Careful planning can help you to create a website that is well organized and easily maintained. The following guidelines and considerations will help you plan the layout of your site before you begin the actual document creation. In addition to the information below, please see Web Page Finishing Touches Checklist: Is it Done Yet? and the Technical Standards for a concise list of required and preferred elements for all Seminole State online publications.
Templates and General Structure
To help individuals, departments, and organizations start publishing their information on the web, we have developed consistent templates within the CMS system. These templates are designed to help you put documents on-line quickly, and promote a consistent look and feel for our Web resources. The idea of consistent look and feel is not intended to suppress creativity or individuality, but rather to provide students with similar content, layout, and navigation across programs and campuses.
We recommend the following guidelines for web document/site structure:
- Break a large document into separate HTML "pages." Tim Berners-Lee, the father of the web, suggests keeping the length of each individual web document under 5 letter-sized pages.
- Consider providing a simple, non-hypertext version of the information for those who might prefer to download the information.
- If your page is complex, involving video or scripting, offer a text-only version.
- Generally each of your pages should be understandable on their own. The Web allows you to link several "pages" into your HTML documents; however, a page should not depend on related or linked pages to clarify its meaning or origin.
- Make certain the layout for a series of related pages is consistent.
- Test your document on several different browsers before you release it. There are many different web browsers.
- Since each browser has its own method of allowing a user to navigate the Web, avoid creating links such as "click here" or "press the right arrow key." Emphasize the information to which the link leads and not a user action.
- Remember that some of your off-campus users may be using a dial-up telephone connection to the Internet. You should gear all of your pages to allow timely display on a 56.6 modem connection.
- Related information should be grouped by context and organized with headings.