Lesson Plan: Developing Website Content

Developing website content requires more than just putting pencil to paper, jotting down a few words and uploading a picture or two. Because the web is a multidimensional medium, developing effective online content requires a more calculated approach.

Here’s a lesson plan that you can use to get your CTE students thinking about the best way to approach website content development.

1)     Explain why website content is different than other writing projects that they have completed during their academic careers. Tell them that the web design process is divided into three categories, each of which is interdependent on the other. They are:

a)     Interaction design

b)     Information design (content falls under this category)

c)      Presentation design

2)     Next, explain information design to the class by stating that it involves determining a web page’s content, or the text and graphics that will appear on the page. A successful web page uses words and images to capture the viewer’s attention and provide information.

3)     Let students know that, when creating content, they should think as much about what the page will look like as what the content will say. Here are two key areas to cover:

a.       Text:  It should be short and easy to read. It must also stand out from the graphics, animation, navigation buttons and other elements on the page.

b.      Graphics:  They should be both visually appealing and informative. For example, students can include a photograph or an airplane on a website about travel. Including a map of a country discussed on the page, however, would provide visual interest and help viewers understand where that country is located.

4)     Now, ask your students to write a paragraph that would be applicable for use on a web page about their favorite sport or hobby. Have them follow these rules for effective web content development:

a.      Introduce just one idea in your paragraph.

b.      Limit the paragraph to 75 words or less.

c.      Use short, simple sentences.

d.      Use bulleted lists to summarize key points.

e.      Use numbered lists to present a “series” of steps.

When students have finished this lesson, they will have a good idea of why short, punchy statements and related photos and videos go a long way in keeping website viewers engaged and interested online.

For interactive step-by-step web design projects, including creating web sites using Adobe Dreamweaver,  check out Glencoe/McGraw-Hill’s latest edition of Introduction to Web Design. For more information, go to http://www.mheonline.com.

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