Bob Jensen's Web Site Design Suggestions

Bob Jensen at Trinity University

Note that most external links in this document open in a new browser window. Close the window when you leave that link. Click here for an example of a new window link (HotMetal Pro calls it a Target New Window whereas Microsoft FrontPage calls it a Target Frame Parent.) Click here for an example of a present window link that requires use of the back botton or the Go menu choice to return to this document.

This document contains examples of good and bad web site designs. It takes you to a number of good and bad WWW sites. It suggest things that you should consider including and avoiding. The bottom line is that web pages should be useful to other people beyond what is useful in your resume. Merely putting a resume on a web page is unimaginative and of very limited use to the outside world. Be imanginative and creative. Here are some ideas!

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Some index.html or default.htm Hints
Some Personal Web Document Hints
Tell us where you now work or study
Cautions --- If Mom & Dad have Internet access
Tell us about your main work or study interests
Provide us with your writings and other works
Add Interesting Audio
How do graduates get into WWW lines of work? What are they designing?
Educators Should Share Course Materials
How to Commence Publishing on the WWW (Navigates to another document)
Frequently Asked Questions About the WWW (Navigates to another document)
Frequently Asked Questions About HTML (Navigates to another document)

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Return to the Index of Bob Jensen's Public WWW Documents

Some index.html or default.htm Hints

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There are many good places to find advice about designing a web page. Even accountants can find some good advice in the Internet Guide for Accountants by Alexander Kogan, Ephraim F. Sudit, and Miklos A. Vasarhelyi at

http://www.rutgers.edu/Accounting/raw/book/

You might also find some frequently asked questions and answers of interest at

http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/#FAQs

In your web server, one of your web documents (usually an htm file) must be designated as the document to appear when someone visits your web site. This "initial" document must be named index.html or default.htm. Since people visiting your web site may be using relatively slow modems, it is best to minimize the use of colored background, animation, large pictures, and huge amounts of text in that "initial" document. Keep your initial (e.g. index.html) document short, plain, and simple with links to your more complicated documents. Let users open your intial document without having to endure long delays for picture linking (any picture in a text document must be linked to a picture file that is loaded separately when you load the text file). Insert big pictures or lots of pictures in documents (e.g., other htm files) linked from your initial document. For example, in addition to an initial "index" document, you can link to your personal home page. In that you may use larger pictures and more pictures. For example, insert a picture of yourself or your family on your "personal" page.

By way of illustration, the President of the United States may have been better off to have an index.html document with few pictures that linked to his home page . Instead, his index page is his personal home page. Click here for The U.S. First Family Example. The Dow Jones pick for top business web sites is at http://businessdirectory.dowjones.com/. Bob Jensen's bookmarks are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob.htm.

Be careful of picture resolution and color depth. The standard for the WWW seems to be 256 colors at the moment. in standard 640 by 480 resolution. Therefore, you should probably elect standard resolution and use 256 color options when you create your picture files. It is best to use JPG or GIF picture file compressions since BMP uncompressed files will not read in many browsers such as Netscape Navigator.

If you want to count the number of times someone accesses your web page, you can do so by following instructions here. Note that you can cheat by clicking on it yourself 500 times each day, requiring your students to visit the site, or by starting the counter at something other than zero (those little white lies again). This makes web counters meaningless except to you since you are the only person who knows where the web counter started. It is possible that the web counter will add to the time it takes to enter your web document. They were fun and faddish for a while, but now they are somewhat in bad taste. My advice is to leave the web counters off your documents.

Your initial document should probably contain the following information and links:

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Some Personal Web Document Hints

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Take a look at Class Notes: Top Ten Mistakes in Web Design By Jakob Nielsen, SunSoft Distinguished Engineer at http://www.uww.edu/personal/fac/macurk/10probs.htm

Give people a reason to visit your web site. Some accounting educators come to my web site just to see what other accounting educators are doing.

In your personal web document, not your initial web document, you may want to show the street where you live or work.

The above map was copied from the MapQuest Interactive Atlas. MapQuest even allows you to personalize your pages by joining for free here. Try the Interactive Atlas. I think it is legal to copy this map, although it is not legal to copy every image that you see on the WWW.


You can record a sloppy and sentimental audio like mine in student computer lab in the ground floor of the library.

If your browser has audio capabilities, click here for the clown's sentimental journey (This requires wav file audio utilities.)


If you are an insignificant person with nothing interesting to put on your home page, embellish your record. But do it so obviously that no person is misled by your embellishments. Big obvious fat lies are better than those little white ones.

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Tell us where you now work or study

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Insert pictures of your work site. Example

Hyperlinks to interesting parts of your organization.
Example 1
Example 2

Also consider including some of you academic or professional work such as term papers, poems, and stories.

