Follow these guidelines to design a course site (this all will apply whether you are using a Learning Management System, WordPresss site, or html designed website) that is easy for you to manage and useful to your students:
- Keep it simple
For the most part, your students will not be visiting your site just for fun. They will be coming for information they need, and the easier you can make their visit, the more they will maximize the use of your site. Don't make them click or scroll a lot to get what they need.
- Imitate paper documents
A good number of your students will still be printing out the information they need for later reference. If the information looks great on the screen but is confusing on the printout, your site will be less useful than it could be.
- Organize as an outline
Again, speed and brevity should be the prime motivators in your design process.
- Use descriptive titles and links
Tell people what things are and where they are going. Help them make good decisions as they navigate your site. "Click here for more information" is not helpful, but something a bit more descriptive is helpful: "Click here to open a new page with additional information about ways in which to think about Fair Use."
- Use standard fonts
Fast and clean. Fast and clean.
- Avoid wide widths
When you print a Web-page that is extremely wide, often much of it gets cut off by the paper page margin.
- Follow "fair-use" guidelines
This is a controversial topic, but for some "helpful considerations," visit TEP's Guide to Fair Use Issues.
Additional web design guidelines
(NOTE: The below links will open in a new browser tab or window)
- Yale Style Manual is a very comprehensive guide to layout, graphics, typography and overall navigation for websites.