Creating Web Pages
Creating Web Pages is designed to help University students, faculty and staff create
and develop Web pages. We remind everyone that the Web is something new and dynamic.
Since it is constantly changing, so is the software and to some extent the hardware
necessary to view the Web. Web browsers have become more sophisticated and there are now HTML editors and Advanced HTML Editors that operate in a "what-you-see-is-what-you-get" or WYSIWYG environment. The best way to learn about the Web and the tools needed to create a
Web page is to use them.
Accommodations to provide the university with services like file sharing and storage,
collaborative tools and creation of personal Web pages, the university now provides
UMdrive, a flexible and more intuitive Web file storage (WFS) application created by Xythos.
The Basics of Web Page Development
Before You Start Development
- Become familiar with the Web
- Learn more about the browsers supported by the University such as Firefox and Internet Explorer. Develop a basic knowledge of HTML. You might want to download an HTML editor and experiment.
- Learn what you need to know
- There are several venues to help you learn the technology necessary to develop a Web
page. The Advanced Learning Center (ALC) offers courses in HTML and Web page development. There are numerous guides online that approach HTML tagging from the beginner's perspective; see Web Resources. Also, local bookstores carry many books that can "walk you through" Web page development
while you learn HTML and experiment with different features.
Planning Your Web Page
- Answer the following questions
- Who is your intended audience? Are you trying to reach current students, staff, and
faculty; future students; alumni; and / or outside researchers and scholars? Will
you want input from persons who view this page?
- Define the purpose of your Web page
- Now that you have defined your audience, what type of information do you wish to make
available to them? Pay particular attention to the level of detail that you want to
present on your Web page.
- Make use of the linking capability of hypertext
- Well-placed hyperlinks can be used to make the text of a document flow more smoothly.
Linking can take the user to many different web sites to gather information. One word
of caution - make sure that your links work. Check each one before your page makes
the transition from development to "go-live".
- Define the content of your Web page
- Writing for the Web by Jakob Nielsen contains "research on how users read on the Web and how authors
should write their Web pages".
Another item to remember, decide the type of text, graphics, audio, forms, etc. that
will best suit your specific Web page.
Designing Your Web Page
- Good design principles are always in season
- One thing to keep in mind when designing a Web page is that not everyone who accesses
your page will have a Pentium processor with 32 meg of RAM and a 19-inch color monitor. Especially today, people access the Web through different
mediums: via modem, some use DSL, some cable and with the advent of wireless, some
without cables. Note, the longer a page takes to load, the less likely your clients
are going to sit and wait for it to appear. Also, the more difficult the page is to
read, the more people tend to look somewhere else.
- Graphics tips
- The use of graphics is important. Make sure that a graphic adds to the usefulness
of your Web page. Also, try to limit the size of your graphic - most sources recommend
between 35K and 50K. Large graphics can delay a Web page in loading. Make sure the
graphic you want to use is not copyrighted or that you have proper permission to use
a copyrighted graphic. Organize your information so that users can move around easily
and find the information they need quickly.
- Things to avoid doing
- Including too many images or images that are too large; creating section headings
with no meaning: for example, using "Sec. 1" rather than "Developing Multimedia".
Avoid the "click here" syndrome - make a hypertext link on a word or phrase rather
than instructing the viewer to "click here"; and creating very long documents that
readers must wade through, commonly referred to as scrolling.
Good Web Development and Design Sites
- Sites to check out for development and design tips:
- One of the most important things
- Now that you have tagged your text with HTML, downloaded graphics, designed your page, and copied the files to your UMdrive account so that it can be seen by all, remember the most important thing - maintain
your Web site. Information changes and your Web site should remain current. Check
links to make sure they work. One of the most frustrating experiences someone can
have is to access a Web site with outdated information and links that don't work.
- More Help:
- Patterns for Personal Web Sites
- information about Web site patterns; for most Web sites, not only for personal Web