Design Process

Overview

A website design project is a collaborative effort between CLA Communications, CLA Information Technology, and the department, or center, team (or individual) responsible for maintaining the website. The scheduling of design/redesign queue is largely decided by CLA Communications and CLA Information Technology, however feel free to contact us to request that a website be added to the queue. The project covers everything from purpose, audience, goals, focus groups, content inventory/audit, search engine optimization, design iteration, training, usability testing, and accessibility compliance. Depending on the volume of content the project is generally expected to take between five to six months to complete, though very large sites will likely take between six months to a year. On this page you will find all of the forms, tools, files, timeline, and other information needed throughout the project.

Expectations

The project is a significant commitment (for all parties) and will require the following from the department/center:

  • 2 or more people from the department/center dedicated to the project throughout the entire process
  • 3 - 10 months
    Timeline (6 milestones)

Tools

CLA Information Technology will provide special access to these tools as necessary throughout the project.

Documentation

Milestone One

2 weeks

Define

At the start of every project we help you identify the purpose, goals, audience, and key messages of the website. This is a crucial step in order to ensure the success of the project, and is a prerequisite to scheduling the project kick-off meeting.

Step 1: Setup Project Management

Tasks

  • CLA Information Technology
    • Set up access to Teamwork for this project. This is used for project management, task delegation, file sharing, and project communication.
Step 2: Kickoff

Tasks

Meeting

  • Attendees: CLA Communications, CLA Information Technology, and Department/Center
  • Duration: 1.5 hours
  • Agenda:
    • Go over the Website Design Process (scope of work)
    • Introduce the RACI chart
    • Introduce Teamwork - features and how to use it
    • Review and discuss the Web Planning Questionnaire
    • Goals for the website
    • Audiences for the website
    • Schedule Stage 1 Step 3
    • Set project milestones dates, in Teamwork, for the 5 remaining milestones
  • Next Steps
    • Why Study and Experience Map
Step 3: Review of Why Study and Experience Map

Tasks (1 week)

  • Department/Center
    • Add Department/Center ideas to the provided Experience Map
    • Think about what makes your Department/Center unique
  • CLA Communications
    • Share our existing experience map with the Department/Center and ask them to add their own ideas.

Meeting

  • Attendees: CLA Communications and Department/Center
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Agenda:
    • Do the Purpose/Positioning exercise
    • Review Why Study X
    • Cross reference Why with the Experience Map (for prospective students)
    • Explain user stories - explain how they inform choices
    • Schedule Stage 2 Step 1
  • Next Steps
    • Content Inventory, User Stories, Site Map, and Navigation

Milestone Two

3 - 4 weeks

Organize

Once we have a broad understanding of the purpose, goals, audience, and key messages, we help guide you in streamlining your content organization. The most important quality of a good higher education website is the ability to convey the information to the user in a clear and accessible manner. Often, this means creating new and improved information architecture and navigation.

Step 1: Content Inventory, Site Map, and Navigation

Tasks

  • Department/Center (1-2 weeks, deliver 1 week prior to meeting)
    • Conduct a Content Inventory of the current website
    • Write out User Stories (for future site)
  • CLA Communications and CLA Information Technology (1 week)
    • Determine the Site Map and potential site Navigation (see Resources)

Meeting

  • Attendees: CLA Communications, CLA Information Technology, and Department/Center
  • Duration: 1-2 hours
  • Agenda:
    • Review the Content Inventory and provide suggested changes
    • Review the Site Map and and Navigation and adjust as necessary
    • Schedule Stage 2 Step 2
  • Next Steps:
    • Content Outlines and Design and Functionality Questionnaire
Step 2: Web Design & Functionality Questionnaire

Tasks

Meeting

  • Attendees: CLA Communications, CLA Information Technology, and Department/Center
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Agenda:
    • Review the Web Design & Functionality Questionnaire
    • Discuss special needs
    • Compare design needs with navigation
    • Determine key pages to be designed first
    • Schedule Stage 3 Step 1
  • Next Steps:
    • Write Content and Design
Resources

Standardized Navigation

  • About
    • People / Faculty
    • Labs / Research Centers
    • Careers in ...
    • Facilities
    • (optional) Message from the Chair
    • (link to) College of Liberal Arts
  •  Students
    • Undergraduate
    • Graduate
    • Advising
    • Scholarships
    • Commencement
    • Internships
  • News & Events
  • Alumni
    • Alumni Stories
    • (link to) College of Liberal Arts Alumni
    • (link to) Alumni Association
  • Giving
    • Donor Stories
    • Giving Overview
  • Apply (a button throughout the site)
    • Learn More (contact form page)

Milestone Three

4 - 6 weeks

Design

The best design transforms your content into a powerful information source with an accompanying, but not overpowering, visual appeal. It’s important to create a friendly and interesting site that keeps users engaged and comfortable with coming back for information.

