This guide will help web managers and unit heads begin the process of building a website within CMS. This is not a CMS technical guide; instead it is a guide for planning your unit's new site. Nothing should be construed as rule. Aside from very few standards noted in the Web Identity & Templates and the Web Content Guide, each unit has much flexibility.
The only required elements are the Tulane University logo (clickable to Tulane.edu), the green background, and contact information at the bottom. Having noted that, we still hope each site will share some consistency.
For example, using common names of links will make navigation easier for users. A user might not find your unit's list of employees under a link called "Office Team." If all Tulane pages used "About Us" then users could quickly scan any tulane.edu site.
Review other universities’ or Tulane websites like yours. Look for anything, ideas or even a single use of a word that could improve your site's navigation. Even if you do not like the look of an overall website, it might still offer an element that inspires you.
Use the Excel spreadsheet (webnav.xls) and rename it
Rule of 3
The spreadsheet is organized with three site subsite columns to reinforce the idea that your users should be able to find what key information within three clicks. In some cases, landing pages will be created at a fourth or fifth level. Keep in mind that users may be starting from the Tulane main site.
MAIN MENU or NAVIGATION BAR. Decide on your main menu items. You can either display them across the top in a navigation bar, or as part of a sidebar. Suggested 3-7. We suggest that you do not use pull-down boxes, as they are sometimes difficult to navigate.
ANNOUNCEMENTS (optional). You can build this section to post recent news and events links relative to your department. These pages usually will not have to be created but linked to existing links (Calendar or Events, unit-related New Wave stories, your newsletter, a new service offered by your unit). This element can be featured on all or select subsites. Suggested 1-3.
QUICK LINKS (optional). These are usually to resources that are relevant, often they are maintained by other departments or external entities. Quick links can vary from subsites or even from page to page. Suggested 2-5.
Here's a trick to make more available without overwhelming users. You can organize some on a subsite page. For example, you might have a link called "Student Resources" that links to a page managed by you and that lists selected tulane.edu and external links you wish to feature.
If you ever wanted to improve the name of a link, during a redesign is the best time to do it.
Public-friendly. Avoid acronyms and internal organization information.
Broad and appealing. Use action words or make terms cover a broad range of items that are listed/linked on the subsequent site. For example, maybe use "Ways to Participate" instead of "Organizations & Projects."
Short. Keep in mind that the standard column of the Tulane template can display on a single line a link of about 28 characters including spaces.
You can shorten the link by not using the words "The," "Tulane" and/or "University." This also will help users who are scanning your pages to find information faster.
In rare cases, it is acceptable to shorten the link name, as long as the full proper name is within the top paragraph or heading of the page to which it links.
For example, use Reily Recreation Center (instead of Reily Student Recreation Center – 31 characters with spacing). This does not apply to the names of the schools and colleges, let them display on two lines. NOTE: Shortening a link is different than referring to a Tulane entity in writing. Follow the Style Guide, especially for the formal first reference of units and buildings.
The next step is for templates to be made for each subsite. A template can standardize the layout or an element (e.g., a list of links) across a group of pages, while allowing for some elements to be unique on a page.
Main site (Index)
Your main page should not scroll, but be a quick and simple page for users to start. Keep it simple and user-friendly. Components:
All of the CMS content is edited and published within the context of the Web page; no downloaded software is required.
Types of Content
Security can be applied to an entire subsite folder, a template that manages a series of pages, each page, or down to each element (e.g., a piece of text or image).
Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 firstname.lastname@example.org