Writing in Digital Environments

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Website Requirements

due dates

  • Tuesday, Sept. 13: About and Welcome pages and Header image
  • Tuesday, Nov. 15: Fourth page of your choice
  • Thursday, Dec. 8: Long-Form Webtext page

deliverables

  • a header image designed specifically for your site
  • welcome page (the main/home page of your site)
  • about page
  • Long-Form Webtext page
  • fourth page of your choosing

grading

Header, Welcome, About, and Fourth Page are worth 150 points (15%)

Long-Form Webtext is worth 250 points (25%)

overview

Your blog and website are really one site, but for the purposes of clarity and grading, we separating the guidelines for the blog from the guidelines for the static pages in your site. Below are the guidelines for the static pages. See the Website & Blog project main page for examples of sites that follow the model we are using: welcome/home page, about page, additional content pages, and a blog.

guidelines

You need to clearly explain who your target audience is for the blog, who you are, and why the information and/or analysis you will provide in this space is worth the reader’s precious time. Remember: there is a lot of information available on the web, so you need to give potential readers a reason to spend some of their online time with you on a regular basis. The Welcome and About pages do this work for you. The Portfolio and additional fourth page provide content that you want readers to be able to access easily and possibly repeatedly or that does not fit in the smaller, rotating space of your blog. The header image and other visual elements create the mood you want for your site, contribute to your ethos/online personality, and visually represent your topic.

Welcome page
The Welcome page is the home page for your website/blog. It should provide a brief explanation of who you are (save the details for the about page), explain the topic and purpose of your website/blog to your readers and, if necessary, explain how to navigate your site. Typically, welcome pages are not more than 1-3 paragraphs; your length will depend upon your audience, purpose, and context.

About page
The About page serves to introduce you to your readers. Part of convincing readers to stick with your blog is establishing your ethos or authority as an author. For example, if you are writing about personal finance, what gives you the knowledge necessary to advise others in this area? Are you a finance major? Have you personally learned how to live without credit cards? Are you in charge of maintaining the household budget for you and your roommates? Remember that the web is full of sketchy information—give your readers a reason to trust you. Typically, about pages are not more than 1-3 paragraphs; your length will depend upon your audience, purpose, and context.

Header image
You must design a custom header image for your site. This can be as complex as using Photoshop to create a collage (as I did for our course site) or Illustrator to draw your own logo or as simple as finding a photo or other image that you like and cropping or resizing it to fit. Your header does not need to be “fancy.” It should visually represent the topic and/or spirit of your site (refer to your Design Plan here) and should follow the CRAP principles. When you choose the WordPress template for your site, make sure to look at the customization options and make sure you can change the header image. All templates have a default header, but not all allow you to change it. Some have other options that allow you to change background colors and some text colors. If you cannot change the colors, make sure that you love them because you are stuck with them and will need to coordinate your header image with them. Think about the colors, images, and textures in your Design Plan when choosing your template.

Long-Form Webtext page
Your Long-Form Webtext project, which you will complete in the second half of the semester, must be represented on your site. Exactly how you will represent it will depend on what the final text is (e-booklet, website, video, etc.). For example, if it is a video, you might host it on YouTube and then embed it on a page of your site that will be listed in your main menu. If it is a separate website, you might simply create a link in your main menu that will take your audience directly to the long-form webtext site. This will become clear after you build your blog and have a better understanding of how menus work.

Fourth page of your choice
The content of this page is completely up to you, but in your reflective analysis you must be able to justify its existence by explaining how it fits your statement of purpose (audience, purpose, and context). If your audience includes prospective employers, you might choose to make a resume page. Writing film reviews? Maybe a page explaining your critical approach or a list of your top 25 favorite films. Remember that pages are static, so the content you include on them shouldn’t need to change on a regular or frequent basis. Save information that needs updating more than once a month for your blog posts.

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