why a template.
One might ask why they, or anyone else needs a template for the building of their web pages. Truthfully, nobody has to have a template for building a site, and some don't want to be tied into any existing framework — but others see the tremendous upside:
Users of a template enjoy greatly reduced development time. Most of the 'heavy lifting' has already been done. Considerable amounts of experience, effort and expertise have gone into these template designs — designs that perform at very high levels technically and visually (if we do say so ourselves). While beauty might be in the eye of the beholder, on the technical end we can back up the claims.
The templates meet worldwide standards for code and accessibility. The use of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) has enabled the separation of style from content — resulting in compact, efficient code. CSS also enables simple, site-wide changes to occur with just the changing of a single line of code. This one-to-many functionality also benefits end-users in that style and positioning information, by being contained in a single, shared file, is cached by the user's browser — speeding page download times. But that is not where the one-to-many idea ends...
By using PHP (a general-purpose scripting language especially suited for web development) includes (check the 'more' button below for info about 'includes'), further modularity of a site can be achieved. Instead of, for example, having to change the date on the footer of all your document pages everytime the year or your contact information changes, you can just change it once, and all affected files will reflect those changes. This can also save you from having to maintain certain parts of your site. PHP includes in use on www.unomaha.edu top-level pages can work on your site. For instance, if you desire search and quicklinks functionality on your pages, and are happy with the search bar on top-level pages, you only need to point your template to that file and you're done. Any changes to the search code or quicklinks are automatically there for your site. The same applies for commonly used images. By using existing image files, like the 'go' button for example, you allow users to use a cached file, and you don't have to create or maintain it. ...more about includes.
University Identity Standards apply to all of us, and the templates comply. Think of it as brand identity — by sharing certain standards of design and function, every campus entity enjoys the benefits of a strong, unified campus identity. We think there is still plenty of room within the templates to show off your area's uniqueness.
By using standardized templates, we afford web users the ability to know and understand how pages work from one to the next. Standardized placements and functionalities free the user from having to guess, or re-learn navigation upon entry to a new campus site. The template designs keep a very close eye on current usability studies. For instance, studies indicate that users strongly expect a link to the home page to be placed in the upper left-hand corner of a web page — so that is where we put it. Users expect the search function to be placed near the top, and in the middle — so we put it there. Just a few examples.
This isn't all some grand scheme to steal your individuality, and force you into compliance. It exists for your benefit, as well as that of the university, its students and employees, and other diverse populations that use and depend on our web resources. We hope you like the templates and use them, but it is entirely your call.
Now that we've covered the 'why' of it all, it's time to take a look at a sample page.
Content last modified: December 22, 2010, 8:24am