Archive for June, 2010

Setting Up a Decision Process

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

The start of a new project is a lot of fun. You set up all sorts of new things in hopes of using them to create something great. There are meetings, new ideas, new designs, and a whole lot of possibilities.

Most projects start with things up in the air: what platform are we going to use? Are we going to use this feature? How will we take donations online? It’s very easy to come up with questions. It is far more difficult to settle on an answer. The problem is, for large and small projects taken on by Catholic schools, there is no set way to make those decisions. It is just assumed that they are going to be made somehow.

Suddenly, you have too many cooks, and all of them can put an ingredient into the soup if they want. How do we stop this? Luckily, it can be pretty easy.

Subdomain Use in Catholic School Web Design

Monday, June 28th, 2010

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Catholic school sites are complicated. Considering this, I’m always surprised at the very small number of Catholic schools that take advantage of subdomains for organization. We think they are a great tool for organizing a large site like a Catholic school one.

Let’s take three common sections of a Catholic school site:

  • Academics
  • Alumni
  • Athletics

The traditional way to handle this is to simple create a section in your url for each of these. So you’d have:

  • www.yourschool.com/academics
  • www.yourschool.com/alumni
  • www.yourschool.com/athletics

What’s wrong with this? Nothing, really. It’s a pretty common model, and it makes sense. However, I think we can do one better.

What Can You Do With a Footer?

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

In the early days of web design, the footer was a pretty boring element. Maybe an email address, maybe a copyright. It was usually the same old deal. They were tiny, and they didn’t do much in the way of design.

Then something interesting happened – designers started moving more and more elements into the footer and started paying attention to them stylistically. Gradually, footers even started to phase out site maps on a lot of sites. They went from being practically useless, to being used in really creative ways.

There are tons of different ways to use footers for all sorts of different applications, but in this article we are of course going to focus on how they can be used effectively for Catholic schools.

Website Faux Pas

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

The web moves fast – really fast. Not only do people that work in the web have to keep up with the general trends and advances in technology, they need to keep track of what has been effectively left by the roadside in design and development.

That can be a time consuming task, but here at Catholic School Web Design, we’ll do the work for you and let you know about the important stuff that affects school sites all over, as well as Catholic school sites.

We’re starting off this commitment by bringing you a list of things that make people cringe when they visit a website, and are likely to leave your visitor with a diminished impression of your institution. Using deprecated and outdated elements in commercial web design tells your internet savvy visitor (and they’re all internet savvy now) that there isn’t much effort put into maintaining the site, even if there is. A feeling that a visitor is looking at an old, neglected website is a great way to get them to leave – something we’d like to avoid of course.

For some readers, this will be old news. However, we know there are Catholic school sites out there that have these elements, so we’ve got to be thorough!

Information vs. Communication

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Catholic school websites have to do a lot of things. I’d say many more things than your average website. Catholic school sites face an ever-growing demand to deliver to a pretty wide-ranging group of visitors.

For the purposes this article, however, we are going to break down visitors into just two groups: the sold and the unsold. First, let’s define these groups.

What Is Open Source?

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

One of the most common things I hear among people who are in leadership positions is an aversion to the words “open source” and consequently an aversion to open source solutions for software and web applications.

The feeling is understandable. In a world where security and privacy are big concerns to organizations such as Catholic schools, the word “open” doesn’t exactly have a positive connotation.

Open source, though, is easily misread as not secure and unsupported when you don’t have a background with it or are not familiar with it. In this post we’re going to explain what open source really is about, what the pros and cons are, and how to use it effectively in your organization.

The truth is, open source is one of the most exciting thing to happen on the web in the last 10 years, and it can save time and money, so let’s check it out!

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