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Designing Two Nonprofit Web Sites on Less Than $350 US per Year Each

Carl Stieren and Zbigniew (Paul) Rachniowski

Simware, Inc.

2 Gurdwara Rd.

Ottawa, Ontario K2E 1A2 Canada

Email: stieren@simware.com; rachniow@simware.com

Abstract

What do you need to design a World Wide Web site for a nonprofit organization? If you have less than $350 U.S. per year, you need knowledgeable, dedicated volunteers with HTML and design skills, and their own computers. Then you can weave the Web to fit both the readers' needs and the creators' skills. To create content and a workable organization, follow four key rules: 1) know the needs of your potential readers, 2) select a well-defined content area, 3) use available (or affordable) technology, and 4) set up a mechanism for approval, organization and change. Two Ottawa-based Web sites met these rules in different ways. Peaceweb, the World Wide Web page on Quaker peace and social concerns, set out rules for approval, organization and change first. PoloniaNet, the Polish-Canadian Web site, staked out a well-defined content area first. Each group had a strong sense of identity and a common vision. While each of the two groups had multitalented individuals, other nonprofits may need different persons to fill each of the four roles described by Joel Snyder [2]: architect, graphics designer, programmer, and content provider.

Permission to make digital/hard copy of all or part of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage, the copyright notice, the title of the publication and its date appear, and notice is given that copying is by permission of ACM, Inc. To copy otherwise, to republish, to post on servers or to redistribute to lists, requires prior specific permission and/or a fee.

DOC 96-10/96 Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, U.S.A.

1996 ACM

Introduction

In the space of one year or less, two nonprofit World Wide Web sites, Peaceweb and PoloniaNet, were created, revised and evaluated by the authors of this paper and their friends. Peaceweb is a Web home page for the Ottawa Quaker meeting and PoloniaNet is a Web site for the Polish-Canadian community in Ottawa. We have matched our experience with these two sites against some theories of Web design and tested them. We also tested our initial assumptions about our Web sites with online questionnaires, using the forms tags available in HTML 2.0. The questionnaires ran on each site from mid-June to mid-July, 1996.

Theory

General media rules

To devise a general theory of Web page creation, we set down these four general rules from previous media experience:

Bulletknow the needs of your potential readers (don't write what people don't want to read)

Bulletselect a well-defined content area (why compete with The New York Times or The Utne Reader?)

Bulletuse available (or affordable) technology (maybe the answer to "Java, anyone?" is "No, thanks!")

Bulletset up a mechanism for approval, organization and change (no six-hour editorial meetings!)

William Horton et al, [1] listed "Seven Steps to Structural Happiness" which are in agreement with the general media rules. But the Web has some features that are unique. To take advantage of these unique features, you need to fill four roles when creating Web site: architect, graphics designer, programmer and content provider, according to Joel Snyder [2].

Motivating Factors

There were special motivating factors for starting each Web site.

Peaceweb only happened because of the following:

Bulletlack of response to a printed leaflet about Prisoners' Sunday in November, 1994

Bulletprior knowledge of HTML by Carl Stieren at Simware, Inc.

Bulletinexpensive Internet accounts, with space for Web pages, in Ottawa

Bulleta high-tech Quaker meeting, with 50% of its key members online with Email

PoloniaNet only happened because of the following:

Bulleta Web-savvy team, eager to explore the new media, was producing the Polish Review TV program for the Rogers' Community Channel

Bulleta strong need among the first generation of immigrants to maintain a link with their roots and culture in a visible way

Bulleta large number of Polish-speaking hi-tech professionals with Internet access supported the idea

Peaceweb's Story

Creation and Evolution

After its launch on April 17, 1995, Peaceweb evolved over the course of a year to meet changing needs and sometimes unexpected results.

Content and Design

What would a Quaker Web site look like? There were no Quaker Web pages with which to compare at the start of 1995. The were only magazines, software company Web sites, and only one or two peace education sites.

