While your site is your own to do with as you please, there are a few things that every website should have to assist the user in their experience.
Every webpage needs a means of getting from one piece of content to another. Not only do you need ways of allowing users to move around, it needs to be easily identifiable. Make sure that your navigation:
- Tell users where they are - Users must know where they are so they have a reference point for adjoining areas or states
- Tell users where they can go - Users cannot go somewhere if they do not know how to get there
- Tell users where they have been - Users do not navigate in one direction; they often backtrack
- Navigation must be consistent - The rules for navigation and reference points cannot change or they become meaningless
For simple sites, these requirements might not be as in depth as they sound, and oftentimes UDrupal will take care of these for you. Regardless, check your page and make sure that it meets these goals.
Each and every webpage needs content! Without it, there would be no need for a site in the first place. When writing content, keep the following points in mind:
- Know your audience - Who is your webpage geared towards? Make sure that those people reading your page understand the content and can get useful information from it.
- Keep it simple - Your audience does not want ten words when two will do. Use simple language wherever possible, and keep your page focused on its purpose. Also, minimize flashing text, multiple text and background colors, or anything that takes away from your actual content.
- Use descriptive headings and bold important words - Using descriptive headings allows your audience to better know where they are within your content. Breaking up text into subsections with good headings is a great way to keep a user informed on what they are reading. The same goes for bolded words. These draw a users attention to important pieces of information, especially when scanning a document.
These guidelines will ensure your website is consistent and easy to read, which will vastly improve the user experience on your site. For many sites, including contact information and help pages is also a good way to stay connected to your readers, and allows you to respond to their needs.
Where to Get Help
If you would like assistance in designing the layout and/or architecture of your website, please refer to the Office of Communications and Marketing at www.udel.edu/ocm/.
For general IT assistance, refer to the UDel IT Help center by calling 302-831-6000, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have specific questions regarding web development or UDrupal, go to sites.udel.edu/dewd/.