Most Important Points:
NO spaces in file names. None. Double, triple check the names of files you want to make available online. That PDF you need to put line called: “This is Way Important 2012.pdf” will not publish with that file name. Change it to “this-is-way-important-2012.pdf” instead.
Microsoft Word is not your friend
MS Word is the worst kind of computer software in that it thinks it’s smarter than you are and will, without your consent, alter your content to suit its own rules. If you’ve ever tried to create a web page but when you viewed it in a browser the text was bigger, smaller, bolder, lighter, in the wrong font, spaced out very strangely and generally weird, you’ve been a victim of Word.
So well known is this problem there’s a special button to address it: “Paste from Word” is available in the text editor and will remove most of the “helpful” junk MS Word includes when you try to paste in your text.
Don’t Fear the Code
This goes hand in hand with “View the source, Luke.” Ok, that’s a Star Wars reference for you non-geeks out there.
HTML is, for what we’re working with, very simple. HTML is just a series of opening and closing tags, written like <p> </p> and <ul> </ul> and <div> </div> that surround the regular text that you write. In almost all cases, there is an opening tag, and a closing tag. Visual editors, like the one built in to Publish, try to make editing HTML easier, but it’s just too easy to fool a visual editor. Once that happens, like a good dog trying to understand what you want, things just get worse.
When that happens it’s best to take a break, and when you return hit the Edit HTML Source button and try to see what’s amiss in your code.
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words (that’s why it takes so long to download)
Everybody loves pictures. Pictures can provide more information than a whole block of text and they’re much easier for people to “scan” when visiting your site.
But the downside is images must be properly prepared for web delivery. You must not use the height and width parameters of the image tag to scale a humongous image down to the size you want. This means you must have the required tools at your disposal, and that often means additional costs. Photoshop Elements, the little brother to Photoshop, is available from SOU IT for a minimal cost. Call the Help Desk (541-552-6900) to find out more.
Bottom line: use the following rules of thumb regarding images.
- Don’t use images as a replacement for text, use images to enhance your text
- Always (this is important) provide a brief description of the image in the ALT tag field
- Regular (editorial) Images must not be wider than 600 pixels (try for no more than 250-350 wide pixels in most cases). An exception would be the “masthead image” at the very top of the page which should be 732 pixels wide.
- Resolution must be 72 dpi
- Color mode must be RGB (print uses CMYK so if you got your image from some source other than a website or a digital camera, double check the mode before publishing your image)
- File size, also referred to as the payload, should not be more than 75k per image
- File format can be JPEG, PNG, or GIF. For photographs JPEG – JPG in the PC world – is best. For simpler, flat-color graphics, like the announcement banners on the main SOU homepage, PNG is best while GIF is a legacy format that is best avoided