Marni Kleiman & Joon-Hyun Park
Proposal for: A Web Guide to Florence, Italy

Click Here to see the Web Guide.


from the author:
Marni: When our professor had assigned us this project both Joon and myself were adamant on doing a project on something we both loved; for me, it was Italy and for Joon, it was the internet. We surveyed friends and family who have visited Italy in order to get more opinions than just ours. We also wanted this website to be more personal, which is why we speak in the tone we do. Most of our pictures were from my time spent studying abroad in Florence, Italy last year. The information is a compilation of my thoughts and feelings and the surveys we received.

Joon: For the WRT 307 final project, Marni wanted to work on the Florence project, and didn’t mind having me as a team member, so I decided to help her by using the computer skills I had. I thought making an online guide to Florence was unique from the rest of the projects proposed, so I was excited to work with her. During the project I learned many things, from Professor Ledden, about text design, including the uses of contrast, proximity, repetition, leading, and white space. My practice of these text design techniques is apparent in both the Florence project and in our project reports. Best of all, I had fun, while being challenged in designing the web site to be just right for the project.


from the teacher, Marjorie Ledden :
In response to a Writing 307 assignment to produce a product that fulfills a need for a specific audience, Joon and Marni created a lovely website for students studying in Florence, along with superb accompanying workplace documents. Among the more important documents in this process is the proposal printed below. Although not generally considered “creative” or “elegant,” workplace writing often can be. Websites for sure! But proposals? Certainly! Especially when written by these talented students who actually experienced negotiating Florence (Marni) and exhibited outstanding design skills (Joon).


Section I: Introduction
We have decided to create a web page of Florence, Italy. This web page will be accessible to anyone searching the internet for information on Florence. But our main goal is to target students traveling to Florence. Other people considering travel to Florence or other places in Europe will also find this website helpful. Included in the website will be information about restaurants, shops, night life spots, trips to other places in Europe, and many more tourist attractions.


This website will not solely provide information from Marni and Joon. We will make certain that we conduct surveys with other knowledgeable people on this topic. In addition, we will consult travel books to maintain accuracy.

 

Section II: Intended Audience for Deliverable
Of course this website will be available to anyone who has access to the internet and we would be happy if our project helps anyone. Our main intention is to target this website to students traveling to Italy for a semester abroad. Marni went to Florence for the semester last year and there were things she wishes she had known prior to going to Italy. After spending a semester there and becoming quite acquainted with the city, she believed it was important to inform other students about certain aspects of Italy. Students do not have to follow every piece of advice on the website but can benefit from some good research and first-hand experience. Because our project is on a website, students will be able to reach our link while they are in Europe where internet access is available.


This website will also benefit any non-student traveling to Italy for a vacation. We will provide them with certain restaurants we feel they should try and give advice on night life.

 

Section III: Statement of Problem
The whole idea for this project stemmed from the fact that Marni went to Italy last semester to study abroad. She enjoyed herself but if she was given the opportunity to do it again, a few things would be different.


There are many students that utilize this opportunity to travel to a foreign place and study there for about 4 months. The concept of picking up and leaving to a foreign country, while not knowing the language, as in Marni’s case, is a bit scary.


Students buy travel books to read up as much as possible about various destinations. Only a few can cater to the however needs of a student that is studying abroad. A lot of times these books are written for the normal traveler. This does not benefit those who study abroad for months at a time. Aside from the lack of books we noticed that there are websites with information well suited for students but are not so easy to navigate. Thus we have developed a website with the 3-click rule where a user will not have to click more than 3 times to navigate from one page to the next. This website will prepare students with relevant and useful information without spoiling any surprises they may encounter in Italy.

 

Section IV: Objective
Our project is a website that entails information on Florence, Italy in which students studying abroad should know. The main page contains a picture of Florence with links to other pages on the site. For instance, Link 1 will be Eating and if you click on that link, the new page will give you information about restaurants. You will also find information including how much to tip and what time to have a meal. Meals are generally eaten at different times then here in America. The other links will include schedules for Trips (day trips and night trips), Sight Seeing in Florence, Nightlife, Shopping, and an FYI link which includes any information that does not fall into any of the topics we cover.


Marni has just spent the semester in Florence therefore she is in charge of collecting the content and the images for the site. Marni and Joon shall look over the pictures that she has taken from her personal trip and select the ones that accurately depict Florence. She will also consult other students/travelers that have been to Florence for their opinions on the website.


Since Joon has experience building websites, he is in charge of creating this one. He will take care of all the technical details that goes into making the site. He will follow principles that will be discussed later in the Methods. He will also take the information Marni has given him and decide where it should be placed and setup. The two will mutually help each other to create a professional looking website.

