Completing a Website Assignment: Tips and Suggestions for Students
Make sure to follow your instructor's directions. The following suggestions and options can provide more information to help you complete the assignment. First, you will need to select the necessary technology tool for the assignment with Step 1: Choose the Right Tool. Then use Step 2: Suggestions Before Starting the Assignment to acquire some best practices and ideas in preparation for the project. As you work on the assignment, use Step 3: Tips for Working on the Assignment to help you complete the assignment.
Step 1: Choose the Right Tool
Free, Online Tools
This is a good option for users who are looking for an inexpensive and simple introduction to Web design. The only requirements are an email address, a computer, and online access. Following registration, technology tool websites guide the user with tutorials and helpful examples. A few examples of these tools include Jimdo and Webs, both of them providing free, Web editing services. See Free Web Design Tools for more information.
This is a great option for those who are studying to become Web Designers. Dreamweaver adapts to recent trends in technology to promote a higher level of efficiency. However, the program can be expensive and it requires a significant amount of training. Learning Dreamweaver will require that you learn some HTML and CSS code. Sign up for one-on-one training with BITS to learn more about Dreamweaver. However, take note that these sessions will only provide a basic introduction to Web design with Dreamweaver. There are a few other things that will need to be considered if you choose to use Dreamweaver:
You will need to select a specific location to store your website. View the Table: Select the Right Storage Space for Web Assignments, for more information about storage locations and possibilities.
See Dreamweaver for Web Design for more general information surrounding storage, training and additional resources.
Note: Mozilla SeaMonkey can be used as an easy alternative to Dreamweaver while still enabling users with Web editing services and customizable options. Tutorials for Mozilla Seamonkey are available on YouTube.
The assignment could require different tools depending on the goal of the assignment. If you have flexibility in your assignment, consider the following options.
- Digital PDF portfolios can include text, images, and hyperlinks to other websites as well as to other locations within the PDF files. You can convert examples of your work to PDF format and then use Adobe Acrobat Professional to make interactive features such as hyperlinks and bookmarks. You can link to your digital PDF portfolio from websites or send the PDF file to prospective employers via email. Because the PDF portfolio is one file, it is easy for anyone to open and print. Click here to see what Dr. Angie Sterling-Orth’s Communication Sciences and Disorders students do with digital portfolios.
- Blogging tools allow you to create written, visual, and auditory content online and share it with classmates and instructors. Visitors can type in comments and integrate discussion.
- LiveJournal at http://www.livejournal.com
- Blogger at http://www.blogger.com
- WordPress at http://www.wordpress.com
- Word or PowerPoint 2007 drawing tools would allow you to create a website mock-up. A number of boxes could be drawn up to represent different elements as they would appear online, and you can customize color, shading, graphic elements, and more. See an example of one English, Creative Writing student who imitated an online publication. The style was used to brainstorm a different form of creative communication.
Step 2: Suggestions Before Starting the Assignment
After deciding which technology tool(s) you will be using, consider the following suggestions before starting the assignment.
Remember to take account of copyright and accessibility requirements. Failure to follow Copyright and Accessibility Laws can lead to serious consequences. In order to follow Accessibility Law, any forms of multimedia (audio, images, video) must be accompanied by script and images need be labeled with alternative text. In order to simplify the process of following Copyright Law, you could use copyright free images, video, and audio galleries such as RoyaltyFreeMusic.Com for audio or GIFS for images. See Accessibility and Fair Use Guidelines for more information.
Start on the assignment early on. This will allow you to become familiar with the technology, ask questions, and work with others. Many forms of technology cannot be learned over night. Therefore, don’t save the project for a few hours before the deadline. You may need to use multiple software programs to complete the assignment. Learning about each of these programs takes a lot of time.
Acquire some helpful resources. See Support for more information.
Don’t forget about additional tools and skills that you will need to complete the assignment. Regardless of the selected tool, you will need additional resources such as copyright-free images, audio, and video, image editing tools, and more.
One UWEC instructor, Dr. Carol Koroghlanian, has created an online handout with tips and suggestions for students who are working on website assignments. Follow this link to check out Carol's tips.
Step 3: Tips for Working on the Assignment
Once you have started the multimedia project, the following tips and suggestions will help you complete the assignment.
Acknowledge the limitations of the technology tool. For example, Jimdo, a free Web design tool, has a set amount of template options and also an advertisement flag on the side of the screen. Another example is the fact that Web editors like Dreamweaver will take a lot of time to learn how to use. These limitations must be taken into consideration while working on the assignment.
Check your website revisions in multiple browsers. Formatting can appear correct in one browser and distorted in another. For example, a website element in Internet Explorer may not look the same in Mozilla Firefox.
Bring some of your own images, audio, and videos when you are being trained to use technology tools. This way, your material can later be used for the assignment.
Use sans serif fonts like Arial, which are most readable online, and avoid using too many different fonts.
Mock-up your website in Microsoft Office Word before trying to put it online. This is a great way to brainstorm and outline the content you would like to include in your website. Mocking-up your website is especially important while using Dreamweaver so that you can separate the tasks of creating the information and implementing the content online.
Save images as .PNG, .JPG, or .GIF. These files are the only possibilities when you attempt to integrate images onto your website.
Use an online tool for selecting appealing, complementary colors. The Color Wizard allows users to submit a base color and get visually appealing, matching colors. Spin the Color Wheel allows users to customize their own color combinations.