What content would Peaceweb provide? There are as many opinions on how to achieve peace and justice as there are individual Quakers. Carl proposed the following to the Peace and Social Concerns Committee of the Ottawa Monthly Meeting:

Bulletshort quotations from widely respected Quakers explaining why Friends work for peace and social concerns.

Bulletcapsule biographies of Ottawa Quakers who had done something significant for peace or another social concern

Bulletsuggestions for action and links to other Web sites

Bulletprofiles of peace and justice organizations founded by Ottawa Quakers

The design of Peaceweb would follow the organization of the content. The design required only a few images, usually in the Roots section. The sketch of the Ottawa Quaker meeting house as it appears on its stationery became the logo. It was on Peaceweb's first home page, and then was moved to the main page of each topic. Under the logo was a live outline, a sort of table of contents with links on the second level of headings.

Peaceweb used the logo of every organization profiled as an illustration. Later, as issues of different topics were added, Carl created a button for each one on the main page, as follows:

Peaceweb Home Page

The photos of Quakers profiled were taken from the bulletin board in the foyers, where volunteer Meeting photographers Vern Mullen and Koozma Tarasoff had put photos of every member and regular attender.

Definition of Success

In proposing Peaceweb, Carl defined success as the following:

BulletMore than 200 different individuals visiting the first year

BulletAbout 50 per cent non-Quaker visitors (the Quakers would be easy to attract)

In proposing Peaceweb, Carl made the following working assumptions, or expectations:

BulletAlmost 50 per cent of those visiting Peaceweb would be staff, students or faculty of colleges and universities

BulletNo single browser type could be assumed to predominate

BulletAccess speeds of visitors would be all across the scale

Tools

Peaceweb used easily available tools, and the more expensive ones such as Micrografx Designer, were not absolutely necessary. Corel Draw 4.0 was necessary for making buttons, however, because shareware tools could not create buttons in .GIF format with both sharply defined text and graphics.

Peaceweb's Web Creation Software

Task: Tool Cost
Mark up text HTML Edit 1.0 Beta copy
Scan photos a Win 95 tool at PC Perfect, Inc., Ottawa $7 Can. per photo
Convert .BMP to .GIF Paint Shop Pro™ 3.11 $69 U.S.
Reduce .GIF, .BMP files Micrografx Designer™ 4.1 $100 to $600 U.S.
Create small icons CorelDRAW™ 4.0 $109 Can.
Upload files to Web server WS_FTP™ $37.50 U.S.

Organization, Approval and Feedback

How would Peaceweb get approval? Carl took the proposal to the Peace and Social Concerns Committee of which he was Clerk (Chair). Carl proposed to pay half of a $32-a-month Web account, which included space for a home page, at Internet Access, Inc., a local service provider that was a bit more businesslike than the others. The committee approved.

Such a major decision also had to come before the Monthly Meeting for Business. Since any new course of action can be stopped if a single Friend does not agree, But of the 16 Friends at the Monthly Meeting, there were eight who had at least Email addresses. Peaceweb was approved for a two-month trial period. If Friends were satisfied with the page, and if there was enough response, it would be extended.

At first Carl asked members of the committee to write different short articles. There were no volunteers. There were volunteers for copy editors, however, so he wrote and the other members edited.

For the Meeting's approval, Carl produced a paper version of each of the first two issues and took it to Monthly Meeting for Business. This proved to be too time consuming, although it did catch some typographical errors. The only objections to content were one phrase describing William Penn as an aristocrat, and question, "Why didn't you include Organization X in your profiles of peace organizations?"

To ease the strain on the Meeting for Business, Carl proposed the following organizational roles, corresponding roughly to Editor, Editorial Board and Publisher:

Peaceweb Production Roles

Role Filled by: Duties
Co-ordinator: Editor & Webmaster Proposes & assigns articles
Committee: Peace and Social Concerns Committee Edits copy, approves run sheet
Publisher: Ottawa Monthly Meeting Approves topics for issues

Feedback and Change Mechanism

The visitors book was Peaceweb's main method of getting user feedback, though Carl also posted a message on QUAKER-P and QUAKER-L asking readers of to Email their preferences for the next topics. The visitors book was a big hit, with more than 200 Email messages in the first year (greater than the number of visitors Carl had defined as success).