Step 1: Design Review 1

Tasks

  • Department/Center (1 week)
    • Write and deliver content (using one Content Outline per page and upload to Teamwork as it's ready) for key pages (3) determined in Stage 2 Step 2
  • CLA Communications (3 days)
    • Review content for key pages prior to it being passed to CLA Information Technology to create designs
  • CLA Information Technology (2 weeks)
    • Design initial concept for key pages based on the content

Meeting

  • Attendees: CLA Communications, CLA Information Technology, and Department/Center
  • Duration: 30-60 minutes
  • Agenda:
    • Review designs of the key pages and approve the design direction or determine changes to be made
    • Determine second set of key pages to be designed next
    • Schedule Stage 3 Step 2
  • Next Steps:
    • Write Content and Design
Step 2: Design Review 2

Tasks

  • Department/Center (1 week)
    • Write and deliver content (using one Content Outline per page and upload to Teamwork as it's ready) for key pages (3) determined in Stage 3 Step 1
  • CLA Communications (3 days)
    • Review content for key pages prior to it being passed to CLA Information Technology to create designs
  • CLA Information Technology (1-2 weeks)
    • Revise the designs of the first set of key pages on feedback from Stage 1 Step 1
    • Design the second set of key pages based on the content

Meeting

  • Attendees: CLA Communications, CLA Information Technology, and Department/Center
  • Duration: 30-60 minutes
  • Agenda:
    • Review designs of the key pages and approve the design direction or determine changes to be made
    • Schedule Stage 4 Step 1
  • Next Steps:
    • Write remaining content, design all pages, and build navigation

Milestone Four

3 - 6 months

Site Build

The site build milestone encompasses implementation of the content into pages on the new website using design patterns created during the design milestone. This is a collaborative effort between the department/center and CLA Information technology to lay out content in a way that is visually engaging, consistent with the CLA VBL, and meets the goals of the website and each page.

We also develop the custom code necessary to realize the unique design of the website, and any custom functionality, adhering to industry standards and best practice.

 

Step 1: Content Review 1

Tasks

  • Department/Center (1-2 months)
    • Write and deliver content for all remaining pages (using one Content Outline per page and upload to Teamwork as final versions are ready)
    • Secure and deliver photos/videos
    • Secure student testimonials (if desired)
    • Secure faculty bios and photos (CLA Information Technology can take these photos if needed)
    • Identify alumni stories (if desired, to share or secure)
  • CLA Communications (2-4 days)
    • Review new content prior to it being passed to CLA Information Technology to create designs
  • CLA Information Technology (2-8 weeks - 12 hours per page)
    • Design all remaining pages
    • Create website navigation based on the Site Map and Content Inventory created in Stage 2 Step 1

Meeting

  • Attendees: CLA Communications, CLA Information Technology, and Department/Center
  • Duration: 1-2 hours
  • Agenda:
    • Review the full website with all content and navigation implemented
    • Schedule Stage 4 Step 2
  • Next Steps:
    • Revise Content
Step 2: Content Review 2

Tasks

  • Department/Center (1-2 weeks)
    • Deliver final revisions for content
  • CLA Communications (3 days)
    • Review final revisions to content prior to it being passed to CLA Information Technology to create designs
  • CLA Information Technology (1-2 weeks)
    • Revise designs and page content, and develop custom features and code

Meeting

  • Attendees: CLA Communications, CLA Information Technology, and Department/Center
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Agenda:
    • Review the full website with all final content and navigation implemented
    • Determine final website domain (URL), if any changes are necessary
    • Schedule the following:
      • Stage 5 Step 1
      • Stage 5 Step 2
      • Stage 5 Step 3
      • Stage 6 Step 1
      • Stage 6 Step 2
      • Stage 6 Step 3
  • Next Steps:
    • Training

Milestone Five

2 - 3 weeks

Soft Launch

Once we have a working model of the new website, it’s important to make sure the content, design, and programming all work together to produce a quality product that provides an enjoyable user experience. The Soft Launch allows for all involved parties the opportunity to make final edits to website content prior to the official launch.

Step 1: Soft Launch
  • CLA Information Technology (1-2 weeks)
    • Migrate news/events/media from the old website to the new website
    • Ensure web accessibility compliance of every page
    • Ensure responsive layout of every page
    • Create a redirect map from the old website to the new and get it ready for launching the new site
    • Soft launch the site and notify the Department/Center and CLA Communications.
Step 2: Final Review, Governance, Training, and Final Changes

Tasks (1 week)

  • Department/Center and CLA Communications
    • Review all website content and report necessary changes
  • CLA Communications and CLA Information Technology
    • Create a governance plan - how to, and who will, maintain the website
  • CLA Information Technology
    • Implement all changes brought up as part of the final review

Meeting

  • Attendees: Department/Center, CLA Communications, and CLA Information Technology
  • Duration: 1-2 hours
  • Agenda:
    • Review the governance plan
    • Provide training on how to edit the website
    • Provide training on website SEO
  • Next Steps:
    • SEO Implementation
Step 3: SEO Optimization

Tasks

  • Department/Center
    • Search engine optimization (SEO) - page titles, headings, meta descriptions, alt attributes, anchor text

Milestone Six

1 day (scheduled ahead of time)

Launch

The most exciting step is revealing all our collective hard work to the world with a fresh and interesting new site.

Step 1: Pre-Launch

Tasks

  • Department/Center
    • Create announcements (email to department/center, social media posts, etc)
  •  
Step 2: Launch

Tasks

  • CLA Information Technology
    • Archive the current website
    • Implement redirects
    • Make the new website live
Step 3: Post-Launch

Tasks