How This Website Works


Overview

Five key concepts are the foundation for this website's design and functionality - ViewPoint, Responsive Design, Chunking, Data Refresh, and Feedback.


ViewPoint

The Problem
As this website contains a large quantity of information about the school, it's easy to get overwhelmed, lost or confused. 


The Solution
The concept of VIEWPOINT was designed into this website to make it easier for you to find the information that you are seeking. The website was designed with the viewpoints of PARENTS, STUDENTS, TEACHERS, STAFF, and COMMUNITY member.

Why use viewpoints?
Because WHO is looking typically drives WHAT information they are looking for. 
For example - A parent often is looking for different information than that of a student or teacher using this website.


How do viewpoints work?
For each viewpoint a unique menu (quick menu) of the most commonly sought for items was setup. The quick menu requires only a single click to get to your targeted item. No need to search through multiple menu branches to find what you are looking for. You access the appropriate quick menu by clicking on your viewpoint - PARENTS, STUDENTS, TEACHERS, STAFF, and COMMUNITY member - as listed in the MAIN MENUFor example - If you are a parent, then click on PARENTS in the MAIN MENU.



What happens if the item you want is not in your viewpoint's quick menu?
Click on SEARCH in the MAIN MENU. Type in your keyword or keywords. Click on the SEARCH button which looks like a magnifying glass. Then review the returned search results for your information. Alternatively you can click on SCHOOL INFO in the MAIN MENU and manual navigate in the traditional manner through the website's extensive menu listings.

How do we decide what items to include in a quick menu for each viewpoint?
Each quick menu must be kept to minimum number of items to ensure searching through the list is quick and easy for website users. Using Google Analytics and website search queries we can determine what are the most commonly sought for items in the website. Based on this data the quick menus are updated to include items covering 95% [2-sigma rule] of a typical website user's queries. We also test changes to an item name in the quick menu to determine which is easier for website users to find their information. For example - Place two different item names for the same information like "Inclement weather procedure" and "Weather related delays & closings" on a quick menu. Next we determine which item name was most commonly used and update the quick menu.


Responsive Design
We incorporated responsive design into the website. Responsive Web Design (RWD) is a web design approach aimed at building a website to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices from smartphones to tablets to desktop computers.

Translation?

The web server automatically adjusts navigation and the arrangement of content based on the size of your device's screen.  If you ever attempted to scroll through a standard website without responsive design with your smartphone, then you know how difficult it is to navigate or view content.


Chunking
A website user doesn't want to scroll down page after page of text to find the information that they want. This is especially true on mobile devices with small screens.

Enter the concept of "chunking". Chunking is the technique of breaking down a large block of information into smaller units of information known as "chunks".

The quantity of content on a webpage is kept minimal using vertical menus combined with chunking. Using a vertical menu a user drills-down to view a specific chunk of information related to the topic being viewed. For example the vertical menu for LIBRARY includes access to chunks of information like HOURS, NEW ARRIVALS, SERVICES, etc.



Data Refresh
Data is not organic, but nevertheless data does get stale with age.

Whenever possible content data for the website is pulled from dynamic sources like Google Calendars, Google Spreadsheets, and RSS feeds to keep it fresh and up-to-date.

The Data Curator for the school website is responsible for managing on a daily basis short-lived, but critical information. Examples of short-lived data are events in the school calendars (academic, athletic, event, facility, and school lunch), daily announcements, and maintaining the photo gallery.

When feasible an object posted on the website is given a life-span indicating a birth date to start displaying and a terminate date to stop displaying. We don't want the website filled with stale announcements. For example displaying in May an announcement about an upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday Concert which occurred last November. The website software automatically manages objects based on their life-span.

A Content Curator writes new articles for publication and serves as editor for any content submitted by employees for publication on the school website.


Feedback
Though listed last, feedback in the form of suggestions from website users provides a valuable contribution. Feedback confirms (or not) the validity of website design changes on improving functionality. When analyzed, feedback can suggest new directions, helpful information or a criticism to improve the future experience of website users.


Supported Web Browsers
This website supports the following web browsers:
Microsoft Internet Explorer 11 and newer
Mozilla Firefox 48 and newer
Apple Safari 10.0 and newer (Mac version only)
Google Chrome 49 and newer
Opera 42
Yandex 14.10 and newer

Notice to Parents:

If you need to email any information to the office concerning your child, instead of emailing an individual secretary please email to this address:
hcs.office@sau24.org.
This will assure that your message will reach more than one person in our office in case someone is absent. Thank you.   

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