Web Site Redesign
When a school's student-facing web site is redesigned, the following constraints should be followed by web developers for interoperability with RealEd:
- The web site is conceptually split between RealEd pages, which access the remote RealEd database in real time to display and update student and course information, and non-RealEd pages, which handle all other site functions. The new web site should not substantially change the content layout or process flow of RealEd pages that access student information, including the shopping cart, account creation, login, payment, receipt, enrollment history, and online content delivery pages.
- The new web site may, and in many cases should, substantially change the content layout and process flow of all other pages, including non-RealEd pages and RealEd course catalog pages.
- The new layout must accommodate the widest RealEd page, typically the My Classes page or the SCORM content page, either by making the master template sufficiently wide or by providing an alternative template for wide pages. The SCORM content page width varies according to the size of the school's online course content.
- The new layout should specify exactly where the following RealEd elements
go on every page, including non-RealEd pages:
- The Login link, unless the login form is present on each page.
- The email/password login inputs, invalid-login error message, and forgot-password/new-student links, if the login form is present on each page.
- The persistent "Welcome, user" message.
- The My Classes, My Account, Shopping Cart, optional Order History, and Logout links.
- The Bookstore link, if online bookstore sales are desired.
- The affiliate logo, if affiliate referral tracking is desired.
- The affiliate portal Home, Detail, Reports, Links, Settings, and Logout links, if affiliate referral tracking is desired.
The first four sets of elements in the above list should be displayed or hidden according to whether student is logged in, as indicated by the presence or absence of cookie "user".
- Mockups of the following RealEd pages may optionally be supplied by the
- My Classes
- My Account
- Shopping Cart
If supplied, these mockups will be used by RealEd staff to apply look-and-feel changes to similar RealEd pages.
- PHP must be available on the web server with support for outbound SSL connections to port 59822, e.g. fsockopen("ssl://126.96.36.199", 59822). PHP configuration variables display_errors and magic_quotes_gpc must both be set to Off.
- Secure HTTP (i.e. https:// URLs) must be available on the web server.
- SFTP, FTP, FTPS, or SSH access must be available for uploading support and data files to the web server.
- If the new web site is WordPress-based, then an administrative should be made available to RealEd staff for loading the RealEd plugin and setting up the RealEd template page. RealEd staff can assist with conditionally-visible menu items, affiliate logos, dynamic shopping cart counts, and other WordPress customizations as needed.
- Navigation elements should not be implemented in Flash.
Best practice is to incorporate the above constraints during the initial phases of redesign, with particular attention to the first two constraints. In our experience, postponement until later phases results in cumbersome web sites and/or major last-minute re-redesign.
After the new web site design is launched, RealEd staff must be notified whenever the web layout is changed, so that the same modifications can be applied to the RealEd-backed course catalog, shopping cart, and course content pages.