Life Cycle Crises

First, Carl felt it necessary to step down as Clerk of Peace and Social Concerns Committee. It was too hard to be impartial toward Peaceweb when there were other projects of the Committee just as worthy or more so. Also, Peaceweb took too much time. Peggy Land took over as Clerk, and this separation of duties helped the committee and Peaceweb. By summer, 1996, Peggy had been started working with the Quaker Peacemakers committee and with Peaceweb to have an issue on Canada and Quebec: Canadian Unity vs. Quebec Sovereignty. Secondly, there was no reason to think Peaceweb would be any different from any other media outlet when it came to ordinary media crises. A future conflict between the Peaceweb Co-ordinator and the Monthly Meeting was certainly possible. Such a conflict could arise over whether or not to publish a particular article or an issue on a certain topic. After some speculation, the real crises happened. The first one was expected; the second came out of the blue.

Crisis 1: Angry Email

Out of nearly 200 Email messages in our first year, Peaceweb had received only two angry messages. This contrasts strikingly to the 1 angry message in 20 or so on QUAKER-L. One message was from a non-Quaker who asked how Peaceweb could possibly support the United Nations when it had been responsible for so many wars? Good point. Peaceweb printed it. The second was from a Native Person in the U.S., who criticized Peaceweb for what she perceived as crashing a Native Meeting (the Sacred Assembly in Hull, Quebec). She also objected to a Peaceweb writer saying his "tribe" was part Cree, part Russian, and part Scots. Peaceweb replied to each letter, and printed both.

Crisis 2: Vandalism

On February 1, 1996, someone vandalized the main page of Peaceweb, putting obscenities and derisive comments in place of the text menu items and the title of the home page. The obscenities were up for four days, because Carl had not checked the page in that time. Once he checked it, he replaced the page in minutes, and published an explanation on QUAKER-P and QUAKER-L. Peaceweb's Internet service provider traced the vandals to the account of a high school in Ottawa, and the principal of the high school apologized. She also promised to let Carl talk to the students about the peaceful uses of the Internet (because of schedule problems, this never happened). Carl questioned the Internet service provider about security. Such vandalism is quite easy on a non-secure server of an Internet service provider from another subscriber's account. Peaceweb's Internet service providers promised to beef up security. Carl began checking Peaceweb at least once every day.

PoloniaNet's Story

Creation and Evolution

PoloniaNet could be called a grass-roots movement. It was more a spontaneous manifestation of the needs of the community and the sense of excitement about the Internet phenomenon, than a structured effort aiming at achieving pre-defined goals.

PoloniaNet started brewing some time in November. Peter Kuciak, the producer of Polish Review Community TV show, has been distributing 'Polish Review Online' since early summer via Email. This was originally intended to fill a gap during the summer (community TV shows are not produced during July and August), and to augment the 30-minute program during the rest of the year. Peter decided to ask the recipients of 'Polish Review Online' their opinion regarding setting up a web site. He already had a mailing list of interested individuals. Peter also searched National Capital FreeNet's mailing directory for Polish sounding names (*ski was one of the obvious search patterns). An overwhelming majority of recipients supported the idea. Another element of the puzzle was an Internet provider. Here too, PoloniaNet was lucky. Trytel Internet, Inc. operating in Ottawa is owned by two Polish-Canadian entrepreneurs: Pawel Krakowiak and Wojtek Tryc. They offered to host PoloniaNet free of charge, except reimbursement of costs involved in setting up a domain, in exchange for a share of future advertising revenue, which should cover their and ours operating expenses. The only thing left to do was to make it happen!

