Magazine article District Administration

Madison Metropolitan (Wis.) School District WWW.Madison.K12.Wi.Us

Magazine article District Administration

Madison Metropolitan (Wis.) School District WWW.Madison.K12.Wi.Us

Article excerpt

THE MADISON METROPOLITAN School District (MMSD) is the second largest district in Wisconsin, encompassing 65 square miles and including 25,000 students and 3,000 staff members in 46 schools. The district has maintained a Web site since 1996.

DESIGN

The district home page is welcoming and relatively straightforward. The page could be more coherently organized, however--using a wide variety of fonts, colors and formats is jumbled and confusing. A more uniform, consistent design would streamline the page and make it easier to use.

The design quality varies significantly among the separate school pages, as some are well maintained with great features, while others have little content and are out of date. Greater consistency would ensure that students and parents in district schools have equal access to online resources.

NAVIGATION

The navigation menu, prominently displayed on the left side of the home page, makes access to important content, such as "Programs & Departments," quick and easy. On a PC, each heading opens a topic submenu, but these should be larger, since scrolling through dozens of choices in small windows is awkward and frustrating.

Uniform navigation menus are not carried over from page to page, and many have no menus at all, so navigation can be inconsistent and cumbersome.

QUALITY OF THE INTERACTION WITH THE USER

The "Search" feature uses Google's powerful search engine and works well. The search tool would be more accessible if placed at the top of the page, rather than in the bottom corner.

The "Electronic Library" is a very useful resource, with links to more than 2,000 educational Web sites relevant to students and teachers in the district, organized by subject and theme.

As with many district sites, there are no access provisions for disabled users.

SCHOOL TO HOME INTERACTION

The convenient "MMSD Communications" tool enables parents and community members to subscribe to the district's email newsletter by entering their addresses in the box. …

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