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The Web For The PR and Marketing Community Brian Kelly UK Web Focus UKOLN University of Bath Bath, BA2 7AY UKOLN is supported by:

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Presentation on theme: "The Web For The PR and Marketing Community Brian Kelly UK Web Focus UKOLN University of Bath Bath, BA2 7AY UKOLN is supported by:"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Web For The PR and Marketing Community Brian Kelly UK Web Focus UKOLN University of Bath Bath, BA2 7AY UKOLN is supported by: Email Slides available from web-focus/events/

2 2 About Me Brian Kelly: UK Web Focus – a JISC-funded post to advise HE and FE communities on Web developments Based in UKOLN – a national focus of expertise in digital information management Based at the University of Bath Involved in Web since 1993, while working in Computing Service at University of Leeds Strong links with Computing Service and Library communities Unfamiliar with the PR and Marketing communities

3 3 About You What is your involvement with the Web? What topics would you like covered today? Group Discussion D

4 4 Possible Interests Interests Design Advertising Technologies File formats Is Flash acceptable? Business models Managing Web Teams Web Strategies Performance Indicators Content Management Systems Uses of the Web B2C B2B Legal issues News Personalisation Outsourcing Resourcing

5 5 Is The Web Important? WWW Coordinator “Our WWW site is the fastest growing strand of our marketing activity. To reflect its strategic importance, we now need an experienced WWW coordinator... to take charge of the site. As a member of our nine-strong marketing team, you will be expected to champion the WWW at the University. You will need to possess the personality and diplomacy to influence colleagues at every level, enthusiasm and patience to run training in WWW authoring tool, and excellent organisational and time- management skills.” Ad in Guardian, 17 Mar 2001

6 6 Contents The Institutional Home Page Monitoring and Auditing Web Sites Driving Traffic to Web Sites Performance Indicators Advertising Some Technological Issues Follow Up Actions

7 7 University Entry Point The University Entry Point: Main initial view of an institution on the Web (and possibly ever) Functionality May provide additional functionality: news items, personalisation, “sticky” features, … Navigation Provides main access point to resources Visual Identity Provides a brief (but important) statement about your institution

8 8 University Entry Point A “rolling demonstration” of University entry points is available at Types of entry points: Traditional menu structure Changeable page, with news Personalised page Dynamic page “Splash screens” Spawning new windows Pages requiring specialist browser functionality (e.g. plugins, Java support, etc.)

9 9 Traditional type of interface

10 10 Spawning New Windows Univ of Derby creates a new window and uses animation

11 11 “Personalised” Interface

12 12 “Splash Screens” See also: Westminster Plymouth?

13 13 New Technologies Scrolling Java applet Animated menus Browser dependency

14 14 Issues What type on entry point do you currently have? What type would you prefer? How do you achieve your preferred design? Things to think about: Does it work (aesthetic and usability issues)? Does it function universally? Is the performance acceptable for home use? Is it reusable? Is it reconfigurable? Is it indexable? Group Discussion D

15 15 Universal Access Does your home page (and Web site) work in: Netscape (very popular in UK HE) IE (most widely used browser) Significant (all?) versions and platforms of above Lynx (text browser which may be used by visually impaired) The new speaking browser which may be bundled with your VC’s top-of-the-range BMW Remember that disability legislation may make it illegal to disenfranchise users with disabilities through use of inaccessible Web technologies

16 16 Auditing & Monitoring It can be useful to audit and monitor your home page and your Web site in order to: Check key pages for accessibility, validation and appearance and functionality in various browsers Comparison with your peers Monitor effectiveness of dissemination strategy For a series of exercises on monitoring and evaluation of Web site see

17 17 Monitoring the HEERA Site Let’s use some Web-based monitoring tools to look at the HEERA Web site We’ll investigate: Nos. of links to HEERA No. of HEERA pages indexed Accessibility of HEERA site You can apply this methodology on your own Web site, and make comparisons with your peers

18 18 HEERA Web Site

19 19 Links to HEERA LinkPopularity reports only 2-3 links to HEERA (from Heist, AUT & CVCP) Links to a Web site: Drive traffic to site Indication of perceived importance Used by citation- ranking search engines (Google) A survey of links to UK HEI Web sites is available at There were 42,000+ links to the main Sheffield server and 231,000+ links to all Cambridge servers in March 2000 A survey of links to UK HEI Web sites is available at There were 42,000+ links to the main Sheffield server and 231,000+ links to all Cambridge servers in March 2000

20 20 HEERA Pages Indexed Linkpopularity makes use of data in AltaVista, etc. You can interrogate these search engines directly to measure: Nos. of pages indexed Nos. of links to site There are 6,322 pages from the main Cambridge Web site in AltaVista’s index. How many of HEERA’s pages do you think are indexed? 1!

