ul><li>Client/Content Owner = Client/Content Owner </li></ul><ul><li>Writer/Editor = Writer/Editor </li></ul><ul><li>Web Designer = Graphic Designer </li></ul><ul><li>Programmer = Printer </li></ul><ul><li>You wouldn’t ask your printer to write your brochure, would you? </li></ul>