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New web projects

Getting started

New web project requests should be sent to the University Web Coordinator. The Internet Strategies team in University Communications + Marketing (UC+M) will then work with you to determine the size and scope of your project.

For standard projects we will work with you to develop a project plan and “readiness assessment.”

For major projects—those with a large reputational impact or requiring significant resources and/or consultations with multiple campus stakeholders—we will work with you to develop a formal project proposal to be presented to the university’s Strategic Web Advisory Group (SWAG).

Site planning

Background & discovery

All good web projects start with a discovery process to help guide the goals and intentions of the project. Discovery can include:

  • Competitive analysis
  • User research/personas
  • (For existing websites) previous site/page performance analytics

Depending on the scope of your project, we may be able to assist with some or all of these discovery tasks.

Project roles

In order to help facilitate your web project from discovery to launch, it's important to clearly define who will take on which role during the development process:

  • Project manger
  • Unit liaison
  • Stakeholders
  • Subject-matter experts (SMEs)
  • Approvers

Information architecture (IA)

Your site's IA is the road map of all pages/sections of your site, and how they relate to each other. The IA is informed by the discovery process, and aims to simplify the overall user experience.

Prototyping

Depending on the size and scope of your project, we may opt to create a working prototype of your site as we work through different IA and content iterations.

For less complex projects, we may draft a working copy directly in Cascade.

Content development

Consider audience needs

Avoid a one-size-fits-all approach to your web content. Modern web users want a personalized experience, so don't make them wade through content meant for a different audience.

Consider your primary audience for each page of web content:

  • Why would they need to visit your website?
    • What information are they looking for?
    • What tasks do they need to complete once they get there?
  • How do they typically browse your site?
    • Are they multi-tasking on a mobile device, or are they relaxing at home on a tablet with minimal distractions?

Determine calls-to-action (CTAs)

Each page or section of web content should have a clearly defined user goal. This could be completing a specific task (e.g. download a document, submit a form, watch a video), or helping the user easily find the answer to a common question (e.g. English language requirements for admission, how to pay tuition, contact info for their academic advisor).

CTAs are typically buttons or links labelled with a clear action. Users typically scan web pages looking for these actions. For example:

Write content to support your user goals

Effective web content is scannable, and makes it easy for your users to identify (a) that they are in the right place, and (b) what they should do next.

Content should meet UVic's web standards for accessibility, readability, and searchability.

For significant content changes, use trackable Word documents for first drafts. Once the content has been revised, it can be used to populate the prototype (if used), or added directly into Cascade.

Building your site

During the discovery phase we'll have identifed any technical requirements we'll need to develop for your site.

If a prototype was developed for your project, all stakeholder feedback on content and site structure will be captured by the prototype.

The prototype will guide how we build the site in Cascade, including menu structure, page layout, component design and page content (web copy, photos, videos, etc).

It's important that the person who will be responsible for maintaining the site after launch is involved in the build stage.

Photography & video

Use media (photos and video) to help tell a story or convey an idea. Typically, photos and video would be used on "persuasive" pages.

Avoid using images and video on task-oriented (content) pages. They add clutter and make it harder for the user to find what they need on the page. Unless the media will help a user complete their task quickly, avoid using images as decoration.

Review & approvals

We prefer to socialize each milestone with stakeholders. This helps us ensure we are on the right track as we work through each stage.

At each phase we will invite relevant stakeholders and subject-matter experts to review and comment on:

  • The information architecture (IA)
  • Site design/prototype
  • Specific content pages (as needed)
  • Test site

Launch

Redirects

If this project replaces an existing site, we will work with you to create redirects from your old site structure, so there are no broken links.

Performance & quality assurance (QA) reporting

For new web content, we will set up web analytics and QA reporting.

  • We'll work with you to set up any specific goal tracking in Google Analytics (e.g. number of clicks to a CTA button, or number of times a video was started and finished)
  • Our site governance tool will flag any QA issues: broken links, misspellings and issues impacting your web area's accessibility or search engine performance

Cascade access & training

We'll also work with you to determine who will require access to maintain the content, set up permissions and workflows (as needed), arrange for training and a walkthrough of the new site/area.

Post launch

Once your web project has launched, we recommend planning periodic reviews:

  • QA review, using site governance reports (weekly)
    • Address any issues affecting accessibility or search engine rankings
  • Web performance reviews using analytics reports (quarterly)
    • Evaluate perfomance of key web goals, and consider if any changes are needed

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