How To Build the Best School Website
!!! FIRST OF ALL !!!
CAN YOU FIND YOUR SCHOOL WEBSITE?
HOW DOES YOUR SCHOOL WEBSITE MEASURE UP?
YOU CAN'T JUST THROW UP A FREE SCHOOL WEBSITE
AND THINK YOU'VE DONE A GREAT JOB.
WHAT ARE THE ESSENTIAL REQUIREMENTS OF A
SCHOOL DISTRICT WEBSITE AND SCHOOL WEBSITE?
LEARN THE BASICS
WITH FREE TOOLS
THE ESSENTIAL REQUIREMENTS
- Who Is The Audience?
- What should be there?
- What are the Specific Guidelines and Goals?
An up-to-date website promotes a positive image. An active, current site suggests an active, current school or agency. A neglected site creates a bad impression, this reflects poorly on the school and the technology staff. A neglected site, reflects poorly on the community it serves. The communications or technology staff are responsible for the planning and execution of an up to date website which will be judged by the community on the following criteria.
- #1 Your website home page is the first image people get of your school and district.
- Your school, school district, and federally funded agency has to provide a professional-looking site.
- Provide the school or district's contact information on every page of the site.
- Your website which will be judged on it's usability.
- Keep it simple.
- Be up to date.
- Keep your type fonts professional looking
- Choose the graphics carefully and sparingly.
- Avoid busy websites.
- Avoid construction zones.
- Fix missing links.
- Focus on effective communication.
- Mission statements belong in your “About Us” page.
- No distracting introductory offers of any kind.
- Guidlines: Is the site current, simple, consistent, easy to read?
- Administrators are legally responsible for how they work and communicate with teachers, support staff, parents, students, reporters, and community members.
- Does your Superintendent want you to use Google translate on your school site?
Here are the Fed guidelines and the FEDS do NOT want recommend this approach!
National Dialogue to Improve Federal Websites: this idea actually got 27 negative votes, which doesn't seem to be a good indication that Google Translate is the best choice to convey important information to parents and other community stakeholders....
other ideas providing access to Content in Other Languages that could help.
ALL SCHOOL WEB SITES SHOULD HAVE
- Permission Forms for Students and Parents
- Every Public or Private School and School District must have an Internet Use Policy, click to find many examples.
- It is also a good idea to have Responsible Use policyAcceptable Use Policyfor the kids.
After reviewing the resources above you're
ready to learn how to build a webpage or website for free.
ANY GOV'T FUNDED WEB SITE MUST COMPLY
.coms .orgs .us .edu
ISSUES FOR CHILDREN
Website design for kids is typically based purely on folklore. The best predictor of how children use websites is how much online practice they have. 2010 kids are on computers almost as soon as they can sit up and move a mouse or tap a screen. It's now common for a 7-year-old kid to be a seasoned Internet user with several years' experience. Generally, all you need are plainspoken words and clean photos.
- research covers users aged 3–12 years.
- research with 13- to 17-year-olds teenagers
- 275-page report with 130 design guidelines for designing websites for children
508 Compliance Section 508 Standards
There is no software that fully address all the 508 issues, or to fix them but only to check for and help find them. Excercising due diligence is to make a web page, powerpoint, word, excel or pdf document accessible, also add a contact for help for any kind of accessibility question. You will still need to do A LOT of checking by hand. For example, 1194.22(c) says " Web pages shall be designed so that all information conveyed with color is also available without color..." So while a tool might be able to detect the use of color on a web page, it can't evaluate if that color is being used to convey information (i.e., "click the green button to continue" or "the blue line in the chart shows...") and, if so, whether or not that information is being conveyed in a way that is not dependent on color. Same goes for "alt" attributes on images. A tool can detect the presence of image tags and alt attributes, but it can't determine the quality of the alt value provided. This applies to most of the accessibility standards...in most cases a tool can check for the existence of something but can't judge how it is being used or the quality of alternative information being provided.
- Test site for 508 compliance and usability throughout the year.
- Usability Professionals Association
- Color Blind Test AND 508 Compliance Confusion Tips
- Techniques for making pages Section 508 compliant
- Browsers for the Visually Impaired http://sourceforge.net/projects/fangs/ Copyright (Visually Impaired Persons) Act 2002 JAWS(screenreader) - http://www.freedomscientific.com/ Window-Eyes
- SSB Technologies - http://www.ssbtechnologies.com/
HiSoftware's Ask Cynthia - http://www.contentquality.com/
HiSoftware's AccVerify - http://www.hisoftware.com/access/newvIndex.html
The Wave - http://wave.webaim.org/
- If you want to use an Accordian Tab (or any widget) that is WCAG 2.0 508 compliant
- Dojo. http://www.dojotoolkit.org
- TOOLS TO TEST YOUR WEBSITE CODE
Protecting Your Privacy When You Go Online. Provide links from your site to the Educational CyberPlayGround
- INTERNET SAFETY TIPSfor Parents and Children.
- STUDENT PRIVACY CONSIDERATIONS
- Know How to keep the domain name from becoming a porn site. This really does happen.
- COPYRIGHTKeeping it Legal: Questions Arising out of Web Site Management - Copyright & Fair Use Site - Your School Web Page and Free Speech
- Donate or Get Free Computers
- K12 SCHOOLS You are legally responsible to make it accessable to the blind, find out how.
