Free Download: Website Pre-Launch Checklist

October 26th, 2012
Pre-Launch Checklist

Pre-Launch Checklist

Our Website Pre-Launch Checklist will guide you as you gear up for your website’s big launch day, whether you’re debuting a new site or some exciting updates. The55-point list allows you to plan your big day in advance, so you can implement your launch strategy step-by-step without forgetting anything.

Print out a copy and keep it next to your computer so you can track your progress.

This Website Pre-Launch Checklist covers:

  • Polishing your copy so everything is consistent and clean
  • Tips for fixing the formatting so the site looks attractive
  • The most important technical quality assurance points
  • Accessibility musts for an inclusive website
  • A marketing planner so you can brag about your hard work
  • Support preparation so you’re prepared for any circumstance

Get ready for launch, and request your copy now!

[Photo credit: Launch of Discovery by DLR_de]

Thou Shalt Not Open Links in New Tabs

October 19th, 2012

Commandments of Web Design

Thou Shalt Not Confuse Visitors

Some sins feel good, but I don’t understand why making hyperlinks open in new windows is so seductive.

This act leaves so many website visitors befuddled (“The back button doesn’t work!”), or mistaken (“Pesky pop-up ad!”) that it should be avoided. Yet I spend more time than you can imagine explaining this.

That’s why I was glad to read in “Small but significant usability sins that websites should never commit” that this no-no tops the list there too:

Don’t open links in new browser tabs. Tabbed browsing is for advanced users. If you open a page in a new tab, most users will get lost, start clicking the back button, and then not understand why they can’t get back to where they started. Remember that they’re not focused on the chrome when they click a link, they’re focused on where they’re clicking. So it’s very easy to miss the fact that a new tab has opened.

The article is worth a read if you aim to put your online project on a righteous path.

[Photo credit: Observe the Commandments by Lawrence OP, on Flickr]

Guaranteed Way To Spark Learner Engagement

September 20th, 2012

Snag learners early if you want them to be engaged in your online course. And by “early,” I mean before your course even launches. Start with a welcome letter, and you’ll find it much easier to make a lasting connection with students.

Welcome Letters

Engage students early with welcome letters

Welcome letters help you set expectations and highlight anything important when people are most attentive. Use your welcome letter to give students a quick preview of the course, give them contact information, state prerequisites, and give them major deadlines they can copy into their calendars.

Paper or e-mail is fine, although e-mail is cheaper. Just make sure to send it a week or two before launch.

Here are a few welcome letters from other organizations that can help you draft your e-learning missive:

Welcome to Linn-Benton Community College eLearning Courses – Clearly spells out expectations

Cascadia Online Classes Welcome Letter – Simple, but gives helpful information

Gloucester County College eLearning Welcome Letters – A host of PDF welcome letters written by instructors

Why Send a Welcome Letter? – Spells out the anatomy of a welcome letter, from University of Alaska at Fairbanks

[Photo credit: Welcome to opensource.com/education by opensourceway, on Flickr]

Build Easier Course Schedules

August 24th, 2012

Course Schedule Builder

Build Easier Course Schedules

Course scheduling is notoriously fiddly. Picking begin and end dates is a pain, with all that module and activity scheduling. But to be fair to your learners, you’ve got to be as specific as possible.

The PDF Assignment Builder (PDF), developed by George Joeckel and his colleagues at Faculty Assistance Center for Teaching (FACT) at Utah State University, aims to make the chore a little easier. The tool lets you build a tidy PDF-formatted syllabus, which is also helpful when planning your course.

It’s easy enough to use, but here’s a video that shows step-by-step instructions.

Our $150 Public Display of Affection

August 7th, 2012

We at Talance have no problem with public displays of affection, which is why we’re laying it out there this month with our annual Customer Appreciation Month.

How’s it work?

Work with us on any new or existing development or design this month and mention the Customer Appreciation Month discount. We’ll automatically give you $150 off through August 2012.

Take it as a token of our love that it’s so darn easy.

With love,

Talance

Announcing Community Health Worker Online Training Website

July 27th, 2012

Health workers know we live in a world without enough parks. They know every neighborhood battles some residents’ misconceptions about medical treatments, or try to help those who smoke or drink too much.

This, along with shifts in healthcare reform, are why so many communities across the country have established community health worker programs. Sometimes called patient navigators, promotors or outreach workers, these people serve as a bridge between under-served populations in need of care and the health care, government and social service systems. Read Mass.gov’s definition of a community health worker.

