Standard Web Content Design

Reviewed and updated June 11, 2013

The following standards were derived from studies of “best practices” in higher ed web, changing usability trends within key audiences, onset of new media, and more. These standards are continuously reviewed and adjusted by marketing web staff. Reference organizations include:

  • Pew Internet & American Life Project (Pew Research Center)
  • Noel-Levitz, higher ed enrollment consultants
  • STAMATS, higher ed admissions consultants
  • Gravity Group, brand and marketing consultants

How do you fit in?

As we annually review each academic program and major/minor, we’ll be in touch with faculty, departmental editors, and key students/alumni for information and input. We’ll ask you to identify top students or alumni in the field for use in testimonials, and we’ll ask for your program’s top strategic goals (examples: increase enrollment by 20 students, increase community awareness of program events, etc.)

In some cases, we’ll develop web analytics goals that support your strategic goals and create custom automated reports for quarterly review.

Program or department home pages

EMU Standard Content Design screenshot These are the key components of program or department home pages:

  • Customized header images
  • A right column photo, slideshow or video
  • A featurebox right column
  • Streamlined text that concisely outlines 1) the unique aspects of the program, 2) the ultimate value of studying in your program, and 3) the innovative in-the-field internships and practicums that students can expect.

Additional text will flow into a program “About” page. Here is where we can use some prose to elaborate on key reasons study at EMU, and within your program, is unique.

All text will be carefully considered, bolstered with our EMU vocabulary list of brand messages, and tracked yearly with Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Home page examples

Specifications:

  • Home page slideshow or video thumbnail: 238 × 200px (72 dpi)
  • Three right column features: 70×70 thumbnails and 6-10 words
  • Text: limited to a handful of paragraphs punctuated with h3 subheaders with attention given to SEO, brand vocabulary, and call-out links. H2 tags are meaningful as well, and recognized as important to search rankings.

Secondary pages for majors

Pages detailing majors will bear similar structure to program home pages, if appropriate content is available. These pages will always detail the unique aspects of individual majors. That content will be emphasized by testimonials by recent alumni or current students whenever possible.

Again, differentiation is key; prospective students, parents and guidance counselors want to know what is unique about your academic program and study at EMU in general.

Other secondary pages

Secondary pages for minors, certifications, internships and careers will be smaller in nature and primarily text offset by 1-2 recent photos and/or alumni or intern testimonials.

EMU standard content navigation

Left navigation

Structure of left navigation will be aligned with current best practices in the following basic structure:

  • Faculty
  • Major 1
  • Major 2
  • Major 2
  • Minors
  • Internships and Careers
  • Alumni In the Field
  • News (if there are a substantial amount of articles)
  • About Our Program
  • Contact Us

Course catalog links, once a standard part of left navigation, are placed on pages detailing majors and minors.

Other links you may currently have within your department’s navigation, like Core Courses or Curriculum, are better suited to related major or minor pages.

Notes:

  • To do our job well, we’ll revise or “boil down” copy you provide in order to meet standards on usability, SEO, university-wide messaging guidelines, etc.
  • Social media should be incorporated into your program’s web pages whenever appropriate, but we won’t link in a Twitter or Facebook account that isn’t very active.

Web content manager contact info

Contact Marcy Gineris, web content manager & strategist at or call 540-432-4595 or 540-476-0361 (cell) with questions.