Graphic design and website layout project
I have a website – [url removed, login to view] which is in desperate need of a make over. As an engineer I just wanted it to be functional during my development stage. Now the time has come to get the site designed for our target audience and the flow of information integrated in the site so that my audience finds what they need easily and there is no confusion about the site. So this will tap a wide range of expertise.
My target Audience:
This site is designed for online video education for high school students – generally 11th graders and first semester seniors. I am developing the content for both SAT and ACT at this time. The webpage graphic design and colors need to be designed for this audience. There is actually a slight need for design variation between the part of the site that gives parents the info they need for registration and payment and other info that will lead them to sign their students up for the service. Once they have signed up a student it will be necessary for the site that provides the instruction to be very friendly for students. The main backend function is to have a list of orders that we can select and process. At this point we are only going to have 1 product and we may vary the price so being able to adjust the price is necessary. We will have a set of materials that have to be shipped as soon as the order is placed so they can have what they need in order to use the site.
Much of the content is being shot in HD and converted to a 480 x 270 flash video file and embedded in the page. The Flash page that plays the explanations and the instruction videos should have the same video sizes. Some of the older content will be in a different aspect ratio and will not be reshot at this time. So, we know that there will be 2 video size displays. We welcome suggestions on things we need to do to help this without redoing the video. If the site turns out to be quite successful we will certainly redo the parts that need to be redone and change the page at that time for the matching format.
I would like for the graphical design of the Flash page that plays the videos to be changed and developed so that it looks like the rest of the site. This project will include the development of that Flash video player. The current design is not that good but the functionality needs to be essentially the same. The page needs to display all of the answer options that you see on the page now. The site will include several sections. The following is a simplified syllabus of the course.
I. Overview of materials and the Day 1 classes
II. Class II - Classes and homework
III. Class III - Classes and homework
IV. Class IV - Classes and homework
V. Class V - - Classes and homework
VI. Thank you – General questions / answers
The homework for the first 2 math tests will be laid out similar to this page that we have already developed. I would like for this page to be modified to match the overall site design that the winner develops. [url removed, login to view]
At the moment this page will not be the same page but the design is similar and there will be 100 videos that are activated by a Flash web page. Since the designer for the new site will have to access the videos in some kind of Flash design, the same FLV files will be accessed by the same name. The videos here are only for the students to check their homework so we do not go over it in the online videos. There will only be 2 sets of Math videos and 2 sets of Science videos done this way. The Reading and English video reviews are incorporated into the content of the current site that this project is developing.
The intended process flow is for a parent to make the purchase and receive an email with the appropriate details about logging in and the info about the materials to be sent to them. As a part of logging in we will need some normal information in addition to the info necessary to make the ecommerce transaction. I already have a PayPal account with appropriate api details and I will need to have the info processed through that account. Since I am already running another site that has my transaction fees to almost their lowest cost I want to simply add these transactions at this time. It is not expected that we will have 50 customers per month at this point.
Once the parent receives the email we need the info to ship their supplies on the next business day. The email will have the appropriate log in details for that customer. We will need the system to log the time and date of each access by each customer. We will need the system to allow us to specify a time period that each account times out based on when the customer signs in. We don’t have that logic accurately developed at this point so we can just start with an initial 60 day period. After that time we need access by that customer to be disabled, but allow them to email us and request a time extension. Then we can manually access the admin site and provide a new expiration date based on that customer. Usually the expiration times will be based on the next test date and student circumstances. Sometimes students get sick or reschedule the test and if they have already paid but haven’t used the site we can easily need to give them an extension. We are wanting to prevent students sharing their account details with friends. We don’t want to go overboard on this at this time but the design would include protocols to make it difficult to basically “share”. The log will need to have data that allows us to periodically monitor if this is a problem. If we see 14 different IP addresses accessing the site under the same account details then that would be very suspicious. We will need the ability to set up a new account ourselves. We expect many of the initial customers to contact us and give us info over the phone and then mail a check. We need to be able to set that up completely while they are on the phone, so credit card check out may not be necessary on most transactions.
