A short rundown of commonly asked questions about this site.
[UPDATE: This somewhat flip response apparently wasn’t very convincing to some people. Suffice to say that there is in fact legal precedent that respects this kind of site. If you want to hear about the details, drop us an email.]
You can navigate through the site by using the nav bar on the left. (Look left . . . see the gray box?) It’s always there, on every page; and it’s always got the same links, so no matter where you are in the site, you’ll be able to get anywhere else.
Additional navigation is provided by a second nav bar, on the right of the page. (Look right . . . it’s the small gray box.) Sometimes, this nav bar will be empty — but in some sections of the site, it will aid you in further navigation. You can go to a category of the site with the left-side nav bar, then move around inside that category with the right-side one.
At any time on the site, no matter where you are, you can click on the header — that’s the image on the top of every page that says “Berkeley High School” — and you’ll be taken back to the front News page.
You can customize the appearance of the site by going to the Customization page, which will allow you to modify things for your own preferences.
On the front page of the site (the “News” page), frequent updates are made about current BHS events. It talks about news, but is written in the format of a journal or “diary” (more on this in the Overview). The system of the updates looks like this:
First, a headline in bold text. This is the title of the story.
Next, the date the article was posted. The day of the week (Monday, Wednesday, etc.) is shown, then the month, then the date and year, and finally the time.
Next is the body of the article.
Finally, there’s a link to the article comments. You can click on this to allow you to post a comment about the story, or read the comments others have posted; the number in parentheses indicated how many people have already commented. Immediately after the comments link, there’s a small circle (like this: ° ). If you click on the circle, you’ll be taken to a permanent location of the story. This can be useful because the front page is constantly being updated — if you want to bookmark an update to save it, you should bookmark the permanent link, because the front page is always changing.
In the right-hand side sub-navigation bar, you’ll find links to previous news posts, listed by week. At any given time, the previous four weeks will be shown. To view older posts, you’ll need to go to the Archives page.
Instead of tables, the layout of the site was created using Cascading Style Sheets, or CSS. This allows for easy maintenance, faster download speeds, a more interesting appearance, and most importantly, it’s the correct way to do it.
Sites using tables for layout (for example, the school’s official site) aren’t necessarily bad. But, according to the “rules” (the basic concepts of the web), they’re simply wrong. In the past, this sort of thing was necessary to make web pages that worked across more than a handful of browsers; now it’s not.
All or nearly all of the HTML and CSS used on this site validate. (A small amount might not, due to minor imperfections; none of these are enough to cause problems.) This is an important step toward making compliant, effective pages (though, again, many sites — like the school’s — don’t bother with validation). The validators used are the W3C’s. You can see the validation messages here (HTML) and here (CSS).
All, or nearly all of the pages also comply with modern standards for web accessibility. This is the effort to create web pages that are viewable to all users — for example, the visually impaired (the partially or totally blind, those with poor sight, or the color-blind). Many, many sites on the Web are put together in such a way that anybody who doesn’t fit into the image of a “normal” viewer (whether they’re disabled, or are merely on a slow Internet connection, or any number of other things) is going to have problems. Toward that end, most (though not all) pages on this site comply with Level AA Bobby testing. Bobby is an online accessibility validator. (The reason that not all of our pages are 100% Bobby-compliant is because Bobby can actually be rather stupid. It’s useful, but not perfect.) We admit that there are accessibility steps that we did not take for convenience and time-saving; this is part of life. We did our best.
Also toward the goal of accessibility, the site was created with a fairly minimalist, low-profile design. It’s not heavy on graphics, sound, or Flash animations. No advertising is used, for the reason that most advertising on the Web is mind-bogglingly annoying.
Everything we’ve just listed works well in all fairly recent browsers — Netscape 6 for Windows, Internet Explorer 5 and 6 for Windows, Opera 6 for Windows, Internet Explorer 5.1 for Macintosh, Opera 5 for Macintosh, Safari on the Macintosh, and Mozilla 1+ and its variants for all platforms.
. (No more. We gave up. Now they get a CSS-free design, which is readable but singularly unattractive.) In text-only browsers such as Lynx (or in other media, such as PDAs or screen readers), the site displays appropriately without style sheets. It does not look exactly the way it was designed on older browsers, such as Netscape 4 or Internet Explorer 4; however, after no small effort, it does look decent
And now we really are done talking about ourselves.