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What Makes A Successful Web Site? Navigating the Process. Monday, December 17, 2001 | Case V Conference: Chicago.

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What Makes A Successful Web Site?Navigating the Process

Monday, December 17, 2001| Case V Conference: Chicago

Bart Caylor, Principal, Brainstorm Design, IndianapolisTed Hattemer, Director of New Media, The Ohio State UniversityChris Williams, Director of Public Information, Anderson University


Web sites are here to stay. Their influence grows daily. What makes a successful site? This session will provide a review of some of the best college Web sites and what makes them good. We will discuss practical advice on how to make your site better, regardless of the size of your school.

bart caylor
Bart Caylor

Principal, Brainstorm Design

Brainstorm is a graphic design firm that has an equal focus on multi-media and web-site development as well as traditional design. Bart has managed websites and other projects for clients such as The University of Notre Dame, Anderson University, RCA, Motorola, Bryan College, Institute for Study Abroad, Cornerstone University, The Indianapolis Speedway, and Pearson Education. Brainstorm's experience in designing integrated marketing plans, web sites, collateral, packaging, point of purchase displays, campaigns, identity programs, direct mail and multi-media presentations has proven to be a successful key to our client's communications. Bart is active as Alumni Council member at Anderson University.

ted hattemer
Ted Hattemer

Director of New Media: The Ohio State University

Ted Hattemer has been with University Marketing Communications since January 1999. Prior to that Ted served as Web Editor for the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CFAES),where he produced the first CFAES Web Site, and the CD-ROM/Web Site "Ohioline." Prior to that, Ted was an Associate Editor for CFAES, and an Editor at Macmillian/McGraw-Hill and Glencoe Publishing. He received his Bachelor of Arts with a major in English from The Ohio State University in 1991. Ted's main responsibilities Director of New Media include being the on-site advocate for Ohio State Web visitors and their interests, liaison to other Web developers within the university, and advocate for Ohio State's interests in recruitment, matriculation, and retention of quality students, faculty, and staff. In addition Ted serves on various committees, directing the technology path for Ohio State.

chris williams
Chris Williams

Director of Media and Electronic Information, Anderson University

Chris Williams has been with Anderson University as Director of Media and Electronic Communications since 1995. Prior to that Chris served as Director of Public Relations for Kruse International, a for-profit firm in northern Indiana. He received a Bachelor of Arts with a specialization in Public Relations from Anderson University in 1992 and earned a Master of Business Administration with honors from the Falls School of Business at AU in 2000. Chris’s main responsibilities include serving as the chief spokesperson for the university with members of the media, coordinating selected special events with the Office of University Relations, and directing the ongoing development of the university’s public Web site. Chris serves on several campus committees at AU and provides communication support and counsel to a variety of organizations within the City of Anderson.

the website vehicle analogy
The Website-Vehicle Analogy

Preparing to embark on your website journey requires understanding the capabilities your chosen “vehicle:”

  • How it Looks: Aesthetics
  • How it Handles: Logistics
  • How it Performs: Technology
  • Heed the Warning Signs
how your website looks aesthetics
How Your Website Looks: Aesthetics

The appearance of your final product

  • Quality Design: Visual Appearance
  • Design vs. Download: Delivery Appearance
  • Market-Driven: Appropriate Appearance
  • Brand Issues: Consistent Appearance
aesthetics quality design
Aesthetics: Quality Design

The visual appearance of your final product

  • First Impressions
    • Quality design permeates all society
    • Competition is not other schools, but culture and industry (MTV, Mountain Dew, Etc.)
    • Perception is often reality – especially in compressed time
  • Quality Control: Proofing content, etc.
  • Resources
    • Professional team members
    • Options: Art Department, Etc.
aesthetics design vs download
Aesthetics: Design vs. Download

The delivery appearance of your final product

  • Does the appearance distract from the experience of the site?
  • How long does the site take to download?
  • What is your audience? Where are they connected?
  • Are images optimized?

Design vs. Download:Institute for Study AbroadButler University | Indianapolis,

aesthetics market driven
Aesthetics: Market Driven

The appropriate appearance of your final product

  • Are you serving a site that is relevant to your audience?
  • Will your audience react to the site?
  • Is there a clear call-to-action? What is the end purpose of the website?
  • What are you communicating?
aesthetics brand issues
Aesthetics: Brand Issues

The consistent appearance of your final product

  • Is your message consistently presented throughout the site?
  • Are logos and corporate guidelines utilized?
  • Does your website work with other communications?
  • Does the design reflect the brand?
aesthetics checklist
Aesthetics: Checklist

The appearance of your final product

  • What is the first impression worth?
  • Know how to optimize and keep your site slim
  • Know your audience and work toward that end
  • Keep your brand prominent and consistent
  • Develop a plan and put it in writing
how your website handles logistics
How Your Website Handles: Logistics

The ease of use of your final product

  • Organization
  • Intuitive Paradigm
  • Types of Navigation
logistics organization
Logistics: Organization
  • Easy
  • Logical
  • Appropriate use of content vs. other
logistics intuitive paradigm
Logistics: Intuitive Paradigm
  • Logical
  • Following conventions
  • Ease of Use
  • Respect the Expectations
logistics types of navigation
Logistics: Types of Navigation
  • Global
  • Secondary
  • Tertiary, Deeper
  • Ancillary
  • Redundant
  • Portal
  • Discovery
logistics checklist
Logistics: Checklist

