Problem: Our old website
Fix: Steps we took
Result: Our new website
Conclusion: What have we learned that you
can take and use for your organization?
Site looks 10+ years old
Lots of information out of date
Only people with programming skills could do
any advanced updates
Lack of metadata, explanations
Not optimized for search engines or basic
People just can't find things!
The Fix #1: Identify
Who is your audience? What are your goals for
them? User stories for each?
Do you have peer institutions? Identify likes
and dislikes of each's web presence
What resources can you devote to this project?
Will these resources be provided short-term
Do you have caveats such as software or
network or access requirements?
The Fix #2: Research
Conduct informal interviews with web presence
stakeholders, present synthsized results for
review to each (conflicts?)
Ask your customers or visitors for feedback!
For technical feasibility studies, record
information about current visitor capablities
Make sure you include anyone who might
speak with a website visitor (perhaps later on
the phone when filling a phone order, etc)
Examples of research
13% of visitors have a screen resolution at or
below 800 by 600 pixels
Compare purchase intentions by medium:
Examples of Research (cont.)
The Fix #3: Make Decisions
What is a priority now and what in the future?
What does your research show is missing from
your current website that your visitors want?
What kinds of technology can your visitors
Consider a style guide and commit to a single
visual style, writing style, word usage (check
AP Style for email, E mail, e-Mail)
Where will you host your site? Will you have
minimum requirements for access?
Typography & color - make or break design
Consistency is critical for a happy user
Recognize that people have feelings about
your website and your visual design
Recognize that your website also has a
personality and behavior
Do user expectations match the way your
website looks and behaves?
Now keep doing it!
Avoid looking like
spam or ad content
Keep critical info
above the fold
Keep it simple
Segment to create
flow and momentum
Users will give up
The Result: Screenshots
The Result (cont.)
F/OSS, Drupal as a content management
system, database driven, standards based(!)
RSS feeds with current news, no more
surprise links, a lot more metadata about
each page, version control for content and
files, redirect all old addresses, daily
validation of spelling, accessibility, standards
1000 more unique visitors per month (20%
more), 1100 more page views (15% more)
Benefit from others' experiences
World Wide Web Consortium: w3.org
Consult with your institution for requirements
on accessibility, graphical standards, and
privacy policies that may affect you
See resources for user interface advice,
technical standards, and tools
Most importantly: Involve your stakeholders
and your expected visitors!
This presentation and some annotated
resources will be made available at: