William M. Pegram
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Web Site Proposal and Project
Revised: March 14, 2006
The first step is to think of one or more ideas for a web site. The most important thing here is to pick something that you want to do because this will help you devote the time necessary to do a good project. Feel free to consult with the instructor if you have trouble thinking of ideas or are not sure whether a particular topic would be appropriate. Feel free to look at some of the best student projects in previous classes for ideas.
Most of these students projects have not been done for a client. In these "client-less" sites, the material from the site is taken from books or the internet, or written/developed by the student. A few students have done websites for organizations or companies with which they are affiliated. Doing a website for a client is good experience but either you have to be in a position to provide the content (e.g. you are involved with the organization) or the client must provide you content in a timely fashion.
If you would like to do a site for a client, consider doing one for a NVCC instructor. To determine whether a NVCC instructor has a website, look up the name at www.nvcc.edu/phone/a2z You could then ask the instructor whether they would be interested in having you do a website for them. They would have to provide you content (e.g. syllabi) in a timely fashion but could do as they liked with your final product. You would host it on your site and/or provide them assistance with putting it up on their site. I can be involved as needed.
Once you have chosen a topic, it is very helpful to think through the project before you start coding. Writing things down in a proposal will help in this process and will give the instructor a chance to comment before you start coding. Doing the site proposal will probably take you 2-3 hours.
The web site proposal will not be graded. It need not be more than a page of text, although you may find that 2-3 pages are needed, and should address the following elements. The answer to each element should ignore the fact that you are doing this for a class. For example; the purpose of the site is not to pass the course, or learn more about web site design, and the instructor or your classmates are not the intended audience.
- Similar sites review - Looking at "similar" sites is a great sort of ideas; reviewing a few (2-4) carefully is more important than reviewing many. You should list the URL and title of the site, and cover the aspects of the site that are relevant to your project.
- Purpose - In a sentence, what is the purpose of the site?
- Intended audience - Keeping in mind your audience(s) helps you decide what content to include and how much you should explain
- Goals - Listing specific goals of the site will often be useful in deciding on specific content for the site
- Site structure - what elements do you want on each page, navigational structure -- drawing pictures (storyboards) for this is probably the best way to communicate this
When you are proposing to revise an existing site, it is very important that you be as specific as you can about the changes you propose to make. As with other proposals, this is not a commitment on your part; only a statement of intentions.
The web site project counts for 25% of your final grade. Whereas you may obtain a perfect score on homework assignments and exams just by meeting the technical requirements specified, the same is not true for the project. When I grade the projects, I rank them, or sometimes group them, and projects of roughly equal quality receive roughly equal scores. What constitutes "better" is subjective, but the most important factors are probably:
- page layout, use of colors, images, and fonts; readability
- content: Is the content on the web site appropriate for the intended audience?
- navigation: Do the links work? Is the navigation scheme logical and easy to understand?
- technical difficulty (e.g., number of pages and images, did you create the images, etc.)
- robustness of site to different monitor resolutions, connection speeds, and browsers (this factor is more important for an advanced course than a beginning course)
The web site must be created using Notepad or another text editor or with a WYSIWYG editor such as Adobe GoLive, Macromedia Dreamweaver, Microsoft Front Page, Netscape Composer, etc. You must not use a word processor and "Save as HTML." The exception to this is that if you have documents that already exist in Word, you may save them as HTML -- these pages however will not count toward the 4 page minimum.
Web sites should have the following
- At least four pages (except in very unusual cases)
- At least one image - a picture or graphic, and it need not be original
- At least one table
- At least one relative link
- At least one absolute link to another site
- At least one mailto link
- Descriptive title tags on all pages
- Alt, height, and width attributes in all img tags
- Attribution within the site or in HTML comments for all images and text taken from elsewhere
- If graphics are resized, they should almost always be resized in a graphics program rather than with the
- height and width attributes of the img tag
- No spaces in file and folder names
- Home page of project should normally be an index.html or index.htm file The best way to do this is to create a project folder within your website where the home page of your project is an index.html or index.htm file within this folder
All students in my classes to date have done a site to be hosted on the internet and the internet site will be that which is graded. However, it is also possible to design a web site for a CD.