Goals for DePaul Websites
All university websites strive to meet the following goals:
- Clearly display information for prospective and current students, faculty, staff and others within the DePaul community
- Guide site visitors to the information they need
- Maintain a cohesive look and feel across all sites (even though some are on different platforms and in various stages of development)
- Utilize branding standards and adherence to the university style guide
- Comply with ADA standards for optimum accessibility
Our college websites provide information for prospective students and supply key marketing messages. Our main goals are to have prospective students Visit, Request more information, and ultimately Apply.
The web is the biggest marketing tool for our colleges, so providing concise and accurate information is imperative. Content on the college websites should be simple and accessible. It should give prospective students an overview of the college's degree programs, their requirements, and information about how to apply.
Office and Resource websites serve internal audiences within the DePaul community and may have different goals, but should still abide by web standards and best practices.
Responsive Design on DePaul's Websites
Responsive is the latest SharePoint package for the university. It was created by the Development team in Information Services (IS) along with the Development, Content and Design teams in DXA. The developers and designers researched industry standards for mobile responsive design and spent ample time working on what would become the look, feel and overall usability of our Responsive package.
Keeping in mind not only forward-thinking design elements, but also ADA guidelines, the teams carefully selected the fonts, sizing, color options, layouts and functionality for SharePoint Responsive. In order to enforce consistency standards across all new websites, it may seem few choices are given for the default settings for content styling. However, there are many built-in options for styling, such as the Markup Styles menu, and the various web parts for modifying page content. It is important to maintain consistency and a professional look across all of our websites. We also use navigation standards across the colleges and offices -- so that no matter which DePaul site a user visits, they will be able to find what they need easily.
It is important to acknowledge the fact that websites are never "done." They are dynamic information sources, and as the web as a whole makes changes, we will continue to evolve with it. Keeping up with the way our site visitors use our sites was a driving force in our decision to go "mobile-first."
Overall mobile Internet usage has overtaken desktop usage in the last several years, and we've seen this with our site visitors. More and more people are viewing DePaul websites on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Responsive Web Design (RWD) is currently the most popular web design philosophy. It is based on the idea that websites should "respond" to the size of the screen they are being viewed on, whether it's a large monitor, a regular desktop, a tablet or a smartphone. Rather than maintaining separate mobile versions of a site, in RWD the content is flexible — it adjusts based on how a user is viewing the site.
Other trends we are drawn to are flat, simplistic designs seen in the most professional modern websites. A clean look allows us to standardize styling and easily maintain branding across entities. This approach makes the experience easy for editors using the system to create and display information, as well as outside viewers to find the information they need.
Our designers and developers created the Responsive package to be standardized and easier to use on the editing side while outputting a sleek, mobile-friendly design for viewers.