Now that the student has all the details and the materials have arrived, they will log into the site and begin by watching the videos in sequence. In the videos we are instructing the students to pause the videos and do certain exercises as necessary. We do not want them to “bounce around” so we need for the site work flow to restrict what they see before they complete the current assignment. For example, they will need to watch all of a session. This link shows what the first day of Math and Science will be like - [url removed, login to view]
Once the site confirms that the student has been through this video then it can take them to the next page. For example we may just need a listing of pages in the admin where we rank the pages 1-10 for the order of the pages. Typically a student would get the Reading/English page first and complete that work and then go to Math/Science page 1 then go to Reading/English page for Day 2 then Math/Science page for Day 2, etc. The last pages will be Day 5 - Reading/English and then Math/Science.
Once a student has completed all the assignments they can really go back through the videos as many times as they want until the expiration date.
Reminders – the site will need to monitor the students and send email if a student has not been back to the site within a time period we define in the admin section. That way if a student is online for the first class but does not come back within 5 days, both the student and their parent will receive an email. Once the student completes their work on each complete day of the course the parent will receive an email telling them the amount of time their student spent on the site for that class. When the parent registers for the class they will see options asking if they want these reminders. The reminders will be preselected but the parent will have the option to deselect them.
I am hopeful that this provides enough information for designers/programmers to build the site quickly and ask questions that are more detailed once we see the site start coming together. This may be a 2 step process – based on time requirements we may need to go with the basics to make it work NOW and then add on other features after it is working. It is ok to bid the project in stages by identifying where you see the break points in the project.
The project will also require the programmer to work with my existing programmer on connecting to the existing PayPal api. Upon selecting the winner I will provide all the site details and contact info for my programmer.
This is the priority list of items needed:
#1 – very good, student friendly, site design and page flow. This is the most important part. I want students to feel very good about the site functionality. If you tend to make the navigation more obscure and hard to find – this is not for you. This includes everything from registration to repeated logins by the students. If all the sites you develop look a lot alike, this is probably not going to be your type of project. We have a very narrow target audience and we need to hit it extremely well. The same design that works for “Jim Bob’s Fish and Tackle” or “Suzie’s Modern Art Gallery” will not be acceptable.
#2 – Timeliness – we need this fast.
#3 – Security – in making sure that in general it is difficult for the student to give their info to friends and have the friends use the site without paying.
#4 – Ecommerce – in the beginning we expect most of our students to contact us directly and mail a check and we need the ability to set them up from our end. If something has to wait, the ecommerce can wait until June.
The site will not have any advertising at this time so designing that is not an issue. The training sites will never have advertising on them. In the future we may have limited ad spots on some of the “non-educational” pages. The site needs to be designed with appropriate HTML text providing all the key info to make sure the search engines find it and catalog it quickly. Merely adding metawords is not considered SEO. As you should know strong weighting is given to where the key words appear within the HTML page code. Please make good use of this type of design.
The site will be considered COMPLETE and the PROJECT successfully completed when I can access the site from my computer, use a set of test customer data and complete the registration process, receive the confirming email, make several choices in payment method, receive the account log in information, and then login and access all the pages as a customer. It will be complete on the admin side when I can see the transaction listing and print out appropriate shipping labels and monitor the student’s access of the site and I check on my paypal account and the payment has been recorded. The reminder feature will be complete when the test student and their parent receive appropriate emails telling them to continue the class. The parent email must also receive a brief email telling them when the student was accessing the site and for how long.
In conclusion, when this stage is completed and we get everything working we will be developing several more training programs and will need this site expanded. I have a programmer who will provide basic site maintenance but not site design. We need to be able to upload through the admin side all the videos and update information in the pages on the site. For the first round I can upload everything using DreamWeaver and I can handle converting all mp4 videos into flv files before uploading. I have a website host already for my existing businesses and will add this to the existing site. I am only using about 5% of available space and bandwidth and I can upgrade either at any time. The site is currently hosted by IX Webhosting but will be moved to my Liquid Web hosted site in the next few days. I will also obtain the SSL for that site.
The next ACT test is June 13. We are currently finishing videoing and editing of the content but now have enough to provide an idea of what will be on the site. We are a little behind on time and need this developed as fast as possible. Our target date to have the main functionality of the site completed and tested by May 23. We may be providing some early subscribers with direct links to pages while development continues.
We look forward to working with you. Please ask questions