digital practices


wordpress with pen Feb 10th 2023 WEEK 1
  1. Creating a successful website
  2. Options and considerations
  3. WordPress environment
session notes as PDF

Websites… how do they work? technical basics

site basics

Putting a site online

  • domain name
    • registration of name with the main registry
    • manages domain records
    • usually paid for per year
  • server / site hosting
    • hosting service with set resources
    • provides physical hard drive space & server functions
    • usually paid for per year or month

Our setup / your website

Provided by the University, accessible on campus or via VPN from outside (→ see CiCS instructions for details)

  • URL / website address ma-dms.sheffield.ac.uk/digp + your unique number
  • admin / WordPress login ma-dms.sheffield.ac.uk/digp##/wp-admin
→ view login info & your website address

What makes a good website? how we judge websites

questions to answer

  • what aspects contribute to an effective website?
  • what does a typical user expect when viewing website?
  • when can a website be considered successful?

points to consider

  • your own browsing habits & online activities
  • browsing habits of people you know and how those vary from your own
  • user expectations of common patterns
  • what aspects matter most: site content? ease of access/use? design and visual feel?
questionmarks filled with words

Where do the priorities lie? how to create successful websites

site priroities

asking the right questions:

  • what matters most to your users?
  • which content structure will fit your target group?
  • what are they likely to expect to find on your website?
  • how can you ensure a positive user experience?


  1. good content
  2. clear content structure
  3. site performance (e.g. loading speed)
  4. design for type, colour, layout & interaction

Content-out approach content as production guide

content out approach

Putting a site online

  1. static, self-hosted site
  2. free-hosted site
  3. CMS-driven site (can be self- or free-hosted)

Why does it matter?

  • you are responsible for your own data. Knowing how to backup your site (content/setup/design) is vital.
  • keep an eye on ownership. Knowing whether your uploaded content remains your own is important.

CMS & template-driven design separation of content & design

site priroities
Practically speaking...
content out approach content out approach content out approach

strengths of WordPress

  • Open Source and freedom of ownership
  • flexible solutions for different purposes and budgets
  • software up-to-date and secure
2 sides of site

Getting to know your WordPress setup

  • URL / website address ma-dms.sheffield.ac.uk/digp2020 + your unique number
  • admin / WordPress login ma-dms.sheffield.ac.uk/digp2020## /wp-admin

→ view login info & your website address

As mentioned, this is provided by the University, accessible on campus or via VPN from outside (→ see CiCS instructions for details) .

Workshop activity

To get familiar with your site's admin interface, let's go through the configuration of settings together.


NOTE: this a super-quick fly-by demo with no audio; it is intended to be paused as needed (hit SPACE bar or use controls).

dashboard / tabs / options

fullscreen editor view + options

WordPress admin

Have a look around your new website, check on the admin options and have a look at how the current setup works. As this is a 'content management system' any content added can easily be edited/deleted and updated at any point.

Explore the settings, make note of questions and have a play. It will be best if you are familiar with the options, and ask many questions for starters.

to-do list

  1. explore your site's admin
    log into your website's admin and familiarise yourself with the interface
    (see WP site info → for details)
  2. edit the default text
    check out the editing options and experiment
  3. change the name of the default category
    add new posts, save them as draft / publish to site

PROJECT PROGRESS ✭ BRIEF: initial ideas in development

write/choose your brief

Check on the Project Brief → information again and start to form your ideas by brainstorming and discussing topics with your friends, classmates - or me :) Don't be hasty in your decision of topic and please do talk to me about your ideas.

Bear in mind that your chosen topic and brief will need to be approved before you can begin the work. And if you choose to select one of the given briefs, you will need to confirm this by deadline, too.

to-do list

  1. brainstorm project ideas
    make notes, sketch out a mindmap and capture your initial ideas
  2. select one or two of your ideas and explore further
    expand your mindmapping to focus on the topics
  3. narrow down your ideas and ask for feedback
    via email or during our next workshop session, share your concept and get some input from others, your classmates and tutor.

*deadline 1:
confirmation of brief / submission of proposal WEEK 6 - MAR 17th 2023