The navigational use of your final product

  • How easy is your site to use?
  • Is it intuitive?
  • Is the navigation consistent, and expected?
  • Are you utilizing several kinds of navigation to make it user centric?
  • Develop a plan and put it in writing
how your website performs technology
How Your Website Performs: Technology

The delivery of your final product

  • Know your needs
  • Know your limits
  • Passive vs. Interactive
  • Dynamic vs. Static
  • Flexible vs. Reactionary
technology know your needs
Technology: Know Your Needs
  • First Answer Questions:
    • Anticipated Traffic
    • Audience Needs and Expectations
    • Audience Makeup
    • Daily updates? News focused?
  • Match your needs with the technology
    • Frames
    • Flash
    • Java
    • DHTML
technology know your limits
Technology: Know Your Limits
  • First Answer Questions:
    • Anticipated Traffic
    • Audience Limits and Expectations
    • Server Issues
    • Hosting Issues
  • Match your limits with the technology
    • IS Department/Server farm
    • T1 vs. T3 vs. Napster
    • Packeteer
technology passive vs interactive
Technology: Passive vs. Interactive
  • Will your content be accessed daily for reference?
  • Is it important to drive traffic to site?
  • Are there tools that will drive traffic back to your site?
  • Are you customizing the experience based upon the user? Identifying plug-ins?
technology dynamic vs static
Technology: Dynamic vs. Static
  • How often does your content change?
  • Have you identified areas on campus that will not change
technology flexible vs reactionary
Technology: Flexible vs. Reactionary
  • Do you need to update information immediately as it happens (sports, news, etc.)
  • Do you have to call others to make changes
  • What is the process?
dynamic vs static flexible vs reactionary george fox university newberg oregon www georgefox edu

Dynamic vs. Static & Flexible vs. Reactionary:George Fox University | Newberg,

technology checklist
Technology: Checklist

The delivery of your final product

  • What should the site accomplish?
  • Who is the audience and how do they expect to interact?
  • Who will update the site? How often?
  • Distributed Authorship
  • Decentralized?
  • Vendor Managed?
  • Develop a plan and put it in writing
danger trailblazing
Danger: Trailblazing

Be careful in the “Technology Frontier”

  • Don’t let technology be proven or “unproven” at your expense
  • Be wary of bleeding edge technology
  • Use multimedia and other tools where appropriate
danger trailblazing1
Danger: Trailblazing

Keep in mind your end goals

  • Don’t jeopardize your user’s experience by requiring non-standard plug-ins to deliver content that could delivered otherwise
  • Remember to create your site for the lowest-common-denominator
danger trailblazing2
Danger: Trailblazing

Refer often to your master plans

  • Keep in mind how you will maintain the content within a “bell or whistle”
  • Don’t let gadgetry distort or prevent users from experiencing the message
danger complacency
Danger: Complacency

Be careful when you are “finished”

  • The risk of seeing that you have arrived, or that your site is complete.
  • In the interactive world, nothing is complete. Educate others that the job is never done.
  • A website is a permanent budget item
danger complacency1
Danger: Complacency

Don’t let your site go stale

  • Beware of dark sites and “cobweb” sites.
  • Avoid the use of words “never” and “always” when discussing the web
  • Create budgets and plans for new features and sections
danger complacency2
Danger: Complacency

Look for opportunities to keep it fresh

  • Relevant News for Audience
  • Testimonials/Case Studies
  • New Features that are manageable
  • Promotional ideas to drive traffic
  • Tandem Marketing: Website URL on everything that leaves the school.
danger the path of least resistance
Danger: The Path of Least Resistance

The easy way is not always the best way

  • Be a critical thinker in web development and marketing
  • Think outside the box
  • Know the medium. Don’t try to apply print paradigms to web
danger the path of least resistance1
Danger: The Path of Least Resistance

The easy way is not always the best way

  • Shop around for your best solutions
  • Establish valuable relationships with vendors, staff, students, etc.
danger the path of least resistance2
Danger: The Path of Least Resistance

The easy way is not always the best way

  • Shop around for your best solutions
  • Establish valuable relationships with vendors, staff, students, etc.
danger being an isolationist
Danger: Being an Isolationist

Doing it alone can be dangerous

  • Leverage from others
  • Borrow ideas
  • Share Knowledge
danger being an isolationist1
Danger: Being an Isolationist

Doing it alone can be dangerous

  • Use the Internet for research (trolling the web is not wasted time)
  • Visit, watch other websites (including those outside of higher ed)
  • Visit high quality un-related sites create a blended approach…how is Amazon doing bookstores?
danger being an isolationist2
Danger: Being an Isolationist

Cultivate Professional Relationships

  • There is no way one person can know everything.
  • Monthly/weekly meetings with team
  • Maintaining centrally focused websites keep you thinking about the “rest of campus.”
successful websites checklist
Successful Websites: Checklist

What should the site accomplish?

  • Aesthetics: First impression counts
  • Logistics: Keep it simple for your users
  • Technology: Appropriate and useful for users
  • Be cautious of the “latest and greatest”
  • Never become complacent with your site
  • Avoid “easy answers” and keep to your plan
  • Surround yourself with experts and others