National Center for Jewish Policy Studies Launch

Every website launch is a celebration, and today we’re tipping our glasses to the brand new National Center for Jewish Policy Studies (NCJPS) website.

The NCJPS is a nonpartisan think-tank publishes on topics of concern to the Jewish community, including synagogues in Jewish life, vouchers for religious schools and interfaith marriage. The website is a place for supporters to learn about research, consultations, conferences and scholarly publications.

Talance is proud to help communicate this organization’s mission. Ladies and gentlemen, introducing to the new National Center for Jewish Policy Studies website.

Learn More About ATutor and LMSs

Come learn about ATutor, Blackboard and other learning management systems during a panel discussion at the Boston chapter of the American Society for Training & Development. The meeting is Jan. 18, 2011, from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. in Newton, MA.

Here’s the overview from the ASTD:

The first part [of the meeting] is Tech Talk, featuring Shawn Stiles, providing an overview of Lectora. In this presentation, Shawn will discuss Lectora, a popular development tool. His presentation will be an overview of the product including costs, competitors, why he likes this product as well as some pros and cons. He’ll also cover a brief how-to demonstration and end by showing the final product, live and on-line.

The second part of the evening will be an interactive panel discussion with several LMS expert, sharing and comparing their insights on specific LMS tools. LMS experts will be covering discussions on products from (Shannon Courtney), Blackboard (David Rosenbaum), ATutor (Monique Cuvelier) as well as others.

Location: Rebecca’s Cafe 275 Grove Street, Auburndale, MA 02459, 617-969-3382. For those who have not been to this Rebecca’s location, it is very easy to miss as you will not see a sign for Rebecca’s from the street. 275 Grove St. is the Riverside Office Park, right next to the Riverside MBTA train and bus stop. Rebecca’s is located at the back of the building, by the parking garage.

See you there!

Definitive Website Pre-Launch Checklist

Websites can have as many moving parts as a jumbo jet, so it’s easy to lose track of something. That’s why checklists abound here at Talance HQ. They’re one of the best ways we know to make sure we don’t forget something while juggling all the building, writing and planning pieces. We know that when it comes time to launch, it’s particularly easy to forget something important.

Below is a list of top items that can make the launch of any website easier and more organized. We’ll keep adding if we think of anything new. Did we forget something? Add it in the comments, and we’ll update.

Also check out our 9-point SEO checklist to help you show up at the top of those search engine results.

[This appeared in our January newsletter. Wanna subscribe?]


  • Spelling correct on every page
  • Check for typos
  • All pages reviewed and accounted for
  • Outdated content removed
  • Placeholder content removed
  • Check for consistency in writing voice, tone and style (including first person vs. third person, singular and plural, eccentric capitalizations and words like “website” vs. “web site”)
  • Non-spelling errors, such as old addresses, phone numbers, former employees, etc., corrected
  • Stylistic inconsistencies fixed
  • Terms of use updated
  • Copyright updated
  • Privacy policy updated
  • Contact information accessible on every page
  • All hidden copy checked (error messages, JavaScript functions, transcriptions)
  • Jargon removed
  • Content quality evaluated


  • Most important info listed at the top of the page
  • Appropriate use of bold and bullets for easy scanning
  • No written text within images
  • Colors and typefaces consistent on every page
  • Each page format uniform
  • Images resized and consistent
  • Menus not overloaded with too many items
  • H tags used for headlines rather than bolds or size increases

Technical Quality Assurance

  • Internal and external hyperlinks work
  • Pages checked against WCAG guidelines
  • Private data secure (passwords, contact info, etc.)
  • Usability testing complete
  • Sitemap updated
  • Everything works
  • Important pages print OK
  • All old URLs point to new URLs


  • “Alt” attributes used for all descriptive images
  • Pages accessible
  • High contrast color used everywhere
  • Color and size used for critical information
  • Tested on most common browsers
  • Tested on mobile devices


  • PR releases written
  • Social media launch campaign planned
  • Off-line promotion planned
  • Friends, colleagues notified
  • E-newsletter notification written and ready to send
  • Business cards, letterhead, envelopes and other printed material updated with new address
  • Voice mail updated with new address
  • Email signature updated with notification about launch
  • Link submitted to directories and search engines
  • Ads created
  • Blog entries planned or written
  • Marketing plan revised
  • SEO checklist completed


  • Training completed
  • Extra help on website support procured
  • User feedback surveys written
  • Maintenance and update schedule created
  • Plan established in case of heavy traffic
  • Databases set to backup in case of roll-back

Talance After 10 Years

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2001 to 2011 and Beyond

When I was a kid, I thought the relativity of time had something to do with how it sometimes flew by, and other times it crept along (like my trip to Disneyland at 10 vs. my entire school education grades K-12). I’m hardly any brighter about physics now, but it still seems the last 10 years have passed by both in a blur, and also slow enough for a tremendous amount to have happened.

It was just after New Year’s Day in 2001 that we officially launched Talance, handling software development, writing copy and managing projects. Every year has been absolutely packed, but we’ve been marching steadily toward our goal of being a friendly, dependable technical resource for nonprofits and government agencies.

I’m happy to say that on the days when I have time to look up, I feel like we’re doing it. We’ve started new initiatives (print design), built up some of our cornerstones (e-learning and web development) and meet clients that feel more like friends. We’re working together to evolve in a space that’s changing so fast it’ll give you whiplash if you watch (ahem, social media).

Rather than making this a 10-year retrospective, I’d like to look forward. It’s much more useful to think about where we’ll be 10 years from today rather than the other way around. Where’s the progress in that? I don’t know what the technological landscape will look like (did anyone expect to be here back in 2000?), so we’ll bundle up our collective experience and move forward on a clear open road, equipped for twists and turns.

I know that wherever we are, it’ll be built on a foundation of expertise and helpfulness. Thanks to the clients who work with us and thanks to all the developers, designers, testers, writers and all other people who have helped make Talance what it is.

Here’s to the next decade.

Monique Cuvelier
Talance, Inc.