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Site Planning Tips
Making a successful Research AMP site requires forethought and planning. What do you wish to accomplish by creating a Research AMP site? How will you use the elements of Research AMP to bring together a community around your topic? As you formulate these goals, here are some related considerations you may want to incorporate into your planning process.
Central Theme: Research AMP helps to bridge people, ideas (including academic and popular literature and commentary), and resources across an inter- and cross-disciplinary community of practice. You should take a moment to take stock of who needs these resources and what purpose the site can fill. What is the main organizing principle or theme? Your theme and its underlying "research topics" provide the core framework for a Research AMP. As you can see in the Use Cases section, each has a central theme: such as "play and wellbeing," and "religion and international affairs."
Research Topics and Tags: Once you have a central theme for your site, how will you subdivide it into research topics, and then further subdivide it into tags? Research topics are the central organizing structure of your site, and therefore careful planning is needed to encompass both your current content and the content you plan to build in the future.
Content: One of the first steps for creating a Research AMP site is to collate content that you will feature on the site when it is launched. You may already have a shared Zotero library for your research group that you could use as a starting point for research reviews; you might have some ideas for articles; you may also have a group of people that you would like to list as your site's broader network in the scholar profiles. This initial work will be the content that will help build your site's identity and focus, so it is good to begin planning your content first. See Content Management Tips for more information about how upload your content onto RAMP, and Elements of Research AMP for the features of each content type.
Collaborators: Who will you ask to collaborate with you on your Research AMP site? This can take many forms, including writing research reviews or articles, sourcing citations and news items for Zotero and PressForward, serving in an advisory capacity, or being featured in the scholar profile section. Having a good list of collaborators can further help with publicity, as each of these network members can spread the word.
Audience: Who is the primary audience of this site? It is important to have a detailed idea of who the audience will be. Not "the general public" but "scholars working on this topic in related disciplines" or "journalists who specialize in writing about" your topic. Think about publicity: how will you reach this audience?
You may want to compile a list of people and institutions who you think would benefit from your site. The list would be useful for thinking through the use cases of the site as well as for planning publicity and outreach.
Use cases: What do you want this specific audience to do when they interact with the site? How will they use its content? For example, journalists may want to use the scholar profiles section to find sources, and they might use the research reviews to get an overview of the scholarly work on the topic. Academics may want to check the news feed to find out the latest news articles and reports on your topic, or they might want to incorporate the articles and research reviews in their teaching. Having a set goals in mind will help you tailor the content to your audience.
Publication Schedules and Site Maintenance: Think through how often you will want to have new content appear on your site. Some considerations may include: How often do you plan to publish new articles and research reviews? How often will you want to update the news feed with PressForward? After the initial upload of profiles to the scholar profiles section, how often will you add new profiles and update existing ones?
Layout and Design: You may want a logo designed for your site, and you may want to customize the site beyond the default template. Research AMP's basic installation was intentionally given a functional but simple layout. It works well with no customization, but you may choose to have more colors, fonts, or a more distinctive layout. Some limited customization is possible with WordPress tools, but you may choose to hire a designer for your Research AMP site. To do this, the designer creates a child version of the Research AMP theme, which can then be customized. For more information, see Configuration.
Accessibility: Build in a practice of ensuring that your site is accessible to people with disabilities. The default design and color scheme of the Research AMP theme has been built with accessibility in mind, and we recommend maintaining this commitment. Beyond design, other considerations include writing alt text for images, choosing colors and a design that are accessible, and providing transcripts for video or audio content. For more information, see: https://www.w3.org/WAI/fundamentals/
Team and Staffing: Given the project's budget, what kinds of staff help will you need so that the project meet your goals? We recommend staff with expertise in content development (as appropriate for the kinds of content you plan to publish) as well as expertise in website design and development.