Audience Dialogue

Web development resources

This page is the starting point for a collection of information on web-related issues. There are two main parts to it: information originally prepared for our clients, and also some information that we originally prepared to make life easier for ourselves when developing websites.

Website development ideas and internet marketing

This section includes some papers that we prepared for our clients, to answer questions about how they could use their websites. These pages assume no prior knowledge of internet jargon - but if you find a term you don't understand, try our glossary of internet terms.

A series of non-technical pages on how to get a website - basic information for any organization that has been thinking of getting a website for itself (or revamping an existing site) but doesn't quite know how to go about it, or what's involved.

How to evaluate the effectiveness of websites. We've been thinking about this problem for a year or two: that usability testing is fine, as far as it goes, but its scope is too limited. If you have a website, it should above all be effective - it should fulfil your goals in some way. Usability is part of that, but there's more. So here's our overview of how to find out whether a web site is effective. This approach combines the logic models that are used in evaluation with the use-case scenario method used in software development. We're now ready to offer this service to website owners.

One of the main reasons why people don't treat as their owners would like is a lack of trust. Here's our concept of trust and trustworthiness on the web: how to define it, how to measure it, and how to improve it.

Most of the time, when you click on a link in a website and find that it doesn't go to the intended page, the page hasn't disappeared from the Web, but only changed its URL (web address). If you need to find a page that's vanished, try our suggestions on how to find dead links.

Content management systems

If you go to a search engine and search for "content management systems" you'll find thousands of links, but most of them are either extolling the virtues of one system, or highly technical. So to explain the concept to our clients, we wrote this simple introduction to content management systems (CMS), focusing on the low end.

What is usability?

Another simple introduction: this one on website usability - what it is, how to improve it, and how to measure it. Valuable as it is, usability is only the first step on the path to effectiveness.

Publicity for websites

How to publicize your website: everything from choosing a name to advertising offline.

Possibilities for websites

Twenty different ways of using the Web to serve an organization's (or an individual's) purpose.

How to find dead links - tips for overcoming linkrot.

Information for web developers

Pages in this section assume a lot more prior knowledge than the above linked pages. This is information originally prepared for our internal use. Since we have a website, that was the obvious place to put it: we could access it from wherever we were in the world. Then we thought "Why not make it available to others, too?" So here it is: a selection of aids to web development.

To our surprise, we couldn't find any web page that showed the colournames that actually work with common browsers, together with their RGB codes and examples of the actual colours, all visible at once. So here are the colournames, grouped in colour families.

And here's a palette of pale colours that can be used as backgrounds on web pages. They're not all web-safe, but (a) it's no big deal if a background is dithered, and (b) 97% of our visitors have their displays set to more than 256 colours.

A simple chart of web-safe colours, that you can print on a single page - though in fact the concept of web-safe colours is hardly valid now, because of point (b) above.

Cascading stylesheets (CSS) - a concise reference page, covering the most-used aspects of CSS version 1.