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Defining technical specifications


In this lesson on identifying technical specifications for a new website, students will establish what goals can be immediately established to reach audience and also what are some long-range goals. (i.e., using social media more immediate vs. full website with videos may be long-term). With this in mind, they will start to formulate what technical specifications they might need for the website and what must be accomplished. This is the first step toward building a website prototype.

Students can explore various formats for video by downloading the videos from the lesson Video storytelling and advanced methods.


  • Students will start to create a prototype and define the functionality of the website.
  • Students will understand and examine budgetary, technological and human resource constraints behind website development.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.8 Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; identify false statements and fallacious reasoning.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.8 Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the usefulness of each source in answering the research question; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.


50 minutes


Computer access

Website development software

Class set: WordPress Is Platform of Choice article 

Lesson step-by-step

1. Brainstorming — 15 minutes

Students will spend the entirety of this class period examining the top priorities staff has created to establish what direction the staff will go in developing the website. Using the research they did on other student websites and their survey of student interests, have students create a list of technical/visual/user options they want for the website. Students can use the questions below as a way to brainstorm.

  • Do students want to add social media?
  • Do they want to add video files?
  • Do they want photos?
  • Do they want to create their own navigation?
  • How easy is it to update the website?
  • Do you want audience/students to add comments?
  • Do you want to advertise local businesses?
  • Is there a limit to how much content/size of files on the website?

2. Research — 20 minutes

Once they’ve created their list, pass out the article handout and have students read about WordPress. Then, put students in groups to research other website hosting/development options, including:

(These are only a few websites of many options)


Have each group compare the priority list students just created with what each platform can offer, and then instruct each group to make a recommendation about which platform will best accommodate the priorities of the website. Instruct groups to also research additional options that might not have been identified in their priority list (i.e., Adding video may add cost or you may need to have extra storage space).

Here are some elements that might influence which platform/software to use (and which may add to the overall cost of your website development and maintenance):

  • Custom domain
  • Adding HD videos
  • Custom fonts and colors
  • Storage space for images, audio and video
  • Cost of themes
  • Adding ability to use polls
  • Social Media Integration
  • RSS feeds

3. Class discussion — 15 minutes

Finally, have the groups report out to the class about their findings, and discuss as a class which website software or platform will best accomplish the technical goals of their website.