Uploading And Testing Your Web Portfolio Site

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You have come a long way in your journey; the end is near, and it is time to take your Web portfolio site and present it to the world. This stage is a critical one. If the Web portfolio does not make it to the Internet, it loses its portability and fails as an on-demand communication. In this web design lesson we will explore the steps needed in purchasing a domain name for your Web portfolio, securing a host and Web space, and uploading site files using FTP. We will also cover how to set up a site in Dreamweaver so the uploading and future edits are easy. Finally in the web design lesson, we discuss usability heuristics and how they can be used to measure the effectiveness of the Web portfolio. We review some of the usability theories provided by Nielsen and Molich and adapt them to fit a model for the Web portfolio.

What You Need to Put Your Portfolio on the Web

Hosts and ISPs

To simply get access to the World Wide Web from your home or office, you need to have an Internet Service Provider (ISP). You pay the Internet service provider for access to the Internet and they provide you with the connection you need to be wired to the Internet. The Internet service provider may give you access to the Web using a variety of methods.

Each ISP charges you to use one method of getting on the Internet. This method is a hardware telecommunications channel that is paid by the user for access to a host server. Today, people get onto the Internet by using dial up, DSL (digital satellite line), cable modem, or dedicated T line. Geography dictates availability of different telecommunications channel’s for Web access. Most metropolitan areas provide a choice of any of the channels listed earlier. Each service varies with location and cost.

Speeds also vary. More remote areas may only have dial up access using standard telephone connections at 56 kb per second while metropolitan area Web users will have speeds from 1 MB per second on average from DSL to 1.5 MB and faster from cable modem connections. Access time is not only important when surfing the Web but also when you are uploading files or downloading files from the Internet.

The Structure of the World Wide Web and Hosts The world wide Web consists of millions of computers that are interconnected over a distributed network. The population of computers is broken down into two groups: clients and servers. All servers on the Web can be hit by any client browsing the Web (Arpajian, 1996).

This means that your Web portfolio needs a server to r eside on so that clients can hit your Web portfolio site or any Web site. That’s where hosts come in. Slice that we outlined earlier as hosts but are really specialized for Web portfolios. A true most provides a Web-based control panel which allows more extensive site manipulation and many technical templated features.

These features may include SQL Server capabilities, chat rooms or message boards, hit counters, CGI scripts, and customized FTP settings for uploading files and securing folders. All hosts will provide server space for you to put your Web site up on the World Wide Web. But, reliability, price, and tools set these hosts apart from each other. You should do some investigation before choosing your host. Web host pricing is similar to Web portfolio site space. Hosting space is typically more expensive because of the toolset and the open flexibility.

Again, some hosts provide low pricing for space, but for large amounts of server space for your site (over 1GB) costs are in the hundreds of dollars a year range. Smaller space (50-500 MB) is typically well under $100 per month. A host will give you FTP access to upload your files to their server. Once you have a host, you need to have a domain name for the site if the host does not provide one. One solution to this is to purchase your own unique domain name.

Getting your portfolio up on the Web requires some steps. You will need a URL address, Web space, and an FTP program to upload your files to the host server. After the Web site is loaded on the host server you will need to test the site. Now let’s look at each of these more closely. You need to think about the name, or the URL of your Web portfolio site. You can go about this several ways. First, and most expensively, you can secure your own domain name. This means that you can have your own www.yourname.com. To get your own unique domain name you need to register the domain with a registrar.

A domain name is a registered Internet address. Domains fit under different dot extensions. For example domains can be .com, .org, .biz, .cc, .net, .name, and .info for starters. There are more domain extensions available that correspond to countries such as .uk. Choosing a domain name can be a frustrating process if you do not have some general ideas as to what you want the Web address to be. That is because securing a domain name requires time, energy, creativity, and money.

Finding the right domain name requires luck as well as creativity. Domain names are gobbled up every minute by Webmasters and entrepreneurs. The possibilities that all versions of your surname are taken is a good one. This is often the case if your r name is common. To search available domain names, visit a registrar. Web registrars include network solutions.com, godaddy.com, and twocow.com. At these sites, you can search available domain names with most dot extensions. The prices for domains vary from registrar to registrar. Godaddy.com seems to be one of the least expensive registrars with domains costing around $7 or $8 per year. If the domain name you’re looking for is not available, the Web registrars give you a listing of available names.

If the name you want is not available, for example your surname is taken; there are other alternatives such as dedicated Web portfolio sites which provide subdomains and subdirectories. A subdomain is a Web address that has a name, then a dot, and then a URL. An example would be mikesmith.portfolio village.com. Subdomains are effec- tive because they are direct Web sites that are typically easy to remember because they are connected to an existing easy to remember Web address. Another advantage to using a subdomain is price. Typically, subdomains cost around $10 to $15, a one-time fee.

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