Two members of the Polish Review team: Peter Kuciak (producer) and Margaret Rachniowski (host) were joined by Zbigniew Rachniowski and Artur Oldak. They met several times to brainstorm the basic design of the site. This was when the major content areas and the page template were decided. Another thing that was needed was a name and a logo to reflect the identity of this Polish-Canadian site. The name was chosen rather quickly; Polonia means 'Polish Community Abroad', hence PoloniaNet means 'Polish Community Abroad on the Internet'. The logo took more time. While Peter went on to submit an application to register the PoloniaNet domain, Zbigniew started putting his vision of the logo down on screen (it wasn't quite a paperless design process). The logo, the Polish White Eagle, complete with a crown, holding a Canadian flag in his wing, achieved its final shape some time around Christmas. At this time, the launch date was set for January 29, during the next Polish Review show. There was no time to waste because the plan was quite aggressive, even though the initial offering was to be only in the Polish language.

The major content areas were the following:

Media

Polish Community

Polish Embassy

Business Connection

Buy/Sell/Trade

Discussion Forum

Event Calendar

Hot Links

PoloniaNet Services

Each of the areas was selected after careful consideration.

Media was to be one of the major content areas drawing repeat visitors. It was to contain these offerings:

Polish Review TV show

PolOtt weekly radio show

Polonika monthly magazine

News service of the Polish Ministry of External Affairs (updated daily, supplied courtesy of the Polish Embassy in Ottawa)

Monthly HTML Magazine 'Z Ukosa' by Szymon Wlodarski

The Polish Embassy wanted to pioneer an online presence among Polish consular offices and provided useful information on visas, passports, duty and currency regulations, as well as some interesting materials such as articles on the 250th Anniversary of Tadeusz Kosciuszko, or the 200th Anniversary of the May 3rd Constitution.

Business Connection was meant to offer a chance for the Polish businesses in the area to reach their target audience and try out the Internet medium. It also provided a way to recover the expenses related to running the Web site through advertising revenue.

Polish Community was to showcase the multitude of the organizations and clubs of the Polish-Canadian community in Ottawa. Buy/Sell/Trade, Discussion Forum, Event Calendar and Hot Links rounded up the content offering.

Before work on creating the pages began, the team adopted a template for all Web pages. This template would maintain a uniform appearance, even if different people created the pages.

Bulletthe header contains PoloniaNet logo and an advertising GIF

Bulletthe footer contains standard buttons: home, previous, Email, about, copyright statement and a small logo of PoloniaNet's sponsor Trytel Inc.

Including the logo and standard buttons was to identify any page as being part of PoloniaNet site to people jumping to a selected page (presumably from search engines). The logo and the buttons would also give visitors a means of exploring the rest of the site. As a gesture to the silent majority of Internet users without a direct T-1 connection, it was decided to keep the total size of each page, including its graphics elements to no more than 35 KB. This does not include the static elements such as logo or background texture, but does include graphics elements unique to a page.

For the most part, the design survived the reality check of implementation. One notable change was the addition of date/version stamp to the footer, and of brief comments for each revision to the header. This modification, made only a few days after launch date, eased the difficulty of parallel development of Web pages and prevented team members from overwriting each other's updates. As the site grew, a What's New category was added. It really tells the story of how www.PoloniaNet.com grew and evolved. As it developed, PoloniaNet:

Bulletstarted hosting a mirror of Polish Connections - Boleslaw Dworzak's exhaustive library of links on Poland and Polish subjects

Bulletsaid farewell to 'Z Ukosa' E-Zine, which set up its own site

Bulletlaunched an English version of PoloniaNet in mid-May

The English version was a major effort, but was extremely important because it reached an important part of the prospective audience. About 50% of the 14,000 people of Polish origin in the Ottawa area no longer speak the Polish language. An English version would also showcase the PoloniaNet community to the millions of Internet users around the world.

