Due Date: Monday, October 22, 2012
Submission Name: URL for your finished site
For this assignment, you will convert a complex printed document into a website using a content management system. You may select a document on your own and submit it for approval, or you may use one of the “default” documents that we will use in our class workshops: the Virginia Tech Staff Handbook or the Virginia Tech Student-Athlete Handbook. Likewise, you may choose to work with whatever content management system you prefer, but our in-class workshops will focus on WordPress, which is currently the most popular CMS in the world and available for free at Virginia Tech.
In order to gain experience working with a CMS, you will need to select a printed document that is substantive enough to be converted into a complex website with sections/subsections, menus, sidebars, etc. Generally speaking, your finished site should contain at least 20 pages, though the exact number may vary, depending on the length of your original document. If your original document is very long (such as the Student-Athlete Handbook), you do not need to use all of the text in your project. In such cases, you should carefully select key portions of the text for use on your website.
Your individual work process may vary from that of your classmates, but generally speaking, you should follows these steps to complete your project:
- Select a document.
- Select (and, if necessary, install) a content management system.
- Convert your printed document to HTML.
- Select a theme.
- Customize the theme.
- Extend the functionality of your site using plugins.
We will discuss each of these steps in greater detail during the coming weeks, and we will conduct in-class workshops to give you experiences with all of tasks you will need to complete to succeed on this assignment.
The most important deliverable for this assignment is the finished website itself, which must be “live” on the web and publicly accessible to the world. Although your project will be evaluated primarily on the strength of your final website, you may submit mockups, screenshots of your early drafts, and/or alternate designs, if these items will help you explain your work process and justify the choices you have made. If you choose to work with a printed text other than one of the default documents, you should submit a copy of the original text at the conclusion of the project.
Memo of Transmittal
Your grade on this assignment will be determined by your performance on the following criteria:
- Visual Appearance — Does your site effectively use colors, images, and typography to create a unified, aesthetically pleasing website? How thoroughly have you customized the original CMS theme you selected?
- Information Architecture — Is your site well organized? Have you taken advantage of the affordances of hypertext to arrange your content into sections/subsections and categories/subcategories?
- Usability — How easy is it to navigate your website? Have you customized your menus to improve usability? Have you provided adequate instructions and signposts for new visitors to the site?
- Content Management — Have you taken advantage of the features of the CMS you have selected? Have you extended the functionality of the CMS using plugins or custom coding?
- Markup — Have you selected a theme and plugins that produce clean, well-structured markup? Have you marked up the original text using logical, semantic tags? (Your WordPress theme might not validate, but the content you added to the site definitely should.)
- Memo of Transmittal — How well does your memo explain and justify the decisions you made in completing this assignment? Is the memo structured logically? Does the memo adhere to the conventions of standard written English?