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Technical Tips and Tricks for User Support Mike Gardner Mike.Gardner@nottingham.ac.uk
Umbrella 2003 Aim My objectives, as a web developer, are: to make it easier for the users to make it easier for the information providers Information Users
Umbrella 2003 Users: searching for information Users may want information in different formats web browser print PDA Users may want to look for information in different ways What if they need help using your services? What if they can’t find what they need?
Umbrella 2003 Providers: producing content in multiple formats Easy to write / update content Write once (single source) Publish in many formats automatically Use a database –Content Management System –DIY dynamic web site
Umbrella 2003 Content management systems (CMS) Software package specifically designed to manage a web site Installed by the web developer but intended to be used by information provider Simple, non-technical way of updating content, typically via a web-based interface Cost: range from free to £00,000s
Umbrella 2003 Example CMS: Mambo No need for HTML or XML skills Just enter your content, add a picture and then click Publish! Upload images, PDF's, documents, spreadsheets and make them available instantly Run surveys and polls http://www.mamboserver.com
Umbrella 2003 Example CMS input
Umbrella 2003 Example CMS output
Umbrella 2003 DIY dynamic web sites Advantages: –Software is free (eg Linux server with Apache, PHP, MySQL) –Developer has more control, easier to tailor to your exact requirements Disadvantages: –Requires more development time –Why re-invent the wheel? –Support?
Umbrella 2003 DIY dynamic web sites: Subject Resources Subject view of important library resources Browse (by subject) or search Devolved administration via web forms Only 1 record per resource –only need to update once even though it appears on many different subject pages www.nottingham.ac.uk/is/gateway/resources
Umbrella 2003 Subject Resources: Inputting data
Umbrella 2003 Subject Resources: Output PDFs to print as handouts Display key resources and bibliographies in print friendly format Allow librarians to edit this version Use HTMLDOC to convert this HTML version to PDF http://www.easysw.com/htmldoc/
Umbrella 2003 Making PDFs for free Ghostscript and Redmon http://www.cs.wisc.edu/~ghost/ Print from any Windows application to produce a PDF
Umbrella 2003 DIY dynamic web sites: Reading Lists Easy to maintain lists of recommended texts Annotate and sequence lists according to teaching patterns Check availability of material via link to the Library catalogue Easy to print, save, email, etc. http://bookworm.lboro.ac.uk/about.html
Umbrella 2003 Reading Lists: Web output
Umbrella 2003 Reading Lists: Print friendly
Umbrella 2003 Reading Lists: Copy and paste into MS Word Can use for course handouts etc All formatting is maintained
Umbrella 2003 Users: searching for information Users may want information in different formats Users may want to look for information in different ways –search v browse –on screen help v FAQ v tutorial What if they need help using your services? What if they can’t find what they need?
Umbrella 2003 Subject Resources: Browse
Umbrella 2003 Subject Resources: Search
Umbrella 2003 Site index and site search
Umbrella 2003 Site index DIY perl script to crawl site and create index page Add metadata tag to all pages that you want to appear in index: Index is generated automatically when site is updated
Umbrella 2003 Site search htDig is a free search engine for your web site Indexes full text of web pages, PDFs, and other files Also indexes metadata which can be used to prioritise pages http://www.htdig.org/
Umbrella 2003 Users: searching for information Users may want information in different formats Users may want to look for information in different ways What if they need help using your services? What if they can’t find what they need? –how to elicit better quality feedback
Umbrella 2003 Simple service
Umbrella 2003 Simple service On screen help FAQ No need for complex user guide or tutorials
Umbrella 2003 Complex service
Umbrella 2003 Complex service More on screen help required Extensive online help via help button Printed handout Training sessions
Umbrella 2003 User enquiries
Links for further information CMS JISC TechWatch report on CMS: http://www.jisc.ac.uk/index.cfm?name=techwatch_report_0102 Why every small website needs a CMS: http://www.steptwo.com.au/papers/cmb_needcms/ CMSWatch - an independent source of information, news, opinion, and analysis about web content management: http://www.cmswatch.com/ Subject Resources at Nottingham Background information: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/~uazmjg/web/subject-resources.html PHP / MySQL PHP Home:http://uk.php.net/ MySQL Home: http://www.mysql.com/ Tutorials to get you started / tips / help: –http://hotwired.lycos.com/webmonkey/programming/php/tutorials/tutorial4.html –http://www.devshed.com/Server_Side/PHP/PHP101/PHP101_1/page1.html –http://www.devshed.com/Server_Side/MySQL/Intro/page1.html –http://www.devshed.com/Server_Side/PHP/ –http://www.devshed.com/Server_Side/MySQL –http://www.phpbuilder.com/ –http://www.faqts.com/knowledge_base/index.phtml/fid/51
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