The upcoming additions to PoloniaNet are:

a Java implementation of the Polish strategic board game - Klocki (blocks)

a new section prepared by the students of CERAS (Central East European and Russian Studies) at Carleton University in Ottawa

a site map

a section on researching your family tree overseas

Tools

PoloniaNet had no major problems with tools. Peter Kuciak operates a part-time business Craz Software, and had a significant pool of software and hardware at his disposal. Zbigniew and Margaret also operate a business - Envisage Technologies, and they too had the tools needed to design graphics, and scan and process images.

Organization, Approval and Feedback

PoloniaNet operates on consensus among its authors, which is usually achieved through an exchange of Email messages, or over the telephone. The team also meets on a social basis and can't help but discuss any issues that may arise. This seems to work exceptionally well, and is probably the result of having worked together in the past on Polish Review.

Feedback and Change Mechanism

Having its own domain name, the team has access to an exhaustive log file showing all activity on PoloniaNet. The authors and architects of PoloniaNet are accumulating a history of log files since mid-April and is planning to use the information form the logs to analyze browsing patterns and preferences of PoloniaNet's audience. This will be a valuable source of guidance where to invest future efforts to meet the expectations of visitors to the site.

Another way of gathering feedback is the webmaster's account info@PoloniaNet.com. It is forwarded to the personal mailbox of each team member, so all can keep track of the feedback from visitors. Usually one of the team responds to the messages, and passes on any related requests to other team members.

Lastly, Zbigniew is gathering responses to the survey organized as part of preparing this article.

Life Cycle Crises

It is probably too early to talk about life cycle crises when your site is less than six months old, however, there are a few events worth mentioning:

The team inadvertently mistreated a segment of the PoloniaNet audience using the character based browsers by making extensive use of tables.

The language selection was hidden in a table on the cover page at one point, leaving the visitor with no options to choose. This mistake has since been corrected and the key elements of the site updated to make sure that HTML level 1 is all one needs for navigation. While the Web is about graphical presentation and it is quickly evolving towards interactivity through the use of Java, it was a bit premature to assume that all browsers can display tables.

There are signs of faltering commitment among the troops.

Artur left the team, and PoloniaNet did not maintain the initial pace of expanding and enhancing the content. As novelty wore off, the demands of professional and personal lives affected the amount of time each team member could dedicate to running PoloniaNet. One person was added to the team and a different formula is being drafted. According to this formula, the core team will retain the role of an architect, and each team member, including additional people, will assume responsibility for a specific content area. This revised formula is likely to better serve the needs of a more mature Web site.

Polonianet Home Page

Surveys to Evaluate the Two Sites

Online surveys for Peaceweb and PoloniaNet ran for about the same time, from mid-June to mid-July. The results confirmed some of our expectations, and confounded others.

Questionnaire Design

We followed the principles outlined by Marilyn Mantei [3]. In particular, we followed her "Steps to Designing Good Questionnaires":

BulletDecide on the information that is needed and design your questions to obtain this information

BulletDecide what summaries of data you want from the questionnaire and design your questions to provide these measurements.

BulletGo through the questionnaire and wordsmith the questions so that they actually do generate the data you wish to obtain

BulletGo through the questionnaire and fix up its presentation format so that its organization makes sense and the order of questions generates the maximum possible information

BulletPilot test the questionnaire and do all of the above again...and again...and again.

Mantei is part of the University of Toronto's Human Computer Interaction (HCI) group is part of the Dynamic Graphics Project (DGP) within the Department of Computer Science (DCS).

We created categories (radio buttons and checkboxes) for nearly every response to a question. For a category we could not imagine, we simply added an "Other" category with a text box for the user to fill in. In one question for Peaceweb ("How does your Meeting use the Internet?")

Peaceweb's Survey

To get some organized user feedback, Carl drafted and members of the Peace and Social Concerns Committee revised a survey form. Peter Szmyt and Zbigniew Rachniowski, and other colleagues at Simware also helped revise the form, which went through eight drafts. The questions were grouped in three sections with the following titles:

Tell us what you think of Peaceweb

Tell us how you browse the Web

Tell us a bit about yourself

There were questions in sections 2 and 3 which Peaceweb used to make comparisons with the 5th GVU Survey of the Web from Georgia Tech (see Graphs of Peaceweb Survey Results below).

