Google Sites at ACC
Introduction to Sites
Google Sites is an online application that makes creating a class, school, or project web site as easy as editing a document. With Google Sites, people can quickly gather a variety of information in one place -- including videos, calendars, presentations, attachments, and text -- and easily share it for viewing or editing with a small group, their class, the entire school, or sometimes the world. You always control who has access to your site.
Think of building a site in Google Sites as creating a collaborative wiki. A "wiki" is a website that can be easily edited by multiple authors. You can allow others contribute to the site, track the changes made to your site, and add rich media – no html programming required.
Here's what you can do with Google Sites:
- Customize your site.
- Create sub-pages to keep your content organized.
- Add navigation menus
- Choose page types: webpage, announcements, file cabinet, lists, dashboards, start pages.
- Have a central location for your web content and offline files.
- Keep your site as private or public as you'd like.
- Search across your Google Sites content with Google search technology.
Quick principles of well designed and usable sites
- Know your audience
- Design - choose a design that flatters, not distracts from your content
- Content - keep it simple
- Expose the most important information "above the fold." The fold is the point when a user has to scroll down to see the rest of the webpage. If your best and most relevant content is 'hidden' down the page and requires scrolling, you run a risk of a user not seeing it. If at all possible, try to keep all your information above the fold.
- Use headings easy to see and make sense. Headings should stand out - you can bold the text, make it a size or two larger. These will be used by the user while scanning the page. The headings should also be relevant to the associated content.
- Short and sweet paragraphs. A webpage is not the place to be reading long blocks of content - text on your page should inform quickly and easily. Keep paragraphs descriptive but concise.
- 15 second rule: If someone has only 15 seconds to review a page, can your expected user (teacher, student, parent, other) find the information they need quickly?
- Avoid animation. If necessary, have only one per page. An animated image can take the attention away from your web content. If the animation is necessary to the information in your website, then keep it to a minimum - 1 at most.
- Avoid noises and music. Opening a website and suddenly hearing music or noises can surprise users. Use music and noises only if necessary and relevant to your content - and even then, try and use a player that can allow the user to control the sound instead of autoplaying.
- Navigation - don't make me think!
- Try to use no more than 5-7 links in your main navigation. More than that can be overwhelming. Instead of having a long laundry list of links, use sub-pages (pages that are linked within the main navigation links) to display additional information or links. Google Sites has an option to include subpage dropdown in your main navigation.
- Use 'breadcrumb' links. 'Breadcrumbs' show a list of the link hierarchy or navigation so that a user knows where they've been and where they are going. Google Sites automatically includes a breadcrumb on your pages. Sites has breadcrumbs at the top. to get out of the subpage, can go back to the main, 'top level' page
ACC has a pre-designed template to use with your Google site. The template uses ACC’s color scheme and is branded with the ACC logo.
In addition to these pre-designed templates, there are also some basic site templates available that let you choose a color, font, and graphical scheme for your site.
When someone visits your website, they should be able to quickly browse through the pages and find the information they are looking for. One way to achieve this is with headings. Come up with descriptive and concise headings to categorize your content.
Here are a few things to think about:
When someone visits your site for the first time, they should be able to tell what's within your site just by looking at the 5-7 navigation links included in your site.
Here are a few things to think about:
Contact the Instructional Designer on your campus.