• Go over the website checklist to determine what server best meets your publishing needs. 
  • Decide on the directory structure of the site before doing any publishing.
    If you plan on creating a large site, it may be helpful to break the pages up into different directories. Directories help you organize and maintain your site by grouping the pages into their appropriate folders. For example, if you had a website relating to a Pizza Company, it would be helpful to have seperate directories for information about the menu, employees, locations, and for website images. This avoids the clutter of having all the files and images in one root folder.

    Note: When using directories be sure to put the an index.html file in the root of each directory. This not prevents directory browsing, and also gives the pages a more professional look. 
  • Break up the content into small separate pages as opposed to large long pages.
    Studies have shown that when people surf the web they tend browse, as opposed to read. Hence the term "Web Browser". Therefore when designing your web pages, you must keep in mind that the content you publish must be for the digital medium. This means keeping the pages short and concise, using summaries of material - allowing users to read on more detailed information if they choose, using highlighting keywords when possible, and using list items. 
  • On most web pages, including JMU's, web pages are divided into 4 areas: header, menu, body, and footer.

    • Header: Usually includes information about the department/program/person that is publishing the material. The header usually includes an organizational logo or slogan.
    • Menu: Usually in the form of either a sidebar, or a list below the header, it displays the different sections that are available on the web site. The Menu allows you to jump between different sections of the site you are visiting.
    • Body: This portion includes the main content that you would like to display on your site.
    • Footer: This usually includes contact information for the website publisher and may include a smaller version of the logo that is in the header.
  • Usability / Accessibility
    One important consideration when creating a website, is to ensure that it is friendly and accessible to everybody.

    • Images: Limit the use of images if possible. Excessive use of images can be frustrating for users with slower connections, due to the amount of time it will take to load your site. Keep in mind that if you do use images, you should use alt text for users with disabilities, or who have simply turned images off on their browsers.
    • Color: Keep in mind that certain colors do not display well on the web. When authoring documents it is best to use dark writing on a light background to avoid printing issues and issues for people with visual impairments such as color blindness. If you use a background image on your webpage, be sure that the text is legible on top of the image.
    • Page Validation: If the pages do not validate they may not be able to be viewed in all web browsers. If you use the web publishing tool Homesite, there is a HTML validator built into the program. If you use a different tool, you can use the website http://validator.w3.org/ to ensure that your pages validate.
    • Avoid frames, avoid too many animations
      Frames have been found to be annoying to web visitors, and should be avoided if at all possible.
      Too many animations distract the visitor from the actual content on the site.

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