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Cautions --- If Mom & Dad have Internet access, it is best if you do the following:

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Write home that you went on a Chapel Retreat rather than Betty's Battalion in San Antono or the Boot Hill Saloon in Dallas.

Don't reveal the senility of your professors or their somewhat outmoded theories that are just not accepted (yet) by modern science.

Report that you browse the WWW here rather than here or here or here.

Avoid becoming too revealing or immature. You need tuition, board, room next term so don't offend mom and dad (to say nothing about dignity and an eventual job in the "civilized" world of grown up human beings).   Avoid gross language and images such as in www.kens.com .

Avoid offensive beginnings to what otherwise might be a pretty good personal web site. Even more so, do not make your web site a totally useless place to visit.   Noel O'Sullivan wrote me the following message:

I am listed as the example of an offensive beginning (for which reason I haven't changed my opening). However, the web page is not currently accessible at that address so you might consider changing the link to: http://www.connect.ie/users/nosullvn

I like your page though. Good advice all round.

Noel

Avoid WWW searches of subversive or French sex WWW sites. Remember your name and other personal data about you may become permanently associated with "the sites you visit" as well as the "friends you keep."

Keep your private correspondence off of your home page.

Hide the fact that you are a messy person.

Also hide the fact that you waste your time on idiot games..

Avoid making your web site both dumb and confusing.

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Tell us about your main work or study interests

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Provide interesting data or link to web sites that have great data. For example, if you are interested in growth trends of the web, click on http://www.nw.com/zone/WWW/top.html.

It can be a surprise that you know so much more about rhubarb than anybody in the world.

Provide great bookmarks or other hyperlinks as a service to the majority of people expected to visit your home page. Examples include Bob's Bookmarks, Mike Kearl's Home Page, Glen Gray's page, and Larry Tomassini's Home Page.

Provide discussion and review of some sites containing lots of information.

Always provide links to the works that that enhance your image as a scholar and never reveal the funky stuff you really read or listen to when nobody is watching.

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Provide us with your writings and other works

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Professor Jensen provides his dog and pony show program on in a WWW document.

Professor Hicks provides one of the most helpful web sites available for both bookmarks and materials for learning how to author documents and publish on the WWW.

Professor J. David Spiceland has a very nice web page for his intermediate accounting course. Note the "Course Resources" link.

Associations such as the American Accounting Association are now investigating how to better coordinate the networking of research and education materials among members. Funding will be provided by the AAA for this effort. Until academic associations can deliver these services, individual educators and their schools will have to continue providing materials on web pages in a decentralized manner. Other interesting accounting education web sites are listed at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/survey1.htm#Directories

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Add Interesting Audio to Web Documents

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Some educators come to my web site for audio messages from daring professors.

Many web users have computers with audio capabilities. Audio can be downloaded as a WAV file or streamed in real audio. If you have audio capabilities, I suggest that you click here for an example of what "daring professors" have experimented with in colleges around the world.

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If you are a current or former student of mine, share some of your ideas

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Some students share their term papers and other writings from courses. Others have writings on the wall.

Some Trinity University graduates go on to become accountancy professors. See the web site of Igor Vaysman.

How do graduates get into WWW lines of work? What are they designing? A former Trinity University accounting student named Marshall Hays wrote the following message to me in January of 1997:

hi Dr. Jensen-
So what's new down in the River City?
On Friday, SMU ran an article about me in the school paper... the online version is here: http://dailycampus.smu.edu/HTMLpages/DC.09-26-97/DC.09-26-97-n.market.html.
We've been working really hard on redesigning http://TheKiss.com since we recently purchased it back from one of our clients. We plan to continue to promote it and sell banner ads on the site.. It was recently on GoodMorning Texas and is getting about 100,000 hits/day so far. We got to do some work for AT&T a couple months ago. Well, talk to ya later, gotta go earn some money. --

Marshall Hays Internet Marketing
http://www.hays.netph:214-887-8881
creators of http://TheKiss.com

If you are an educator, share some of your course materials, links, and curricula information

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Click here to view what a Nobel Prize winner and my friend shares on the web at
http://www.financialengines.com/

An Introduction to Investment Theory
http://viking.som.yale.edu/will/finman540/classnotes/notes.html

Cases in Investment Management
http://viking.som.yale.edu/will/cases/casebk2.html

Introduction to Options
http://Finance.Wat.ch/cbt/Options/

TermFinance
http://finance.wat.ch/termFinance/

The Dismal Scientist
http://www.dismal.com/

Ceil Pillsbury at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee provides accounting educators and students with some great links.

The University of Iowa Tax Resources.

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