Website Best Practices
University Relations and Marketing's Website Best Practices:
- If you come across an issue, bug, or other anomaly, please record it, try to document every detail, how it was produced? What did you have running in the background? For example, if you were scanning with an anti-virus at the time. We are producing an inventory of knowledge and treating it as a true asset. What is being done to fix, or simply to acknowledge the issue to reduce the in fluctuation of incoming calls. If you see something please let us know as soon as possible. Please contact Web Content Coordinator at 417.626.7823 and 417.659.4339 or URM Department at 417.625.9399.
- Delete/Move pages: Please contact Web Content Coordinator at 417.626.7823 and 417.659.4339 or URM Department at 417.625.9399.
- All hierarchy pages should be examined and delete unnecessary or duplicate pages. View your page layout and schematic, if you add a folder within your designated folder it will need its own menu page.
- What message are we trying to convey? What will our users be looking for? How do you make your site look appealing and fresh? Commonality between goals of EVERY department and school.
- Current students and faculty will utilize this site as well, but we want to utilize this as an information site for potential students and parents, we would like to see more faculty and current student content to be accessable through the intranet, LioNet, and student websites. This will ensure the site maintains its focus and maintain the vision of the site.
- Re-review schematic of website, is it logical? Does it appeal to convenience and relative ease of finding targets without frustrating the user? Continually re-evaluate!
- Watch for Orphaned pages that are not being linked. Please review your pages, especially if you’re creating pages, and ensure they are linked in some way. Keep your old site mapping in mind, there may be pages you need to create.
- Your site should be intended to be looked at through our user’s eyes, this is an informative website, and thus this should be about our faculty and be informative to prospective and current students. We have intranet for internal usage. We understand that it is intuitive the above links on the main page is “For” the “Current Students,”” Future Students,” “Alumni,” but we have to ensure accessability is logical and easy to navigate without assuming the user has an internal knowledge of our organization, ensure it is kept in theme and aligned with the Mission of the website. If students and faculty need access online away from the campus, we have LioNet, and if need, we can build them a site or add one to the new site.
- Ensure you are utilizing pictures accordingly; do not put a picture just to fill space. It needs to be informational and hold or serve a purpose. If you question it, feel free to contact URM, we are here to help. Also, ensure you are only utilizing pictures out of FLICKR, and that they have been approved.
- If you are producing a site that has a similar department, make sure you are communicating to ensure you are on the same page. For example, Admissions and the “Office of Admissions.” We coordinated with Admissions Department.
- Please use the templates if it’s already created, for example, utilize the Apply Now page if you’re having the user apply now. Link to the one already created, and you can utilize the menus in other pages that are already done, you can copy and paste within the Content Management System (CMS), but ensure you hit "clean up messy code" before saving and look at the entire page.
- Utilize benchmarking strategies to not only gain competitive advantage, but also to benchmark current web stats to the stats of the new site to allocate resources in what is working and what is not.
- E-mail for contact, would prefer not to have it automatically try to utilize the e-mail application of the user, instead use the “contact us” page. It is not user friendly and can be somewhat frustrating for a user when it automatically pulls up Outlook and nothing is set up.
- Users read web sites differently than traditional reading:
- Users tend to scan before or instead of actually reading
- Users tend to pay more attention to the upper left of the page
- Users tend to read the shortest version first:
- Page title before page content
- Section header before section
- Bullet point before paragraph
- Design your pages in a screen vs. page concept i.e. important information at top, using table of contents, or “Anchor” points and topics pointing to important information further down the page, chunks of information vs. paragraph, and be conversational vs. technical ie. Relevance: Review each chunk to determine whether is essential to the content’s overall purpose or message. Brevity: Edit conscientiously to guarantee that the content is as brief as possible: One word not two, 20-word sentences not 45-word sentences, 3-sentence paragraphs not 15-sentence paragraphs. Concise = relevant + brief. See Useful Resources below for further training.
- This is a new schematic and mapping compared to the old site. We cannot migrate straight from the old site, there are some exceptions, but it is a new system altogether. There is not an “Automated” way to migrate these pages, so please try to use these helpful guides. If you have any questions or needs, please contact Web Content Coordinator at 417.626.7823 and 417.659.4339 or URM Department at 417.625.9399.
- Sometimes it is helpful to develop a flowchart of your site; this may help in getting your design started, and illustrating the navigation of your site. Remember, 90% design, 10% implement, view a flowchart example which can be designed in a word processing application such as Microsoft Word.