DTC 355: Fall 2020: Major Project #3: WordPress Site


Update: the deadline for the Information Architecture draft has been moved to Wednesday, November 25, 2020.

SUMMARY

Using knowledge and skills developed in the class thus far, you will create a new web site in WordPress. You will write a web site strategy, develop a web site information architecture, install WordPress, and create content for your web site according to that strategy. The final site and materials are due Monday, December 14, 2020, but there are some milestones before that.

Read the project carefully so you do not miss anything important

All of the topics mentioned below have been, or will be, reviewed in course lectures or reading materials.


DESCRIPTION

In this project, you will prepare a web site strategy report, an information architecture, and a variety of actual content for your web site. Even if your site is for a fictional business, you are to treat your site as if it was a real, legitimate site. You will also install and configure WordPress to make this site.

Your web site should represent one of these businesses or categories:

  1. Personal Portfolio
  2. Bakery
  3. Art Gallery
  4. Environmental nonprofit
  5. Restaurant
  6. Marina
  7. Bus tours
  8. Food pantry
  9. Clothing company
  10. Wildlife conservation charity
  11. Performing arts group
  12. Coffee shop
  13. Florist
  14. Homeless shelter
  15. Cultural preservation
  16. Sports team
  17. Youth development nonprofit
  18. Private charter flights
  19. Jeweler
  20. Medical research charity
  21. Antique dealer
  22. Museum
  23. Mobile party DJ
  24. Personal trainer
  25. Daycare center
  26. Animal shelter
  27. Student club or group
  28. Professional photographer
  29. International development nonprofit
  30. Disaster relief group
  31. Zoo or aquarium

It can be the same business as your HTML web site, though the site itself must be created in WordPress according to the instructor’s guidelines.


SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS

This project requires four major areas of work:

  • A strategy report;
  • Information Architecture with Content Inventory;
  • Actual realistic content written by you; and
  • A WordPress site installation.

These are detailed below. Also note the optional Extra Credit opportunities listed later.

Strategy Report
Based on the strategy guidelines discussed in Unit 1 and in The Elements of User Experience, write a web site strategy report that describes:

  • A “Web Site Objective”.
  • Your site’s brand: top 5 keywords.
  • At least 2 detailed user personas from your target audience, including demographic and psychographic descriptions.
  • At least 2 scenarios and tasks your personas would likely undertake on a web site of this type.
  • “Functional Specifications” and “Content Requirements” for your site (2-3 of each, written as bulleted lists).
  • Your site’s color palette of 3-5 colors (see the end of this page for color palette resources).
  • See the Extra Credit (below) for an option about website audits of similar sites.

Information Architecture with Content Inventory
You will develop an information architecture according to a card sort that you undertake with at least 4 other people: friends, family, classmates. The information architecture will be listed in a spreadsheet (Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets) with additional columns for the content inventory, as described by your instructor. Use this example file for reference.

  • You should provide photographic evidence of your card sort, to be included in the word processing document of content for your site.
  • Your site should have at least 15 pages, which must include at least one of the following elements:
    1. A home page
    2. A contact page
    3. At least one page that provides step-by-step instructions for something relevant (maybe on a blog post)
    4. At least one FAQ page with 5 or more questions and answers
    5. At least one “About Us” page, if not a section of “About” information (though it doesn’t need to be called “About Us” specifically)
    6. Example “products” or “services” if your organization offers them (e.g. flavors at an ice cream shop; pets at an animal shelter; lawnmowing by a landscaping server).

Content for Your Site
Based on the report and content inventory, you will develop actual written and graphical content for your site. You should edit your written content in a word processor such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, and submit that file with your site. Use this example file for reference.

  • Each page on your web site should have reasonably realistic content, prepared as if this site was real.
  • If the site is for a real-world organization or is a personal portfolio, then the content should be as detailed and legitimate as possible.
  • Specific page formats and types will be presented in class, such as “About” pages; FAQs; and online instructions. Your pages of these types will be graded against the presented criteria.
  • Visually, your web site should follow design guidelines discussed in class in Unit 1, Lesson 13, and in the Surface chapter of The Elements of User Experience:
    • Grids
    • White space
    • Colors
    • Typography
    • Reading patterns
    • etc.
  • Recommended reading: Design for Non-Designers and Hello Web Design

WordPress Site Installation
You will install WordPress as described in course lectures and demos, according to these requirements:

  • Your WordPress site should be installed on your personal domain name under the root directory; e.g. “https://yourdomain.org/”.
  • In WordPress, you must create an administrator account for the instructor to log in and review your themes and plug-ins. You will submit the username and password to the instructor with the project.
  • Your WordPress site should have recommended plugins installed, activated, and configured, as reviewed in class.
  • Your site must use the Astra theme.
  • You should use the Beaver Builder pagebuilder plug-in on at least one web page.

