Becoming Familiar with the Web
and Viewing Other Pages for Ideas
Prior to building a website, it often helps to brainstorm and gather ideas about your site’s appearance and functionality. A good place to start is to find other web pages that you like or dislike. What pages have you come across which have been visually stimulating to you? What websites seem easy to navigate and use? Searching through other sites is a good way to answer these questions, as well as make the creative process much more simple and fun.
Below are some helpful tips for browsing the web (assumptions: professor is familiar enough with a computer for tasks such as e-mail, word documents and that there is an internet connection):
- For Windows users: You will likely find many icons on your computer’s desktop which represents folders and programs, one possibly including your computer’s web browsers. For users of Apple’s OSX: You will find icons to launch these programs on the menu bar, or Dock, usually located on the bottom of your desktop. Your internet browsers may include, but are not limited to, Internet Explorer (IE for short) - , Mozilla - , or the Firefox web browser - , as well as Safari - , a browser exclusive to OSX users. For Windows users, double click on one of these icons on your desktop, or the icon of your alternate web browser, to open it. For OSX users, click once on the appropriate icon on the dock to launch your browser.
- One of the best ways to research websites is to use internet search engines. The most prevalent search engine on the internet right now is http://www.google.com, known simply as Google, although others such as http://www.yahoo.com, or Yahoo, or MSN’s search engine – www.msn.com - will work as well. You can either click on these links or enter these addresses in the address bar at the top of your internet browser window.
- Once you have arrived at one of these pages, there will be a search field displayed. Type in something along the lines of “poorly designed Web Pages” or “good Web Pages”. Then click on “search” or “go”.
- The search will then provide a number of sources which correspond to your inquiry. The first results listed will generally be the most pertinent to your search criteria. Read through the results and click on one that seems to fit your needs.
- View the various pages given by your search. If you find particular pages that you like and wish to note for future reference, you can bookmark the page. In Internet explorer and most other browsers as well, click on “favorites” or “bookmarks” at the top of your browser window and select “add to bookmarks”. This will put a shortcut in your bookmark or favorite list allowing you to view it at a later date. Recommended reference web pages include http://www.webpagesthatsuck.com, which provides excellent examples of what not to do, as well as http://www.ratz.com/features.html, which provides a list of ineffective as well as good design choices.
- When you come across pages in every day web browsing which you like (or perhaps dislike), make a book mark and then continue on with your research. By doing this, you are able to gain ideas without directly spending the time searching for them. Try asking colleagues for suggestions as well.
Prepared by the ET Partners Program, IET Mediaworks and UC Davis