2002 Quote: "A federal judge ruled Friday that Southwest Airlines does not have to revamp its Web site to make it more accessible to the blind. In the first case of its kind, U.S. District Judge Patricia Seitz said the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies only to physical spaces, such as restaurants and movie theaters, and not to the Internet. "To expand the ADA to cover 'virtual' spaces would be to create new rights without well-defined standards," Seitz wrote in a 12-page opinion dismissing the case. "The plain and unambiguous language of the statute and relevant regulations does not include Internet Web sites."
SCHOOLS - NON PROFIT .ORGS TEST CODE for USABILITY.
Section 504 is a law that makes it illegal for programs that receive federal funds to discriminate against people with disabilities. Because almost all schools receive federal money, they are covered by Section 504. Section 504 requires schools to make their classes, programs, and activities accessible to students with disabilities and injuries.
This is a US law that requires all United States Federal Agencies with websites to make them accessible to individuals with disabilities. If you aren't compliant you are in for a law suit. If the site doesn't comply with 508, lawsuits can happen. Included in that document are technical standards for software and Web-based applications, and functional performance criteria.
National Federation of the Blind Press Release 9/7/06
Legal Precedent Set for Web Accessibility
Federal Judge Sustains Discrimination Claims Against Target; Precedent Establishes That Retailers Must Make Their Websites Accessible to the Blind Under the ADA A federal district court judge ruled yesterday that a retailer may be sued if its website is inaccessible to the blind. The ruling was issued in a case brought by the National Federation of the Blind against Target Corp. (Northern District of California Case No. C 06-01802 MHP) The suit charges that Target's website ( http://www.target.com ) is inaccessible to the blind, and therefore violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the California Unruh Civil Rights Act, and the California Disabled Persons Act. Target asked the court to dismiss the action by arguing that no law requires Target to make its website accessible. The Court denied Target's motion to dismiss and held that the federal and state civil rights laws do apply to a website such as target.com.
The suit, NFB v. Target, was filed as a class action on behalf of all blind Americans who are being denied access to target.com. The named plaintiffs are the NFB, the NFB of California, and a blind college student, Bruce "BJ" Sexton.
The plaintiffs are represented by Disability Rights Advocates ( http://www.dralegal.org ), a Berkeley-based non-profit law firm that specializes in high-impact cases on behalf of people with disabilities; Brown, Goldstein & Levy ( http://www.browngold.com ), a leading civil rights law firm in Baltimore, Maryland; and Schneider & Wallace, a national plaintiff's class action and civil rights law firm based in San Francisco, CA.
The court held: "the 'ordinary meaning' of the ADA's prohibition against discrimination in the enjoyment of goods, services, facilities or privileges, is that whatever goods or services the place provides, it cannot discriminate on the basis of disability in providing enjoyment of those goods and services." The court thus rejected Target's argument that only its physical store locations were covered by the civil rights laws, ruling instead that all services provided by Target, including its Web site, must be accessible to persons with disabilities.
"This ruling is a great victory for blind people throughout the country," said NFB President Dr. Marc Maurer. "We are pleased that the court recognized that the blind are entitled to equal access to retail websites."
Dr. Maurer explained that blind persons access websites by using keyboards in conjunction with screen-reading software, which vocalizes visual information on a computer screen.
Target's website contains significant access barriers that prevent blind customers from browsing among and purchasing products online, as well as from finding important corporate information such as employment opportunities, investor news, and company policies.
The plaintiffs charge that target.com fails to meet the minimum standard of web accessibility. It lacks compliant alt-text, an invisible code embedded beneath graphic images that allows screen readers to detect and vocalize a description of the image to a blind computer user. It also contains inaccessible image maps and other graphical features, preventing blind users from navigating and making use of all of the functions of the website. And because the website requires the use of a mouse to complete a transaction, blind Target customers are unable to make purchases on target.com independently.
The plaintiffs originally filed the complaint in Alameda superior court on February 7, 2006. The case was removed to federal district court and assigned to Judge Marilyn Hall Patel. Target responded to the suit by filing a motion to dismiss the case, which argued in part that no civil rights laws apply to the Internet.
"We tried to convince Target that it should do the right thing and make its website accessible through negotiations," said Dr. Maurer. "It is unfortunate that Target took the position that it does not have to take the rights of the blind into account. The ruling in this case puts Target and other companies on notice that the blind cannot be treated like second class citizens on the Internet or in any other sphere."
Explaining the ramification of the ruling, Mazen M. Basrawi, Equal Justice Works Fellow at Disability Rights Advocates, noted that: "the court clarified that the law requires that any place of public accommodation is required to ensure that it does not discriminate when it uses the internet as a means to enhance the services it offers at a physical location."
Target's website contains significant access barriers that prevent blind customers quote A federal district court judge ruled this month that a retailer may be sued if its website is inaccessible to the blind...Explaining the ramification of the ruling, Mazen M. Basrawi, Equal Justice Works Fellow at Disability Rights Advocates, noted that: "the court clarified that the law requires that any place of public accommodation is required to ensure that it does not discriminate when it uses the internet as a means to enhance the services it offers at a physical location....