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SIWS Design Recommendations

The below recommendations are a distillations of the best and most appropriate guidelines used for web design, edutainment sites, and virtual learning environments.

Element Recommendation
Target Audience Elementary level children in grades first through fifth. The page must appeal to six year olds all the way up to eleven year olds.
Template - Universal Usability The design is a template from www.freecsstemplates.org. The design is simple, functional, and css driven. The template also uses muted colors to draw the user's eye to the body of the page. The user visually understands the heirarcy of importance. Fish are a loose theme but is not overwhelming. The theme does not influence any descision making processes in the navigation (Shaikh, Chaparro, Nelson, Joshi, 2005)
Page Hierarchy Present as the page opens in the top menu and side menus. The lower the link falls on the page, the less critical the link is to the user. Younger, inexperienced mousers do not intuitively understand the scroll vertical and horizontal scroll bars. By keep all critical links at the top of the page, children will be able to orient their surfing quickly.
Font Families Include Comic Sans, Verdana, Arial, and san-serif fonts. As suggested by Sheedy, Subbaram, Manoj, Zimmerman, Aaron, and Hayes, san-serif fonts are the easiest to view on a web page. The font size changes as the age level changes. Children find larger font easier to read (Bernard, Mills, Frank, McKown, 2001).
Links Separate and amply spaced to minimize mousing error. The previous version of TR relied on drop down menus that the younger children had a difficult time navigating.
Content Placed on the page to minimize vertical scrolling. The css locks the horizontal view within a 770 pixel screen. If lengthy text is needed, the content will remain on the page but flow to a subsequent page (Arseneault and Robert, 2003)
Images Have altnernate text. Images are present to enhance the learning expereince and have a reason to be present. Images are medium quality gifs, jpgs, or pngs.
Sound Sound is included on pages where the youngest users navigate. The sound may be embedded into the page through as an mp3 or read through an external text to speech device.