iws f10: professional web site installation 2

Assignment Description

This is the second of two versions of a professional web site that you will create in this course, each of which will be designed within the confines of a specific WordPress.org theme. For the first installation, each student used the the same theme—the WPFolio theme—a “free and open source theme for WordPress designed by artists specifically for visual artists.

For the second installation, each student will search for and find a theme that they can then manipulate to match their goals for their web site.

Assignment Specifics

For this assignment, each student will:

  • create detailed sketches of the home, inner, and blog pages of what they envision to be their new web site
  • search for and locate 3 potential themes that can be altered to create their web site
  • compose a blog post in which they discuss the merits and drawbacks of each of the 3 potential themes they have chosen based on how the theme pages are structured and the theme’s features
  • narrow down to 1 theme
  • use a theme tester plugin
  • learn how to use a child theme
  • make major adjustments to the theme to make it their own (see below)
  • make it a professional space informed by discussions, observations, and analysis about what best makes up a professional space
  • employ social networking features based on an analysis of how others employ social networking
  • ensure that it meets usability and accessibility guidelines, and is composed using XHTML

The following are the minimum required attributes:

  • professional title and tag line
  • a static or non-static home page that presents your site with visual(s) and alphabetic text
  • a blog space
  • all blog posts must have at least one Category and a number of Tags
  • blog posts that contain links when and if appropriate
  • a detailed about page composed with sentences that reveals who you are, what your site is about, and the work that can be found on it
  • a selection of sidebar and footer widgets
  • a selection of plugins that will enhance the use of your site
  • a portfolio containing a minimum of 7 pieces that are discussed and contextualized
  • ALT and title tags used when and where appropriate, as well as any image hacks needed to ensure accessibility of background images
  • follow XHTML guidelines for all code
  • use of a social networking site, such a Facebook or Twitter, which you use to advertise your site and your work

The following are the minimum required adjustments:

  • adjust the background and font colors
  • adjust the font family
  • adjust the font size
  • adjust the link active, hover, and visited attributes
  • adjust site widths
  • add at least one new class or id structural element the index.php or sidebar.php page
  • install a custom header image using CSS
  • create a clean and clear navigation menu
  • adjust permalink settings
  • set up Google Analytics and add the appropriate code to your site

Use the characteristics of a quality professional site based on what we determined during the first installation, as well as usability and accessibility features that we discussed in class (see below).

Each of the design and feature decisions you make must be grounded in a professional or rhetorical decision. For example, if I ask you why you chose a certain font family or background color, you must be able to tell me why and how that decision enhances or supports the goals of the site. Same for all plug-ins and widgets you use.

Part of the process of this class is going to be reflecting on the changes that you make to the site over time. To engage in this reflection it will be vital for you to be able to see the changes that you’ve made from one version of the site to the next. As a result, be sure to take screen shots of your site when you make changes. You can blog about these changes and use the screen shots as evidence and to help your readers understand the changes that you make, such as in this short post about my web site redesign. Or, just by looking at the redesign from 2006 to 2010:

Picture 150

On the reflective statement
Your reflective statement should have three parts in one document, single spaced:

  • Part 1: List each of the the minimum required adjustments above, and detail specifically what adjustments you made from the original theme to your final installation. You might think of this as a Before and After series: what the code looked like before and after; what the site looked like before and after, and so on. Also discuss how you have been using social networking sites to advertise your work and your site. Use the heading Adjustments and Social Networking before this section.
  • Part 2 (500 words in length) should focus on the medium, on the experience of composing this installation, where you had to choose a theme to manipulate as opposed to the first installation, where the theme was chosen for you.  Use the heading Medium before this section.
  • Part 3 (750 words in length) should be a critical reading of your site in terms of usability and accessibility guidelines and the features of professional web sites that we discussed. Be specific about how your site meets the guidelines and/or employs the features and why you decided to include what you have. If you have chosen to ignore a guideline or feature, discuss in depth why you made that decision (note: accessibility features cannot be ignored). Account for things like layout, color, navigation items, and so on. Feel free to use screen shots. Ultimately, this part of the reflection should make the case for why this installation is an appropriate reflection of who you want to be online. Use the heading Critical Reading before this section.

Have an electronic version of your essay with you in class (via email, USB drive, and so on). We will be handing in the files electronically. Name the file in this manner: “wolff-iwsf10-yourlastname-inst2-reflection.” The file should be in .doc or .docx format.

Here are screen shots of the usability and features lists we came up with in class.

Usability List



Professional Site FeaturesIMG_1211



Due Dates

11/16: blog post in which you discuss the merits and drawbacks of each of the 3 potential themes you have chosen based on how the theme pages are structured and each theme’s features
: professional web site analysis 2 due
: draft of installation due by class-time
12/14: final installation and reflective statements due by class-time

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