Designing a Working Website
A working website is not a solution to a current informational need, it is a vehicle for ensuring current and future information can pass between the Academy and its customers. It should be seen as a means to communication and not an end in itself.
When designing a working website, therefore, the questions that need to be asked about every page are:
· Who will be reading this?
· Why will they be reading this?
· Does this page give them the answer they want?
· Does it let them know what they should do next?
What Pages to Include
It is possible to create an effective working website for an Academy school with just a small set of web pages. Indeed, effective working websites often have little more than these. The minimal set of web pages is:
· A Home page which is regularly updated with current news and pictures. There should be a link to the current newsletter(s).
· A Contact us page, giving a map, address, phone numbers, fax number, an email contact, and key names. If you don’t want to have email addresses available to searchbots, include instructions of how to generate an email address (e.g. “To contact a member of staff, use their first initial followed by their surname, followed by @sampleacademy.co.uk”).
· Pages about the school: History, Sponsors, Specialisms.
· Year 7 Application pages, with a copy of the main school prospectus and all the information and forms needed to apply for a place at the Academy. There should also be complete information for appealing the refusal of a place.
· Sixth Form Application pages, with a copy of the sixth form prospectus and all the information and forms needed to apply for a place at the Academy. There should also be complete information for appealing the refusal of a place.
· A page giving details of how to make a Mid-Year or Other Application.
· A Vacancies page, where applicants can access all the information and forms they need to apply for a post at the Academy.
· A page giving Recent News – perhaps the last ten issues of the weekly newsletter, or selected articles. This should not be allowed to become an archive for old news.
· A Freedom of Information page, giving details of how to make a request.
· A Governance page, giving the latest approved minutes for the Governors’ meeting and subcommittees.
What to Include on Every Page
· The Academy logo.
· A link to the Virtual Learning Environment.
· A link to the Parent Information Database.
· A link to the Online Payment System (for parents, staff, students, sponsors - anyone who wants to pay money to the Academy).
· A link to the Staff Virtual Office, if it is available outside school.
A Working Website
Keep it simple - complexity costs.
Ensure every web page has an owner interested in keeping the content current.
Keep a schedule for checking web pages. Every web page should be checked at least once a year.
Check active web pages regularly and update them when necessary.
Don’t carry dead information. A school website is not an archive. Keep your archives off-line.
Change pictures regularly.
Be ruthless. If a web page is out-of-date and not being maintained, delete it.