DELIVERABLES

As detailed in the Specific Requirements, the deliverables are:

  1. Web Site Strategy Report as a PDF or Microsoft Word document.
  2. Information Architecture with Content Inventory submitted as a Microsoft Excel file.
  3. All your web site’s final written content submitted in an organized PDF or Microsoft Word document (and also on the web site, of course).
  4. The URL to your final web site with complete content and WordPress administrative access for the instructor.

When you turn your project in on Blackboard, you will upload 3 separate files (#1–3, above) and type the URL and username/password information for your site (#4, above) into the Blackboard submission text box of the project. If you are also uploading Extra Credit, also use that text box to list which extra credit option(s) you are attempting.

NOTE: Do not submit a link to Google Docs or Sheets. If you use Google Docs, download your file as a PDF or Microsoft Word document, and submit that. If you use Google Sheets, download your file as a Microsoft Excel document, and submit that.


MILESTONES & DEADLINE

The information architecture will be due for peer review by Friday, November 20, 2020 midnight on Wednesday, November 25, 2020 on the appropriate Blackboard discussion forum. Then, by midnight on Tuesday, December 1, 2020, you should comment on two other posts, according to the questions in the forum description.

Draft versions of your site will be due for peer review on Friday, December 4, 2020 on the appropriate Blackboard discussion forum.

Final deliverables (including all Extra Credit) should be submitted via Blackboard before midnight on Monday, December 14, 2020.


GRADING CONSIDERATIONS

For this project, your WordPress web site will be graded on the following aspects:

  • 20%: Web Site Strategy Report:
    • Does the report include all the items listed in the Requirements?
    • How specific and well-written are your specifications, requirements, demographics, psychographics, personas, and other elements?
  • 10%: Information Architecture with Content Inventory:
    • How well organized is your IA?
    • How detailed and descriptive are the columns of information for each row?
    • Make sure to include your Card Sort photos in your Written Content document.
  • 25%: Written Content:
    • Is your Information Architecture clear? Does it appear well designed?
    • How much of the content on your site is placeholder text versus reasonably realistic text you have written? Does it seem like you have plagiarized any of the text?
    • Does your writing have a consistent tone and voice?
    • Are your headlines, paragraphs, FAQs, and instructions well-written and structured according to the rules of grammar and the guidelines presented in class?
    • How well are social media elements entered using the Yoast plugin?
  • 25%: Visual Design and Overall User Experience:
    • Does it look nice?
    • Is it easy to use?
    • Does it follow visual and structural guidelines reviewed in readings and class presentations?
    • Is the color palette from the Strategy Report used consistently throughout the site?
    • Do menus work? Do links work?
  • 20%: WordPress Installation and Setup
    • Did you create an administrator account for your instructor?
    • Is it using HTTPS instead of HTTP?
    • Are all the recommended plugins installed, activated, configured, and working?

EXTRA CREDIT

This project is graded out of 100 points. You can boost your grade on this project in the following ways:

  • Up to 20 extra points: if your strategy report includes a simple audit of at least 3 similar web sites (inspirations or competitors) that are each at least 1 page long and answer these questions:
    • What is the objective, mission, or vision of the web site?
    • Summarize the target audience as best as you can tell.
    • What is the site’s slogan or tagline?
    • What is the site’s color palette?
    • Based on the main navigation menus, what is the site’s information architecture?
  • Up to 5 extra points: if your strategy report includes a “mood board” of images and colors that accurately represents the design of the site you intend to create.
  • Up to 5 extra points: if a test of your WordPress web site returns a score of 80 or higher on any one of the following testing services:
  • Up to 10 extra points: if a test on PowerMapper SortSite accessibility checker shows your web site has none of the following in its report:
    • Errors: Priority 1 errors
    • Accessibility: Level A errors
    • Standards: Priority 1 errors
  • Up to 10 extra points: if you have filled out the social media information in WordPress (via the Yoast plugin) so that an iFramely test of random web pages from your site returns a complete and specific social media record for each page.
  • Up to 10 extra points: if your web site uses more than 10 different images as content or background, and they are all attributed correctly according to the TASL model — Title, Author, Source, License, described in Unit 3, Lesson 10 — with hyperlinks where possible.

Your grade could rise above 100 points as a result of extra credit.

REMINDER: When submitting your project on Blackboard, indicate in writing what extra credit you are applying for.


ONLINE REFERENCES

If you need a review on these topics, consult the in-class presentations as well as the articles below.