Great websites are thoughtfully planned out, and the Discovery phase and Information Architecture (or site-mapping) are key.
These two steps, along with the Content Starter Pack, must be completed and approved before a website is created in the CMS. University Relations and IT Web Services assist UBCO teams through the following stages.
The minimum requirement for a Discovery phase is a completed project plan. This document outlines:
- objectives of the site
- key audiences
- anticipated page layouts and/or components, and
- an environmental scan (3-5 similar websites for ideas and inspiration).
A project plan template and a Google Analytics report of past behaviour (if available) will be provided to UBCO teams by University Relations.
In some cases, a more extensive Discovery phase could include focus groups, interviews, consultations or card-sorting exercises to help develop sitemaps.
Information Architecture (Sitemap)
To emphasize a consistent user experience, UBC Okanagan has established recommended sitemaps for academics websites (see the recommended Faculty sitemap and the recommended Department-School sitemap). Research and administrative sitemaps are assessed on a case-by-case basis.
University Relations will provide access to an online site-mapping tool to UBCO teams during this phase.
The following general principles are applied when creating sitemaps for UBC Okanagan websites:
- Level 1 menus should be limited to a maximum of 4-6 items; these should be major content buckets that can accommodate multiple child pages. Labels should be somewhat broad, yet still descriptive.
- Menus should be topic-based, rather than audience-based (eg. ‘Programs’ or ‘Admissions’ instead of ‘Prospective Students’; ‘Community Engagement’ instead of ‘Community’). This avoids duplication when content applies to multiple audiences. Topic-based labels and page names can help optimize content for search engines.
- Menu choices below level 1 should normally be limited to a maximum of 5-7 choices.
- Menu labels, page titles and slugs should normally match.