KIDS: Website Guidelines

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Guidelines for Designing Successful School Websites

 

Over the past years, we have reviewed hundreds of school websites as part of our "Connecticut Schools on the Web" database project.

In order that schools might benefit from our experience and be able to apply the knowledge we have gained to the development of their websites, we offer the following suggested standards. They may be used as a checklist, and any or all of the items may be adopted.

The ConneCT Kids Committee encourages your originality and creativity in the design of school websites, but we also believe that the use of certain basic standards and design elements will help produce more useful, informative and functional school websites. Our measure of success is the efficiency with which the average visitor to your website can locate and acquire the information that they are seeking, information we believe most visitors will want to know.

It is also a goal of the ConneCT Kids Committee to encourage schools to adopt published accessibility standards so that those visitors who utilize assistive technologies will be afforded the same level of access to your websites as is the general public.

1. Design for the efficient delivery of critical information, not for visual effects.

a. Limit graphics and use the most compact formats.

b. Use easy to read, standard fonts and page layouts

c. Eliminate backgrounds or use only low-resolution backgrounds

d. Avoid the use of hard to read text colors such as yellow.

e. Avoid using hard to read text color combinations such as red on black.

f. Eliminate distracting or annoying effects such as flying text or moving objects.

g. Avoid slanted or special effect text. Especially avoid scripts or ornamented fonts.

h. Keep important information in text, not graphics.

i. Use a logical pattern for the grouping of information.

j. Display critical contact information prominently and clearly.

k. Keep it simple.

2. Include all necessary school contact and location information up front.

a. Give the full school name, address, telephone number (including area code), Fax number, and a general school email address on the home page.

b. Provide accurate, up-to-date directions to the school.

c. Provide a full list of school administrators, guidance counselors and the school nurse.

d. Include a link to the local school board or superintendent's office websites if available.

3. Include useful information that most parents will want to know.

a. School calendars.

b. Any dress code standards.

c. A student handbook if available.

d. Up-to-date lunch menus.

e. Grade and behavior standards.

f. Teacher contact information.

g. Up-to-date special event information.

4. Focus on your intended audience.

a. Use the appropriate age level language for your primary audience.

b. Provide sub pages at other levels for other user groups.

c. Keep your website up-to date and accurate.

d. Review your website on a regular basis for accuracy and completeness.

e. Remove out-of -date information.

f. Better nothing than wrong.

g. Immediately publish any URL changes and provide re-directs.

h. Always remember that you are reaching a truly global audience.

i. Avoid "Under Construction" pages. They just waste time. Post pages ONLY when you have actual, complete information.

6. Suggested content additions.

a. Event information - music, sports, theater.

   1. Scores.

   2. Schedules.

b. Student awards and honor roll.

c. After school activity information.

   1. Clubs

   2. Tutoring

d. Library hours.

e. School awards.

f. Summer reading lists.

7. Adopt the accessibility standards as published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative.

www.w3.org/TR/1999/WAI-WEBCONTENT-19990505/full-checklist.html

The ConneCT Kids Committee

A State of Connecticut committee facilitated by the Connecticut Commission on Children and the Connecticut General Assembly.

You may contact ConneCT Kids by email at connect.kids@ct.gov

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Content Last Modified on 3/16/2007 8:44:36 AM