Recognizing the need to train more individuals to be community health workers, Talance is proud to announce the launch of the Community Health Worker Online Training website.

The Community Health Worker (CHW) Online Training is designed to bring the benefits of an in-depth professional development program to healthcare systems and health departments without the cost associated with lengthy in-person training.

The initiative was formed through the collaboration of two key entities: the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and e-learning technology firm Talance. Mass DPH developed an open-source online curriculum targeted to patient navigators/community health workers with participation from Central Massachusetts AHEC, which Talance helped to host on ATutor, a leading open-source learning platform. We share a passion for bringing meaningful, cost-effective learning experiences to organizations in the healthcare sector.

The initiative includes custom developments for some of America’s leading health services organizations, including Washington State Department of Health and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, among others.

The website serves as an overview of this program and allows visitors to sign up for a demo of the e-learning program and also an upcoming webinar on how to pilot a community health worker program, led by co-author Marilyn Gardner, from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

See the website.

Talance Earns SDO Certification as Woman-Owned Business

July 13th, 2012

celebration

Talance Earns SDO Certification as Woman-Owned Business

I’m very pleased to announce that our firm Talance, which specializes in developing e-learning systems and websites for its clients, has received certification as a Woman-Owned Business by the Supplier Diversity Office (SDO), an agency within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts helping promote the development of business enterprises and non-profit organizations owned and operated by minorities or women.

Certification is granted after submitting to a meticulous process including an in-depth review of the business and site inspection. The certification process is designed to confirm the business is at least 51% owned, operated and controlled by a woman or women.

What does this mean? First off, it means we’re in an elite group. It’s not easy to receive this certification, and it’s also not easy to be a woman-owned business in the technology world. According to a recent survey from Harvey Nash, just 9% of U.S. chief of information officers are female. So really, we’re proud to be among this tiny sliver.

It also means we have a better way to connect with forward-thinking organizations that value diversity and achievement. You can feel good about tipping the scales toward the ladies. And you can

But that’s not all! Massachusetts has a program called the Supplier Diversity Program (SDP), which gives a little financial bump to state-based organizations that contract with women-owned businesses. That means that every dollar our clients spend on work with Talance goes further, because they’ll receive credit from the state.

It’s not often you can feel good about helping a disadvantaged business AND get a sweetener from the state. We hope you’ll be as excited as we are about our new certification.

[Image: stock.xchng user - a_glitch]

If You Had To Choose 3 Social Networking Buttons

May 18th, 2012

Anyone who’s choosing a cupcake flavor, in the market for a new bathroom tap or deciding which social networking buttons to use on their site knows the burden of too much choice. We poor humans melt down when it comes to laundry lists. It’s the analysis paralysis that comes from too many possibilities.

Instead of overwhelming your blog or website visitors with every single stinking social networking icon available–and zero clicks–pick three. Here’s how you might mix and match for your audience.

Standard Vanilla Audience

Twitter, Facebook, Google+

twitter     facebook     google+

Corporate/Business Audience

LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+

linkedin     google+    twitter

Image-Heavy Content

Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter

pinterest     facebook     twitter

Consumer-Focused Product

StumbleUpon, Pinterest, Facebook

    pinterest     facebook

Try them out. If you’re not getting clicks on one button, drop it. Try another in its place or leave it out altogether

More homepage clicks = strong call to action

May 10th, 2012

Want to double the number of people who click on something when they go to your homepage? Here are six steps for getting more people to click, from Bob Hebeisen’s presentation on SlideShare, who says:

“With a few clever design modifications I doubled the effectiveness of their original landing page. That means for the same media expenditure they are now driving twice as many leads!”

Get simple advice for website redesigns you can start using right away

May 4th, 2012

If your website looks like it was beat with the ugly stick, have hope. Download our guide Upgrading to a Drupal CMS for step-by-step instructions on how to guide your website from outdated to fabulous:

  • How to evaluate your existing website content
  • How to survey your visitors to see what they want and need
  • How to perform a needs assessment
  • How to create measurable goals
  • How to write helpful RFPs
  • How to choose a web designer
  • How to make smart staffing decisions

… plus templates and cheat sheets for making the whole process easier. Don’t use Drupal? No worries. It’s useful for any kind of website redesign.

Oh, did I mention there’s no cost?

Check it out now by requesting your download: Click here.