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  1. Sea Scouts on the Internet Bruce Chr. Johnson Commodore, Sea Scouts Northeast Region, BSA

  2. Internet Communication: Why do it? • Improve communication with our members • Promote Sea Scouting both inside & outside of Scouting • Remember to ask this question: • What are we trying to accomplish? Sea Scouts on the Internet

  3. Types of Communication • Websites • Resource servers: File Transfer Protocol (“ftp”) sites • Discussion groups: Seascout-Europe-Net • Electronic journals (“e-journals”) • Mail reflectors • Instant Messenger • Chat rooms Sea Scouts on the Internet

  4. Publishing without the expense • Training manuals • Administrative guides • Short press runs • Too expensive to print • Distribute via ftp • Distribute document ONLY in Adobe Acrobat PDF format Sea Scouts on the Internet

  5. Get Indexed • Your goal is to have your website used • To make that happen, it must be found • Include metadata, esp. “Dublin Core” • Get index on at least Google & AltaVista & Yahoo • Each service uses different criteria Sea Scouts on the Internet

  6. Example of Dublin Core Metadata • www.dublincore.org Sea Scouts on the Internet

  7. Indexed on Google Sea Scouts on the Internet

  8. Get Linked !! • Exchange with as many Scouting websites as you can in your country • Follow up with them to confirm that they link to your site • Exchange links with country, city, state, etc. websites • Follow up with them to confirm that they link to your site Sea Scouts on the Internet

  9. Make sure that the user comes away feeling that Sea Scouting is FUN Add Adventure! Sea Scouts do exciting things Pictures should show youth enjoying themselves Sea Scouts like to do things with other young people their age Spend some time picturing the boats Spend a little time discussing adult leadership Focused themes Sea Scouts on the Internet

  10. Website design principles Make your website as “user friendly” as possible They should be able to find what they’re looking for

  11. Design principles • Assume 800 x 600 screen resolution • Don’t use dark backgrounds (tough to read) • Don’t use servers with mandatory ads and popups (user hostile) • Don’t participate in banner exchanges • No more than one animated graphic / screen (less is better) Sea Scouts on the Internet

  12. Design principles • Use a consistent graphics style • Develop a standard look for all pages on the site • Stay away from cute – focus on your message • Pictures are worth 1,000 words – 1,000 pictures communicate nothing • Avoid clutter – clean lay-out • Use terms outsiders will understand Sea Scouts on the Internet

  13. Design principles (con’t.) • Check for html coding integrity • Regularly check for link integrity • Unit websites: make sure that information about where & when you meet is easy to find on the website • Don’t use Scouts’ full names, particularly with their pictures • DO include adult names Sea Scouts on the Internet

  14. Know your website resources • Internet Policies of your Scout association • Youth protection must be an issue • What web resources are available • From your Scout association? • From other sources (like SSIS)? • Website accessibility • Be sensitive to accessibility issues • Bobby Scan Sea Scouts on the Internet

  15. Focus on a “Usable” website • Web Development Resources for Sea Scout Webmasters • <www.seascout.org/general_resources/for_webmasters/index.html> • Research-Based Web Design & Usability Guidelines • <usability.gov/guidelines/> Sea Scouts on the Internet

  16. Usable websites • Usability is the measure of the quality of a user's experience when interacting with a product or system — whether a Web site, a software application, mobile technology, or any user-operated device. Sea Scouts on the Internet

  17. Usable websites • Usability is a combination of factors that affect the user's experience with the product or system, including: • Ease of learning • Efficiency of use • Memorability • Error frequency and severity • Subjective satisfaction Sea Scouts on the Internet

  18. Getting started – planning the site • Planning is critical because it helps you focus your objectives. It also helps you plan for usability activities that are part of the process of developing a successful site • Why are you developing a website? • Who should come to your site? • When and why will they come? Sea Scouts on the Internet

  19. Developing prototypes • What are prototypes and how do you create them? Sea Scouts on the Internet

  20. Collecting, writing & revising content • Easy-to-use content is critical • Stages and guidelines for preparing easy-to-use content • Select only what your audience needs • Organize content logically for your audience Sea Scouts on the Internet

  21. Organize content logically for your audience • Break the text into manageable pieces • Put in many headings • Write useful headings • Use the headings as introductory hyperlinks • If the information is sequential, put it in that order • For non-sequential info, put what users need most first Sea Scouts on the Internet

  22. Write content visually • Use blank space well • Cut out words • Keep paragraphs short • Keep sentences short • Use fragments • Use bulleted lists • Give examples • Meet users’ expectations for how the information should be displayed • Include pictures & graphics when appropriate Sea Scouts on the Internet

  23. Promoting the site and keeping it up-to-date • Promotion tips • Site maintenance • Occasional redesign Sea Scouts on the Internet

  24. Contact information • Make sure that the website provides contact information • Email address • Telephone number (if for a local unit) • Web response form • Be sure to provide more than one way to contact you Sea Scouts on the Internet

  25. Software • Page layout • Macromedia Dreamweaver MX <www.macromedia.com> • Graphics • Paint Shop Pro <www.jasc.com/> • Adobe Photoshop <www.adobe.com/products/photoshop/> • Documents • Adobe Acrobat <www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/> Sea Scouts on the Internet

  26. Questions & Comments ? Thank you !