OPO Multimedia Production Process

October 15, 1998

Process Diagram (useful to look at together with this write-up)

Integrated Schedule

The Products and Services and Information Services twigs have established a combined task list and schedule posted on cauldron. (http://cauldron.stsci.edu/web/Production/Projectstatus.html)

Roles and Responsibilities


Production Methodology

Project Approval

Web development begins once a project has been approved in accordance with the guidelines detailed in the "OPO Project Creation Process." (http://oposite.stsci.edu/~carolc/local/opo_project.html)

Concept Document Development and Review:

The site curator or content specialist produces a concept document, to be reviewed and approved by his/her manager, that lays out the site objective, visitor profile (i.e., age range, education level, etc.), content, stylistic treatment or theme, functionality, priorities, links to existing pages, and preliminary site design ideas. The concept document includes requirements for delivery of finished pages (due date).

[Note: For sites that will become part of the Origins Forum (or Origins ecosystem), the concept document includes a definition of the site as classified by the software/hardware/bandwidth needed to optimally use the site or resource.]

Concepts fall into three categories:

The concept development document is provided to a review committee consisting of the Multimedia Production managers and others they deem appropriate (e.g., programmer, writer/editor, designer, scientist) in advance of an initiation meeting.

Before the initiation meeting, each reviewer is responsible to review the concept document specifically addressing his/her area of expertise: web programming, web design, graphic art and illustration, writing and editing. Each person also develops an estimate of the time required and the type or level of capability needed to complete the site. Each reviewer should come to the initiation meeting prepared to make recommendations regarding the feasibility of or improvements to the proposed site. If the concept document is prepared as a Word file, then each person can electronically mark-up the document using the track changes feature under the Tools menu. In cases where a site has a very mature concept document including near-final text, this feature would enable edits for science accuracy, grammar and usage to be accomplished prior to the initiation meeting with all changes noted for final approval by the author/curator before implementation.


Initiation Meeting:

This meeting is co-chaired by the Multimedia Production managers, and includes the curator/content specialist and any other technical specialists that have been assigned to review the concept document. The meeting is a discussion, covering the following items:

For loosely defined concepts, more than one initiation meeting may be required. The production chief may assist the curator/content specialist with further developing the concept document.

The final outcome of the Initiation meeting is a copy-edited implementation script and implementation plan. The implementation plan lists the production chief, other team members and their task assignments, and details the schedule, milestones, and resources available for site development.

Before any work commences, the script and implementation plan are available for review by the curator/content specialist's twig chief.



The graphic designer uses the final copy-edited text to produce Dreamweaver pages. The designer consults with the programmer to resolve any questions of how functionality will impact design. If the design is such that the text needs to be adjusted, the designer is assisted by the writer-editor. At the same time the design work is proceeding, the programmer is writing the code using the appropriate software application.

When the designer has completed the work, he/she "delivers" the Dreamweaver pages to the programmer for integration. With that work completed, the site goes through test and evaluation


Test and Evaluation Process

The test and evaluation process consists of four main procedures. Two are based on automated software testers (HTML verification and link checker): the others rely on human verification (page rendering and copy editing). All pages of a new site or additions to a preexisting site go through this process. Programmers and designers correct errors prior to the page being posted live to the Internet.

Details of the tests:

After the site is published, a copy-editor will again review it. If after this final post-publishing copy-edit has been done for several projects without finding changes that are necessary, copy-editing will end with publishing.


Weekly Production Meeting

Once each week (Thursday, 9:30), the Multimedia Production managers and Project Manager meet with the production chief and author/curator for each site under development to review progress:

The author/curator's manager is invited to participate in these weekly reviews. The OPO Head also is welcome to review sites under development at these weekly meetings, or otherwise at her request.

Throughout the production process, the author/curator is available for consultation by the designer and the programmer.

Publishing Pages

When a site has successfully completed the test and evaluation process and is deemed ready for publishing, the author/curator, his/her manager, the Multimedia Production managers, and the OPO Head (if desired) review it. With this review complete, the webmaster publishes the pages.

[Notes: For materials that are linked to the Origins Education Forum (or Origins ecosystem) site, the programmer will update the software/hardware/bandwidth classification defined in the concept document if any of these has changed during development.

For Amazing Space educational resources, this begins a phase of external testing by teachers and other education professionals. When the resource's author/curator has decided what changes are necessary, the revision to the site will proceed using this same methodology.]



Stratis Kakadelis

Trish Pengra