21 21 As Others See You HEERA as seen with images switched off A speaking browser (for the blind or the BMW browser) will say the highlighted words and follow the highlighted links NOTE Problems also with Opera browsers

22 22 As Others See You (2) If the visually impaired user gets past the first screen, they are presented with an empty framed page Question: Is this Web site illegal under recent disability legislation?

23 23 Visibility To Robots Robot software: Is used by search engines to index Web sites Only index text pages – if no text is found, the page will be invisible Typically aren’t aware of framed pages, and won’t index sites hidden behind frames (unless links to a non-frames version are provided) This is why AltaVista has indexed only the first page in HEERA, and has only found the page title “Welcome to HEERA” to index

24 24 As Others See You (3) DejaVu allows you to view Web pages using an emulation of old browsers It can be useful for seeing your Web site: In an old browser In a browsers which do not support features you’re using (e.g. frames, JavaScript, etc.)

25 25 As Others See You (4) Lynx allows you to see how your Web site will look to a visually impaired user or a robot The HEERA Web site not only has a large single image on the home page and no ALT text, it also checks for the browser type and fails if it’s not Netscape or IE!

26 26 Is It Reconfigurable? It is desirable to allow the end user to reconfigure a Web site: Change font sizes, settings, etc. Change background colours Change window shape (e.g. minimise scrolling) Is It Citable? How do you refer to the page about the HEERA Training Day – the Web site uses frames, so no URL is obvious 

27 27 Does It Work? After you go to the newsletter section … Clicking on an article gives a 404 error message  Notice that the 404 error message is poor: It is not possible to see the URL (due to use of frames) No links to a search page What’s the address of the server administrator?

28 28 Web Site On Your Phone Well-formed Web sites can be automatically converted to WML for viewing on a WAP phone See Although you probably wouldn’t want to read an entire Web site, you may wish to look at news, contact details, addresses, etc.

29 29 Web Site Clinics Various Web- based services for checking Web pages and Web sites are available: Dr HTML WebSiteGarage NetMechanic …

30 30 Accessibility Checkers Bobby is a popular accessibility checker which provides both single-page and site analyses The site analysis requires the Bobby Java application The Bobby site analyser would not run on the HEERA site (due to user- agent checking?)

31 31 Comparisons A number of the Web-based auditing and monitoring services have been used across UK HE Web sites: Survey Of Links to UK University Web Sites, Mar 2000 Survey Of Numbers of UK University Web Servers, Jun 2000 Survey Of Web Server Software, Sept 2000 As well as rolling demos of services: UK University Entry Points UK University Search Engines UK University 404 Pages See What other surveys would be useful? How about the size of University entry points, with a prize for the smallest?

32 32 Driving Traffic To Web Site You want to attract visitors to your Web site Suggestions: Have a search-engine friendly Web site (avoid frames, plugins, short URLs, etc.) Use the Robot Exclusion Protocol (REP) to stop “junk” from being indexed Provide a Site Map and use this with submission services Real world promotion …

33 33 Search Engine Issues Issues: Many search engines will not follow frames or index content in unusual formats  Avoid frames and use HTML resources Search engines may index only the “top” of Web sites  Don’t have too many directories in your Web site  Think about use of multiple domains  Avoid splash screens Many search engines index only static-looking URLs  Avoid dynamic URLs (remap them) … Lots of other issues

34 34 Avoiding Junk Being Indexed A search for your institution, project, news story, etc: Returns a draft version of the story Gives a message in a mail archive Gives a student home page Some suggestions: Use the robot exclusion protocol (REP) to prevent low-quality areas from being indexed Use in low quality document (author can do this) User-agent: * Disallow: /news/draft robots.txt Issues Check your robots.txt file by viewing Requires SysAdmin privileges Issues about control, access, … Don’t do without much thought

35 35 Site Maps Provide users with an overview of your Web site and speedy access to resources Can be used to submit key resources to search engines Issues to think about: Automating the production of a site map Integration with a “What’s New” page This page gives readers instant access to all articles. The page is also submitted to search engines so they index all articles.

