Web Page Helps

A web page is an outstanding tool to enhance communications with the Scouts and their parents in your unit. This page is to help you establish your unit's presence on the Internet. The Verdugo Hills Council Web Team has established simple, clear policy that lays out guidelines for Scouting unit web sites. You site should be in full compliance with this policy. If you have questions about the policy, you should contact the VHC Scout Executive.

Site hosting
You can utilize the free personal web site space that is usually offered by many Internet Service Providers. If you choose this option, you should advise the VHC Web Team of how to reach your site once it has been uploaded and is active. If the unit site complies with council Internet policy, the team will include a link from the VHC web site.

Building your web site
HTML is the Hypertext Markup Language, the definition of the directives placed in World Wide Web documents. If you are unfamiliar with HTML and how to prepare documents for your web site, visit these articles listed below for a introductory look at HTML.

While you can write HTML files using a standard text editor in your word processor, it is much easier to use an HTML editor program. There are many fine shareware programs available on the Internet that you can download and use for no cost. Download.com has a long list of HTML editors that you can download.

Design Guidelines
Web design is an inexact science because you cannot control the user. There are many user variables that determine how your web site will be viewed. These include the user's browser and browser settings, display settings (resolution and colors), and Internet connection. Your goal is to design your page so it is optimized in all of these environments. Here are some tips.

    Use tables for every page. We suggest all of your pages be a centered, 600-pixel-wide table, rather than just the default width. When users view your page, they could be using a 640x480 resolution (unlikely these days, but possible!) or 800x600 resolution, which would make a normal web page text wrap differently. By using the table, you constrain the users so they see the page as you designed it. Here is a good source on using tables:  W3 Convention.

    Frames should not be used. They are difficult to design with, and not all browsers treat frames the same.

    Test your pages. Pages should be tested for readability with both Microsoft Internet Explorer and Firefox using different screen resolution settings to determine readability.

    Contact information. The name of the unit web editor of your site, date last updated, and an e-mail address should be included.

    Navigation. Make sure there are sufficient navigation links on each page that help the user logically find the information they seek. Before starting, outline your web site and show logical links between pages and subpages.

    Consistency. Every page should be consistent in format for ease in finding information.

    Keep it simple. Pages will be simple enough to load quickly, minimizing excessive graphics. Low-resolution graphics will speed download time. Remember, there are still a lot of folks using dial-up, and they will using 28.8 to 56K modem connections.

    Use of color. Color schemes should be appropriate for the Scouting theme. Use 16 or less color palettes as much as practical. Colors should be selected so that pages printed on a black & white printer will be totally readable. Backgrounds will be chosen such that the colored links are readable. Use light-colored, low-contrast backgrounds with dark text as much as practical. Transparent background colors may be used for graphics, as appropriate.

Editing. Remember that your unit web site is your advertisement to the world and prospective members. Keep a few simple rules in mind.
  • Be careful and monitor how you use sarcasm or humor on your page because your message may not be received in the spirit that it was meant.
  • Check your spelling. A misspelled word can change the mood of the message.
  • Observe grammar and rules of punctuation to the best of your ability. Use of non-standard writing will hamper the ability and desire of others to receive the information you are sharing.
  • Keep paragraphs short and succinct. Focus on one subject per message area. Separate subjects by lines or spaces. Just make sure the themes do not run together and confuse the viewer and convey incorrect information.
  • Make sure calendars have correct information . If you are not sure´┐Ż don't post. It is better to have no information and keep looking for it than the wrong data.
Site Content. What can you put on your unit web site? Just look around at what you are communicating now to the members and families in your pack, troop or crew. Calendars, trek and outing information sheets, forms to sign up for activities, the possibilities are endless. How about pictures of your outings and activities? Use your imagination.
  • Calendars. We found an excellent calendar shareware program.. It's simple to use. Download HTMLCAL.
If you have any questions about creating your unit web page, contact me or any member of the VHC web team.

Have fun with your web site!!