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Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.
Mahatma Gandhi, 1869 - 1948
Indian pacifist

The online learning series

Basics of Website development

Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us
A YouTube Video by Michael Welsh, Kansas State University

There are many tools which will enable you to create clear, effective websites.
However, if you are new at the game, it is helpful to

  • Gain an understanding of effective websites
  • Fit your concept into a process of design
  • Have fun creating your website!

Summary of design:

  • Identify your audience:

    Motivate your audience: treat them with respect
    and provide proactive feedback opportunities;
    Establish clear, measurable web site objectives or design purposes;
    Acknowledge reactions, effort & success,
    and built in help for failure to meet expectations

  • Content

    Focus and define your website content
    Language should be simple, understandable for a global audience
    Promote scanning content for important concepts
    Build in white space
    Prioritize your information, as with an outline or concept map

  • Navigation:

    Layered (site maps);
    Organized (think "outline")

  • Incorporating graphics
    Developing websites begins with its text and structure. After the basic structure is developed, the content should be analyzed as to what would benefit from illustration whether line or photographic graphics


  • choose a background and text colors with high contrast
  • use a browser safe palette
    to be consistent across platform and browser
  • format text consistently

    avoid color changes;
    avoid italics (hard to read), color changes, and underlining (mistaken for links);
    avoid overly-large text

  • avoid textured backgrounds
    that make it difficult to read
  • illustrate content with simple, symbiotic, scaled (small), stagnant (non-moving) graphics
  • avoid "dancing dogs":
    graphics that show off but do nothing for content
  • file formats: compressed (.jpg) photographs, and drawings in (.gif)

Here are some helpful sites:

Web Design
extensive topics from the University of Minnesota Duluth

Web Style Guide
Patrick Lynch, Yale Center for Advanced Instructional Media; and Sarah Horton, Dartmouth Curricular Computing, Dartmouth Didactic Web. One of the best comprehensive guides to the design of websites ( (18 February, 2004)

The basics and the latest on HTML
World Wide Web Consortium [W3C] founded in 1994 to develop common protocols for the evolution of the World Wide Web. Here you will find pointers to specifications for HTML, guidelines on how to use HTML to the best effect, and pointers to related work at W3C (18 February, 2004)
Forums | Gearing up | Exploring | Sharing | Learning

Pegasus Web Design Resources
features web design, graphic design and Adobe Photoshop tutorials written by Daniel Piechnick, a professional Web Designer based in Adelaide, South Australia. He tries to keep the web design and graphic design tutorials on this site as original as possible, and creates new tutorials regularly. (18 February, 2004)

Top Ten Mistakes in Web Design
(18 February, 2004)

Top Ten Mistakes of Web Management
(18 February, 2004)

Jakob Nielsen authored the above two "Top ten"

Alexa provides traffic data and rankings on web sites

Alta Vista:
Who links to your website? How popular are you? Search for these links using Alta Vista's search. Type "link:" and your address (don't include http://www). Remember any check of this sort only searches the database of the particular search engine, in this case Alta Vista) (18 February, 2004)
Robert Woodhead, AnimEigo automates the process of registering your website with search engines and indexes.. You decide what sites you want to register with, and the site will generate a custom form that asks for exactly the information needed to register with those sites. (18 February, 2004)

Dave Raggett: When editing HTML it's easy to make mistakes. HTML TIDY is a free utility for fixing (HTML) mistakes automatically and tidying up sloppy editing into nicely laid out markup. (18 February, 2004)Ozone, Dr. Thaddeus, Hands-On Training
Great little tutorials in Photoshop (drop shadows, lighting effects, transparency, tiled backgrounds, 216 colors, etc.) as well as Javascript rollovers. (18 February, 2004) Corp, Site design and graphics
Step by step instructions with illustrations on various effects, including dripping, soft beveled, and "X Files" text; dirty snow, transparent GIF's, chalk effect, etc. (18 February, 2004)

Lindsay Marshal, Color selector
A Website that automates and illustrates your color selection, but does not demonstrate the color safe palette or their values. Handy nonetheless. ( (18 February, 2004)