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Improving Your Website through Writing and Site Structure

  • Navigation is dependent on Site Structure and is set up to provide users with an easy way to move around the website.
  • One navigation item equals one top-level folder.
  • Navigation and Site Structure are a helpful way to organize concepts and content on your website.
  • All websites have two folders for special files:
    • /docs/ at the top level of the website: For documents - .doc, .pdf, .xls, .ppt
    • /images/ at the top level of the website: For images - .jpg, .gif, .png
  • Having a well-organized website makes it easier to maintain.

Page: Content and Structure

  • Don't "put out the welcome mat": Forget the welcome message on the home page.
  • Leave out the "marketerese": "People don't want to be 'marketed to'; they want to be 'communicated with'." - Flint McGlaughlin
  • Users skim a page for 10-15 seconds and "read" 20% of the text.
  • Assume users know nothing about:
    • Your organizational chart
    • Your institution's lingo
    • The program or department to which you are referring
  • Understand the F-Layout in web design

Format Content for Better Usability

  • Subheads, paragraphs, and bulleted items should start with information carrying words.
  • Don't use special font styling or garish colors; the website design is set up to provide a pleasant, consistent appearance through "stylesheets."
  • Dense text web pages without contrast and visual relief are hard to read.
  • Use descriptive headings and subheadings (Heading 2, Heading 3, Heading 4).
  • Use terms your target audience will look for, for example, Master's vs. Graduate when used to describe a program.
  • Users expect underlined text is a hyperlink; use bold to make keywords stand out.

OmniUpdate Support

If you are looking for OmniUpdate support, you might tap into the following resources before contacting Help@Dartmouth.edu:

Last Updated: 2/18/13