On Tuesday evening, June 11, 1996, Peaceweb's first user survey went online. There was a link to it from Peaceweb's home page (a yellow button in the shape of an envelope called up the online form). Within three days, Peaceweb had 22 responses.

Some key results from the 63 respondents until July 23, 1996 were as follows:

Key Peaceweb Survey Results (General)

Characteristic of
Respondents
% in
Peaceweb
Survey
% in
5th GVU
Survey
University-affiliated 32.3 26.8
Males 69.4*** 68.6
Educators 21.9 29.6
Computer professionals 7.8 32.2
Surfing or browsing as use 30.5 78.7
Text-oriented users 54.2 29.8**
Turn off graphics 16.7 --
Canadian residents 22.4 8.4*
Primary access at home 58.9 55.4
Work/school account only 22.5 --
Netscape 2.0 or 3.0 77.9 83.0
Speed of 14.4 KB or faster 89.1 64.5

*includes Canada and Mexico

** responses from 3rd GVU survey, 4/10/95-5/10/95

*** data from Email headers

Peaceweb results were compared with the 5th GVU Survey, which was run 1996 by the Graphics, Visualization and Usability Center of Georgia Tech, Atlanta, GA, from April 10 to May 10. There were more than 23,000 respondents.

Key Survey Results-(Peaceweb-specific)

Characteristics of
Respondents
% in
Peaceweb
Survey
Main interest was peace 36.6
Shared information with others 38.1
Links/action seen as best content 44.4
Peace issue seen as best issue 61.7
Quaker content was "just right" 82.2
Attended a Quaker meeting 61.9
Average opinion of Peaceweb *

*3 = "Very Good"

Analysis of Peaceweb's Results

Except for a few key characteristics, Peaceweb respondents matched the characteristics of respondents to the 5th GVU Survey. Peaceweb respondents were less likely to be computer professionals (7.8 %) than the GVU respondents. (32.2 %). More striking was the percentage of Peaceweb respondents who were text-oriented Web users (54.2 %), as opposed to 30 % for GVU respondents.

Carl's initial assumptions on modem speed and browser choice were proven wrong. Only 10.9 % had modem speeds slower than 14.4 KB per second, and only 22.1 % had browsers other than Netscape 2.0 or 3.0. (Carl had predicted diversity of speed and browser choice.)

Although a satisfactory number of hits were recorded (average 100 per week, or 5,00 per year), the majority of Peaceweb survey respondents were not affiliated with a university. Only 32.3 % had the tell-tale .edu suffix (or university_name.ca in Canada) suffix on their Email addresses.

Conclusions for Peaceweb

With a majority of respondents not at universities or in computer jobs, Peaceweb can reach outside the academic and technical communities. A total of 58.9 % had their primary Web access at home. While this matches the GVU statistic (55.4 %), it means that the Web is a medium of choice, not a medium of convenience for Peaceweb respondents. The image of the frugal Quaker still typing away on her Commodore 64 is as much a myth as the character on the Quaker Oats box.

The way in which visitors view Peaceweb has significant implications for design. While Netscape 2.0 and 3.0 predominated for Peaceweb visitors almost as much as among GVU respondents, nearly 17 % of Peaceweb respondents turn off graphics while browsing the Web. So, while the use of non-graphical browsers such as Lynx is low (2.9 %), Peaceweb designers still have to consider those who are seeing no graphics by choice rather than by compulsion. Graphics must be made non-essential to receiving and understanding all the information conveyed by Peaceweb.

