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Free Web Help

By Sharon Marek and Kenn Moffitt , Web Developers UNT Central Web Support

Do you have a job that requires you to create and manage a Web site on top of your regular duties?  Wouldn't it be nice if you could get a free editor, designer, and programmer to help you do your Web site?  Besides UNT's Central Web Support , a few resources available on the Web offer you these services for free.

Site Maintenance and Editing Assistance

Net Mechanic is a great site to help you with the drudgery of site maintenance. Net Mechanic will check your pages for spelling errors, dead or broken links, improper HTML syntax, and graphic and page loading speeds. The site will also offer suggestions to help you fix any mistakes that it finds.

Image Assistance

Creating images can be a little scary without a graphic artist on your staff. Luckily, there are a few services on the Web that can help. Net Studio will create banners, headers, text and buttons -- just save the images for free use on your site. Net Studio will also allow you to upload an image and apply a filter effect such as embossing, engraving, shadow, sharpen, washout and blur.

Cool Text  allows you to create really cool text graphics. You can type in a word or phrase and have the Web site apply an effect like alien glow, cool metal, crystal or neon. The image that is created can be used for banners, buttons and more on your page.

Page Design Assistance

If you know how your site is going to be organized but don't know how to design the page in an attractive and visually logical way DesktopPublishing.com has the perfect solution. Site Kits are predesigned Web site templates that include all of the navigation images, bullets, and page formatting commands. These templates are free for non-commercial use and can make even the novice Web site designer look like a pro.

If you are using Microsoft FrontPage 98 (officially supported for staff, faculty, and student organization use at UNT) , you can use a theme. The theme will apply a coordinated combination of predesigned graphics, text and page formatting. You can even apply a theme globally to the entire site at once.

Universal Access Assistance

Most new Web designers don't design with accessibility in mind. On the Web, that means designing pages that can be accessed not only by a variety of browsers, but also by text to speech readers. The Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) has created Bobby - a Web-based tool that analyzes Web pages for their accessibility. Once you enter your Web address, Bobby will scan your pages for universal access problems and make suggestions to improve your site's accessibility.

Interested in accessibility issues in the field of distance education? DISinHE (Disability and Information Systems in Higher Education) is an outstanding resource - and their Good Practice Guides deserve special mention.

Web Programming Assistance

You can add some of the newest tricks to your site even if you don't have a Web guru or a JavaScript programmer handy. Builder.com (one of the best resources for professional site designers) has created a group of Web enabled Cool Tools that use a wizard driven interface to write the code for you. Once it has finished your code, simply follow the directions to copy and paste the code into your page. Cool Tools helps you to create mouseovers, dynamic menus, slide shows, and image map rollovers.  

Central Web Support

But don't forget about Central Web Support! We are experienced Web site designers, and supporting Web use on campus is our only job. Contact us, Kenn Moffitt or Sharon Marek, for more information.