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New web projects

A website is an important communication tool. Good websites meet the needs of your audiences and support your unit's goals. Learn the process for developing an effective UVic website.

Getting started

New web project requests should be sent to the Senior Web Officer. University Communications and Marketing (UCAM) will then work with you to determine the size and scope of your project.

For standard projects—those generally contained to a single department or unit—we will work with you to develop a project plan and “readiness assessment.”

For major projects—those with a large reputational impact, requiring significant resources and/or involving consultations with multiple campus stakeholders—we will work with you to develop a formal project proposal.

Project roles

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

  • project manger
  • unit liaison
  • project sponsor and partners
  • content creators
  • subject-matter experts (SMEs)
  • approvers

Site planning

Background & discovery

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

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

Information architecture (IA)

Your site's IA is the road map for 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 user experience.

Learn more about creating an effective IA


Depending on the size and scope of your project, we may create a 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. 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 relaxing at home on a tablet with few distractions?

Determine calls-to-action (CTAs)

Each page or section of web content should have a specific 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

It can be helpful to do a content audit before you start writing and building your website. This will help you identify areas that need improvement. It will also help keep the information relevant to your audience.

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

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

For significant content changes, draft your content in Word and track changes. Once the content has been revised, it can be added to the prototype or test site.

Building your site

During the discovery phase we'll identify any technical requirements needed to develop for your site.

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

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 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 are used on "persuasive" pages.

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

Review, test and approve

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

  • information architecture (IA)
  • site design/prototype (if used)
  • specific content pages (as needed)
  • test site

User testing

Before publishing your new website, you should plan to hold user testing sessions with representatives of your primary audience(s).

User testing is an important step in any web project and is a chance to validate your discovery findings.



If this project replaces an existing website, 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 specific goal tracking in Google Analytics (e.g. number of clicks on 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 accessibility or search engine performance

Cascade access & training

We'll work with you to determine who requires access to maintain the content, set up permissions and workflows (as needed) and arrange Cascade training and a walkthrough of the new site.

Post launch

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

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