Office of Film & Literature Classification (2007)

Size: 23 Dreamweaver template pages, based on 2 layout templates

Government status: Government Agency

My professional status: employee at Shift

Website client: Office of Film & Literature Classification

Dates: October - November 2007 and August - September 2008

Categories: Front-end developer, Govt web standards tester, Writing for the web, CSS-based layout, e-govt/WCAG compliance, Dreamweaver templates, Government websites, Medium sites

Brief: to build a full set of Dreamweaver template pages for the updated Office of Film & Literature Classification website, which OFLC staff would be able to update in the future.

The OFLC is a government agency, so this information-rich site had to be fully accessible and e-government compliant.

My responsibilities included:

  • Creation of two standard page templates in CSS and XHTML 1.0 Transitional, which I then used to build 23 Dreamweaver templates covering index and content pages for every section of the site
  • Liaison with the client in order to achieve all their aims for the site, and to work through a range of technical and implementation issues with them
  • Integration of a number of existing elements from the old OFLC site, including the site search and Quick Menu
  • Hand-coding in HTML 4.01 Transitional to a very high level of accessibility, and following NZ e-government Guidelines
  • Inclusion of all possible accessibility elements, including skip links, access keys, alt tags, titles, summaries, captions and full accessibility coding for forms, with accessibility testing of all pages (level 1 mandatory, level 2 as many as possible, level 3 wherever practical)
  • Extensive testing of the site at all stages of the development process, ensuring complete consistency across the following browsers and platforms:
    • PC: Internet Explorer IE6, IE7; Firefox, Netscape, Opera
    • Mac: Firefox, Netscape, Opera, Safari
  • Ensuring that every page and stylesheet had been validated using the W3C Markup Validation Service and that it conformed to HTML 4.01 Transitional requirements
  • Development of print stylesheets sitewide
  • Client CMS training - showing them how to build the site from the Dreamweaver templates and then how to edit and add new pages
  • Additional client support in August-September 2008, when changes and tweaks were required. I spent a couple of days at the OFLC offices making the changes they required to the live site and working alongside their web editor to show them the best ways to develop the site in the future.

Building a site using Dreamweaver templates is always a fun challenge. An earlier incarnation of my own website used them to an extent, so that I could easily make changes sitewide. I think the trick to successful Dreamweaver templates (beyond the simple technical challenges) is to get inside the head of the client and figure out which parts of the template they will want to edit, while minimising any chance that the structural HTML can be accidentally altered or broken.

Other OFLC website projects