Taming the Web
Wednesday, October 22, 2003
Matt Sumera and Peter Riemenschneider from University Relations
addressed Web development for University communicators in the Forum's
October get-together. The program stressed thinking about the Web
as a publication and considering Web users as readers.
In an era of information overload, the Web has become a dumping
ground for content that no one would publish on paper. We all need
to stress the maintenance of current, accurate, and well-edited
content on the Web. Our Web content should reflect the same compelling
interest that we strive to instill in our print publications. If
information on our Web site is not interesting but it comes from
us, what does that tell to our audience?
Our Web sites need a clear mission. Then we can easily set coding
standards, design standards, navigational standards, and standards
for content and quality that meet the mission we have set for ourselves.
Let us tame this unwieldy mess!
The University home page is a good example of this process. Peter
reviewed the process of redesigning the page, from competitive analysis
through multiple layers of user testing. The Web site's mission
drove the information architecture process: "One-Stop is the
place to get things done. The University home page is the place
to learn about things at the University." After walking through
the content areas and links on the front page it is apparent that
the U relations Web team has created a page that informs about the
University. It also motivates the University communicators to make
use of these Web resources to highlight events, departments, and
For more information on University Web resources, see the resources
page of the Communicators Forum Web site.