July 9, 2011
Tips on Building a School Web Site: Le Chéile Educate Together NS 21
Le Chéile Educate Together NS is a multi-denominational primary school based in Drogheda, Co. Louth. One of their parents asked me to have a look at their web site to give some feedback. As in the past number of articles, I must note that I am not a professional web designer.
Le Chéile ETNS appears to have been written using a service called Joomla, which is a well known Content Management System. Joomla would be considered very secure and gives plenty of options for creating several layers of security. For example, the staff of the school may be able to see parts of the web site that the general public can’t and the principal might be able to see parts of the web site that the rest of the staff can’t see either. Joomla can be a bit tricky to use but it is very powerful.
The school’s web site uses a minimalistic colour scheme with green, white and orange being the main colours used. These colours work well together and I assume they were chosen as they are the colours of the Irish flag, (though I am only guessing). It is impressive that these colours do not look gaudy and the scheme is quite subtle. The school’s logo is mainly yellow, red and blue and this is shown on the top of the web site. Perhaps some of these colours would have been more suitable for the site’s colour scheme?
The web site has the flavour of a blog in that the school’s latest news is shown when the user opens the web site. The information is presented well but images would brighten them up. There is a gallery of images and it would be nice to see them being linked to the articles. Overall, the navigation on the web site is simple and very well laid out with specific sections for different cohorts of the school community.
Parental involvement is very evident on this web site as there is a huge section dedicated to it. One can find out the latest news from a number of parent groups, including their Catholic Association, Fundraising events and PTA. There is also a good section about various information about the school such as policies, calendars, booklists and a contact page. However, there is no information about the school itself. It would be a good idea for the school to have an “About Us” section outlining who they are and what their educational philosophy is.
There are a small number of student related articles but they are far out-weighed by articles from parents. However, it does appear that this section was only started recently and it appears that it is being updated regularly by at least one teacher. It might be a good idea to challenge teachers and students to posting at least one article once per month on the site to increase the amount of students’ work here.
Le Chéile utilise a social media plugin that allows the user to link to their web site from their Facebook account. It’s a great idea but it might be better for this to link to Le Chéile’s own Facebook presence.
The Le Chéile web site has some excellent features and just needs a little bit more information and a splash of extra colour so I’ve attempted to edit it very slightly.
As you can see, I have really only changed one or two small things. I changed the colour scheme to reflect the school logo replacing the green and orange with yellow and red. I also moved the logo to the left of the title of the school. The only other change was to add a photograph into one of the posts. I think this makes a huge difference to the web site and brightens it up a lot.
I hope this article is of use to Le Chéile ETNS and that they continue with all their great work on the web site. It is admirable to have such a great amount of parental involvement in the development of the web site.