Homepage Assignment, SOCW 6355

Description of the homepage assignment Links to homepage development web sites
Examples of homepages Worksheet for designing a Web site
Guidance on developing a homepage Making your homepage accessible
Homepage development process Homepage evaluation form
Working with Pictures FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)    

Description of the homepage assignment

Each student will develop a personal homepage on the WWW using Google sites <http://www.google.com/sites/help/intl/en/overview.html>.   Mac users may want to consider using iWeb to develop their system. 

At a minimum, the homepage will contain the following basic information.

  1. A personal biographical sketch of at least 100 word
  2. A professional biographical sketch of at least 100 words
  3. Approximately 5 pictures depicting your personal self, your professional self, one or more significant others, your physical environment, your major interests, and another picture of your choice. The SSW lab and library provides the capacity to scan and edit pictures.
  4. Note that you can make your web site public or private.  I suggest making this selection when you first establish your site.

Examples of Personal Homepages

Guidance on Developing a Personal Homepage

  1. Get your personal and professional biographical sketch 
  2. Find pictures depicting your personal self, your professional self, one or more significant others, your physical environment, your major interests, and another picture of your choice.  You can scan pictures in the SSW Computer Lab.
  3. Sketch on paper how you would like your home page and accompanying pages to look.  
  4. If you find a background and features you like on another page, save the URL of that page
  5. Typically, you can have three types of links on a web page:  (1) a link to another part of the page, (2) a link to another web page, and (3) a link to a file for downloading, e.g., your resume. 
  6. Downloads may be presented in Word or Adobe (unmodifiable) format.  You can create Adobe (pdf) files using the Save As feature of Word 2010.
  7. Remember, content and simplicity of design is much more important than fancy features or using the latest web techniques

The first step in constructing your home page is to quickly sketch out your preliminary ideas on paper.  Remember, you home page can be as "long" as you like.  However, if you want to present a lot of materials (vita, pictures, course web pages, etc.) you should have a quickly loading home page with links to other specialized web pages.   You can always revise your sketches as you explore what others have done and gain new ideas.  

When making the homepage personal, you should also consider privacy and security issues.  For example, you would not want to indicate that your hobby is collecting expensive jewelry and then include your home address.  Be cautious and sensible with personal information.   It is better to always list your office location, email address, or phone number rather than home address, personal email address, and phone number.  If you are very concerned with security, you may want to use symbolic or fuzzed out pictures of yourself.

Homepage development process

We teach that change that follows the standard change process has a better chance of success. Below in italics are the steps of the standard change process as they apply to developing your homepage. Jot down notes as you think through the steps below.

  1. Engagement/sensing: Establish relationships, listen, explore the situation, identify key characters, and create the urgency and momentum to move forward.  In the context of the homepage assignment, this step involves finding potential servers to house your homepage, viewing other personal homepages and jotting down what you like and dislike about them, and developing a tentative list of tasks and a timetable.
  2. Clarifying overall direction: Clarify expectations and intentions, identify the vision you and others have for the solution and any principles that would guide your actions. In the context of the homepage assignment, this step involves thinking about your homepage and the impressions you are trying to make on various users. Jot down some themes or ideas you have about the overall purpose you are trying to communicate. For example, you might want the homepage to communicate about your family to your friends as well as communicate your professional interests to colleagues. You might see the homepage as establishing you as an expert in a human service area.
  3. Assessment: Identify the priority needs and capacities of all those involved.  In the context of the homepage assignment, this step involves listing your needs and capacities as well as the needs and capacities of other sponsors (your agency). Then you should list all groups of users and the needs and capacities of each group. For example, what hardware and software will all groups of users have to access your homepage?  Will targeted users have limitations, e.g., slow modems, visual impairments, etc. What will they be looking for at your homepage.
  4. Intervention planning: Develop goals, outcome objectives, and process objective for the proposed solution and options to achieve the objectives. In the context of the homepage assignment, this step involves specifying the homepage in terms of overall goals, objectives that specify what outcomes the homepage will achieve, and what process you will use to create the homepage.
  5. Implementation: Design your solution. In the context of the homepage assignment, this step involves sketching out the rough page(s) and links and then using your word processor or web design software to design each page and publish it to your Web site.  Microsoft has many Internet tools, explore their Web site. Netscape also has a HTML editor and design wizard.  
  6. Monitoring and evaluation: State what feedback information will guide client change, i.e., monitoring your processes and evaluating your outcomes. In the context of the homepage assignment, this step involves evaluating your homepage or having others view it and give you feedback.
  7. Disengagement and termination: In the context of the homepage assignment, this step involves specifying when you will remove the homepage from the server.

Working with Pictures

    Pictures and graphics can be used to liven you your homepage.   Pictures can be scanned into digital format or used as downloaded from the web or your digital cameras.  Pictures come in different sizes, resolutions, and formats.  To speed download, pictures should be the size that they appear on the users computer screen without becoming pixilated.  Try to keep pictures small, around 50-100K to avoid long download times.  The .jpg format works well on the Web. 

    To resize pictures if you have MS office installed, find the picture in Windows Explorer (shortcut=windows key, D), right click on the picture and open with Microsoft Office Picture Manager Then look under the Picture tab for the resize option.  There is also a crop option.  Most versions of office make Picture Manager available. 

    If your homepage contains many pictures, you can use a table layout to help control their placement on the page.  Note that all web content is considered to be copyrighted unless stated that it is not copyrighted and can be freely copied.  So, do not find a picture or graphic you like and then copy it to your web site, since you will be violating copyright laws.  For a good source of copyright free graphics, use the insert graphics function in PowerPoint.         


Worksheet for Designing a Web Site

List the objectives of the site along with your needs & strengths to do the assignment

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List major constituents who are potential users of your site

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List needs of major users of your potential site

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List the technologies used by major users, e.g., bandwidth, browser, screen resolution.

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List needs and technology of others users.

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List the resources available ($s, time, expertise, leadership)

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Sketch the content (information, links, etc) of each page

Homepage _________________________________________________________

Page 1  _________________________________________________________

Page 2  _________________________________________________________

Etc.


Making your homepage accessible

Since the Web is a large place, people find what they are looking for by using search engines. Companies that offer search engines have software programs called spiders that continually examine Web sites while categorizing and indexing them for search purposes. Your site should have several design characteristics that help spiders categorize your site so that those searching can find it. These characteristics may have the added advantage of making your site more barrier free for those with a disability. Some advice follows.


Homepage evaluation form

All students will anonymously evaluate the homepage of several other students using the homepage evaluation form.  I will put student evaluations on a curve and use them as part of my grading of this assignment. Note, if students rank other's homepages with all very positive responses, then student input will have little variance and my input will be the major determinant of the grade for this assignment.



Frequently Asked Questions

I save my web site and go to my web site using my browser but my changes do not show up.  What could the problem be?

Answer:   You might have refresh your browser so that it brings in the new saved version of your web page. 

My web site looks great from my computer.  However, when I look at it from another computer, everything seems to be bigger or smaller and in different places.  What can I do to fix this?

Unfortunately, various browsers and computer screens show things differently.  Old desktop screen resolutions may be 1024 X 768 but newer computers have much higher resolutions and the shape of laptop screens is even more varied.  The higher the resolution, the more content that the computer screen can display.  To find your computer screen's resolution, right click on the desktop, Click on Personalize | Display in Win7 and Properties | Settings in XP.  When reviewing colleagues web pages, remember that they might have been developed with a different screen resolution and setting your screen resolution higher or lower might result in a more appealing viewing experience.  Most browers allow you to get a smaller image using Ctrl - and a larger screen by hitting Ctrl +.