Creating Powerful Webs
April 20, 2004
The Forum's final program of the academic year returned to the
subject of mastering your Web site. A panel of speakers-Mark Engebretson
and Barb Smith from the Academic Health Center; Stephanie L. Platteter
and Ozlem Ersin from the College of Continuing Education; Kristeen
Bullwinkle and Jeff Abuzzahab from the College of Education and
Human Development; and Steven Mueske from the OIT Web Department-shared
experience and advice on Web development and maintenance.
Key tips were:
- Identify your users (audience)
- Create content based on probable user needs, not possible user
needs (i.e., do not allow content to become unwieldy)
- Make sure you include "actionable" items (e.g., contact
us, register here, request a brochure, download an application,
- Develop a schedule for Web site maintenance. Decide who writes
the content, who edits the content, and who puts up the content.
Keep in mind the parallels to the print process. An expert should
create Web content and, most likely, a different expert should code
and manage the content. The first ensures up-to-date, accurate,
and relevant information; the second ensures that the site is consistent
in look and functions correctly. Just as in print medium, you need
to establish style sheets for your Web site.
Final words of advice:
- Do a usability check; it is well worth the expense.
- Do a reverse search on Google to see who is linking to your
site. Good idea to also check your own site when you change something
on the Web site; links to your site could be affected.
- Check your own links regularly; broken links are unprofessional.
- Make sure users always know where they are on your site, and
that they can always return to the home page from any other page.
- Use University
Web Development resources