36 36 Outsourcing Should you outsource your design? Issues: A good design brief is essential Should you separate the design from the information architecture? The UK HE / FE Web Management community has experiences (good and bad) with external designers – can we learn from our experiences? Should we provide open access to design briefs? Example Tried to find map of a college. The Web site was developed in Flash, and the Back button did not work. Also see < > - discussed on admin-heera JISCmail list recently Example Tried to find map of a college. The Web site was developed in Flash, and the Back button did not work. Also see < > - discussed on admin-heera JISCmail list recently

37 37 Decreasing Importance Of Web Sites? Will we see a the traditional Web site decrease in importance as “fusion” or “aggregation” sites develop? Fusion sites: Can include applications (calendar, email, etc.) as well as information May reflect users’ personal interests May develop from JISC’s DNER

38 38 Externally Hosted Web Services You can also outsource elements of your Web service through use of externally-hosted Web services: Web statistics Feedback Monitoring (as seen) … For a discussion of pros and cons see “Using Externally-Hosted Web Services” at

39 39 Performance Indicators Web statistics: “Lies, dammed lies and Web statistics” See Performance Indicators For Web Sites at Issues: Hits cover all elements on page (inc. invisible GIFs) so changes in authoring tools will alter graphs of hits Page hits and nos. of visitors is better but: –Caching will under-record nos. of pages accessed –Many visitors view one page and then leave, so your growth may simply reflect growth in nos. on Internet users –Growth may reflect increase in nos. of robots –Unique visitors are difficult to detect because of (a) shared PCs; (b) dynamic IP addressing & (c) firewalls Performance indicators needed, but use with care

40 40 Advertising Should you carry adverts on your Web site: JUseful income stream JUsers familiar with ads on commercial Web sites JTargetted ads may enrich users experience KIf you don’t do it, others will KIt’s not an ad, it’s a sponsorship deal / an affiliate program / … But what about: LThe JANET AUP? LUniversities neutral and trusted stance? LPerformance problems? LUser backlash? LWho gets the money?

41 41 Advertising A JISC-funded study on “Advertising On JANET” has recently been carried out which addressed: What we mean by advertising Performance implications Ethical issues … See for slides on talk on Advertising on Your Web Site

42 42 News Feeds We want to disseminate our news widely We can put information on our Web sites News feeds allow us to provide information in a format suitable for automatic inclusion in third party Web sites RSS (Rich Site Summary) allows us to do this See

43 43 Content Use, Reuse & Misuse What do you do if: Someone emails you and asks if it’s OK to link to your Web site? Someone links to your Web site and puts it in a frame Someone uses a logo from your Web site A third party portal contains incorrect information about your Web site HERO contains errors A competing University includes your University name in its metadata to drive searches to its site No problem Possible problem Copyright breach – but what if it’s a graduate praising Univ? Part of community – email them Errors aren’t illegal – email them* “The UK map is wrong, the list of Universities in Manchester is rubbish. They can't even get UMIST's name right and the link doesn't work anyway” Message about

44 44 A Need For Agreements? There are: Technological solutions (ban framing of your site; provision of logos for use by 3 rd parties - “I studied at Bath Univ”, watermarks in logos, …) Legal solutions Pragmatic solutions But: Uncertainty and different perspectives Need for agreements?

45 45 The Technology Bit Large institutions should be considering: Use of backend databases to store structure information Use of a Content Management System (CMS) to manage large nos. of resources, support workflow, allow resources to be reused, etc. A move from HTML to XHTML (an XML application which will make it easer to reuse resources) Use of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to define the appearance of (X)HTML resources Doing the clever stuff at the server, so that clients won’t break when they receive content they can’t process

46 46 Where To From Here? Discussion Fora The website-info-mgt JISCmail list is used for Web managers to discuss strategic, managerial and policy issues The web-support JISCmail list is used for Web managers and others to discuss techie and detailed topics Do we need to establish extra communications between Web Management, PR and marketing (and other) communities?

47 47 Questions

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