 

Section V: Method

A. Content Collection

1. Articles – The content written for the webpage is the most important aspect of the website. If the content is not useful for the audience we anticipated, there is absolutely no purpose in creating the web site. These articles will be written and categorized into different sections of the web site. While categorizing, the content will go through a rigorous proof reading process before we arrange it to the web site. For easy deployment of the articles to the web site, the articles will be written in an electronic document with any text editing program for copy and paste reasons.


2. Pictures – Photos are an absolute necessity for the content and the creation of the web site. Without photos people will not able to conceive the imagery of Florence that we plan to demonstrate. Also, we will not be able to create custom banners and other graphical elements that will specifically mark the essence and the culture of Florence without these images. Specific photos will be chosen to create graphical elements such as the graphical banner and navigation. Photos that will be chosen for the content will be also be categorized within the same section of matching article. Only Marni’s pictures taken from her trip will be used in the content to avoid legal problems. We will proceed with the refining of the photos as soon as they are chosen and categorized.

B. Web Site Creation


1. Story Boarding – In this early stage of web site creation, we determine what will be the main pages according how the contents are divided up into different sections.


2. Page Layout & Design Scheme – This is a phase where we determine the layout and the “look and feel” of the web site. In the layout phase we’ll decide where the navigation, content, and other web elements will be placed. We will follow the design principal where the placement of the web elements will be focused to complement the needs of the audience. In the design scheme phase, we will select the precise combination of fonts, colors and images that will reflect the essence and the culture of Florence.


3. Photo Refinery – Photos that will be used within web page content need to be refined. Professional looking images are an absolute necessity to reflect the caliber of the website. People often question the validity or quality of the contents when the website does not look professional. While photos will give a feel for the sceneries in Florence, it’s also important that the photos be optimized to load quickly for the audience with low bandwidth limit.


4. Custom Graphics
– Custom graphics define the “look and feel” of the web site. We do not want our web site to look dull so therefore, we need to create custom graphics for our banner, navigation, bullets and for any other web elements as necessary. Custom graphics also need to be optimized for quick loading while providing easy navigability. The graphics will be created using the main color scheme and other colors that will create harmony with the main colors of the site.


5. Final Template – The final template will be created using the page layout and the design scheme. Using the images from steps three and four mentioned above, graphical banners, navigation, and the rest of the web elements will be fitted on to the final template. The template will be applied to the whole web site for consistency and easy navigability.


6. Creation of the Web Site – With the creation of the final template, the main contents will be fitted in the individual pages of the website. Even though the template will help create consistency and easy navigability throughout the site, no two pages will be the same in terms of the content. Therefore we will make necessary changes to the individual pages as we see fit while maintaining consistency.

Principals that will apply to all pages:


• Width of the web page will be 770 pixels wide to support minimal resolution of 800x600 pixels. This resolution is the “common denominator” of what most people use with their monitor. This will prevent horizontal scrolling in the internet browser window.


• Consistent headers, footers, navigation, colors, and page layout will be applied throughout the whole web site.


• 3 click rule (Users commonly should not have to click no more than 3 times to navigate from one page to any other page on the web site).


• San-serif font that will look consistent on both a MAC and a PC will be used for the main content. (Arial and Verdana fonts usually look exactly the same in size and shape in both MACs and PCs).


• Additional CSS style will be applied in the HTML coding, so the content will be printed in 12pt size in Times New Roman while being displayed in San-serif font on the monitor.


• Images will be optimized to look professional while loading quickly over a minimum of 56K modem speed.

C. User Testing


For user testing, we’ll upload the web site on a web account available for public access. Then we’ll send the link to the web site to many people including friends, family and people who we are familiar with. To gauge how people feel about the web site, an online survey will be provided on the web.


We’ll be looking for answers to these basic questions:


Content:


1. Do the people find the content useful?


2. Are the contents well written and organized throughout the site?


3. Do the photos help reflect the imagery of the specific content?


4. Is there anything we can add to the content to enhance it?


Design:


1. Does the web site look professional?


2. Does the web site distinctly reflect the culture of Florence?


3. Is it easy to navigate around the whole site?


4. Is there anything to enhance the design or the layout of the site?

D. Completion of the Web Site


After the user test, we will review and analyze the feedback from the survey to make necessary changes to the web site. We will then let the people review our site again and if the people are pleased, that concludes our final project.



Marni Kleiman is a senior in the Martin J. Whitman School of Management with majors in Marketing and Supply Chain Management. Originally from Baltimore, she plans to move back there after graduation. A lover of traveling and books, she also loves to research topics on the internet that interest her…which lead to the creation of this website.

Joon-Hyun Park is from Queens, NY, and is a senior in Information Management and Technology. He loves to read computer reviews, and to help other people solve computer irks they might have. Currently he is working to refine his homepage, and is also helping to rebuild a website for a church. He likes to go fishing for relaxation.

 

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