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Let Your System Meet Your Goals for You

Determine if business or organization must follow specific guidelines about how its Web pages may be presented, such as ensuring that pages can be viewed older PC monitors or dial-up connections, or Section 508 regulation of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments requiring all federal agencies to make Web sites handicapped accessible. If so, you can save yourself headaches and time by choosing a Web management and development system that allows you to set up parameters for building or editing your Web pages so that they meet your enterprise’s specific requirements automatically instead of having to be retrofitted or patched. For a detailed discussion of meeting design specifications proactively, please see:

Helping to Achieve and Manage Section 508 Handicapped Accessibility Compliance
A paper to help develop and maintain Web sites that comply with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998 established standards for electronic and information technology

Even if Section 508 does not apply to you, Estrada installations and templates can be preset so that each page meets the client’s specific requirements.

Prepare Contributors to Succeed

Effective training and/or thoughtful style guides go a long way in helping contributors to do their best work on the Web and avoid requiring you to redo it all later. The goals are to set out your enterprise’s content guidelines for substance (what it says) and presentation (how it looks and is experienced). This way, content contributors will be free to be creative and resourceful in putting together their pages, but at the same time, you can make it clear up front that flapping trash cans and dancing hamsters are a no-go for a professional Web site.

A straightforward guide to developing Web pages for your enterprise is the most effective tool for informing your contributors. Your guide should include style issues such as “Why flapping mailboxes are silly and should not be used on the company Web site” and how-to information such as “How do I create a form?” For more complicated tasks, break down instructions into steps that can be followed logically. Never underestimate the power of examples and screen shots.

Your guide should supplement your Web content management and development system’s user manuals, not repeat them. Focus on tasks or requirements that are specific to your enterprise’s Web site and may require additional detail than the application manual provides. For stylistic guidelines, start by contacting your communications or marketing department to see if there is already a style guide for print publications. Use this as a starting point for developing a Web style guide that complements existing print style and usage guidelines. Your Web site should be a part of your integrated marketing strategy and materials.

Consider offering training sessions or even informal brown-bag lunches for you and other contributors. You can use these times to demonstrate advanced or new features of the application, invite expert contributors to share tricks they’ve developed, or simply generate an open discussion about contributors’ challenges and success stories. Take notes to remind you of items to add to your guidebook later.

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