PoloniaNet's Survey

To get some organized user feedback, Zbigniew took a common core of questions from the original design for the survey for all three Web sites. Each section had the same type of headings as those in the Peaceweb survey:

Tell us what you think of PoloniaNet

Tell us how you browse the Web

Tell us a bit about yourself

The results from the first 18 respondents by July 25, 1996 were as follows:

Key PoloniaNet Survey Results-(General)

Characteristic of
Respondents
% in
PoloniaNet
Survey
% in
5th GVU
Survey
University-affiliated

11.1

26.8
Males

83.3***

68.6
Educators

11.1

29.6
Computer professionals

55.5

32.2
Surfing or browsing as use

72.2

78.7
Text-oriented users

61.1

29.8**
Turn off graphics

16.6

 
Canadian residents

88.8

8.4*
Primary access at home

30.0

55.4
Work/school account only

10.0

 
Netscape 2.0 or 3.0

83.3

83.0
Speed of 14.4 KB or faster

100.00

64.5

*includes Canada and Mexico

** responses from 3rd GVU survey, 4/10/95-5/10/95

*** data from Email headers

The 5th GVU Survey was run from April 10 to May 10, 1996 by the Graphics, Visualization and Usability Center of Georgia Tech, Atlanta, Georgia, and had more than 23,000 respondents.

Key Survey Results-(PoloniaNet-specific)

Characteristics of
Respondents
% in
PoloniaNet
Survey
Spoke Polish 86.3
Average opinion of PoloniaNet* 3
Shared information from PoloniaNet 72.7
Visited one or more of the advertising business pages 76.1

*3 = "Very Good"

Analysis of PoloniaNet's Results

The number of responses was below expectations. Initially we suspected three reasons:

timing - the survey went online on June 20, just as barbecue use was outpacing that of TVs and computers

limited advertising - only via Email messages to previous respondents

passive audience - most people of Polish origin historically dislike opinion polling

However, after following up with some of the PoloniaNet users who did not respond to our survey, we found , to our surprise, another cause. The POST method used on the survey form was to mail the response. As we discovered, this works only if the browser's mail settings are properly configured. We estimate that we may have lost between 30 and 50 percent of responses. In addition, the statistical validity of the responses is limited. The survey would have favored computer professionals, and our results confirm this. Similarly 100% of respondents with access at more than 14,400 baud may not just be a reflection of the speed with which the computer hardware evolves.

Other results were in line with our assumptions made while designing PoloniaNet:

most PoloniaNet visitors are Polish, or are of Polish origin

most live in the Ottawa area

One thing worth noting is that a majority of respondents describe themselves as text oriented. While the vast majority do not turn off graphics, the visual elements appear to be secondary to the text information. The main role of graphics is to enhance, rather than replace the textual information.

The overall number of hits during PoloniaNet's first six months was over 3,200. This amounts to an average of 124 per week, and is in line with our expectations.

Conclusions for PoloniaNet

PoloniaNet team correctly defined its main audience. PoloniaNet was meant to be a Polish Community site, and seems to have achieved just that. Our next goal is to enhance the English content (launched in mid-May) to broaden the potential audience. As ours, and Peaceweb's, survey confirm, one always remember about the power of the written word, which still holds true with the WWW media.

Acknowledgments

We wish to thank Susan Taylor, Manager of the Infoware Department at Simware, for her encouragement and Peter Szmyt of Simware for his help with questionnaire design and review.

References

1. Horton, W.; Taylor, L.; Ignacio, A; & Hoft, N.L. (1996) The Web Page Design Cookbook, NY, NY: John Wiley & Sons

2. Snyder, J.(1996). Web Lessons Learned, Internet World magazine, June, 1996

3. Mantei, M. Questionnaire Design Studio. tutorial notes for SIGCHI '91 New Orleans, LA, April 27-May 2 Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group on Computer Human Interface (SIGCHI)

Trademarks and Product Names

CorelDRAW is a trademark of Corel Corporation, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1Z 8R7

HTML Edit is a product name used by Eric W. Bressler, Email: Eric.W.Bressler@lawrence.edu

Micrografx Designer is a trademark of Micrografx, Inc, Richardson, TX 75081

Paint Shop Pro is a product name used by JASC, Inc., Eden Prairie, MN 55344

WS_FTP is a trademark of Ipswitch, Inc, Lexington, MA 02173