Greetings! Where did the first seven weeks of the semester go? I'm still scratching my head in bewilderment. I know you're all busy, but please take 3 minutes to read these important updates.
What's New & Good
- ResLife Website: We have made some fun changes to the ResLife website. For example, you'll see nice landing pages for first-year vs. upper-class housing. Also note the cool comparison charts on the individual residence hall pages.
- Academics Website: Using analytics and the Dean's Office to guide us, we have revamped the Academics website to have fewer clicks to academic department websites and more stories. Check out undergraduate research stories and faculty stories!
- Giving Website: We teamed up with Luther grad Nathan Dirks to create the new Giving website. It is optimized for online giving and organized based on feedback from user testing.
- Website Reviews: The web content team continuously reviews individual websites on www.luther.edu to ensure accuracy, consistency, and great user experience. Let us know if you are interested in a website review.
Writing for the Web
We spend time talking about how to write for the web in every training session we conduct. Here are some of the top tips:
- Write with a conversational tone (e.g. https://www.luther.edu/academics/high-impact-learning/study-away/)
- Write tight. Use only the words that are necessary to convey your message. Edit, edit, edit. Learn more from this presentation. (If you're a word geek, stop by our office to borrow one of our booklets of redundant phrases.)
- A picture is worth a thousand words—if it's the right picture. We do encourage use of visuals and graphics to convey complex messages. See an example from the latest alumni magazine.
- Write simply without dumbing it down. Visit hemingwayapp.com to check the reading level of your content. (These bullets are at an 8th grade reading level, which is considered good.)
Let me know if you're interested in having somebody from the web content team do a brief presentation on writing for the web for your content creators.
Events, Analytics, and Other Important Reminders
I learned at a recent conference that prospective students don't view event calendars as marketing. That's good news and an opportunity for us to show off Luther using events. Things to keep in mind when creating events:
- Make sure you have reserved the room!
- Review our events guidelines.
- Use the username of the contact person.
- Include images, videos, and any other content to make the event pop!
Did you know that Reason includes web analytics about your website(s)? Click "Analytics" under "Site Tools" in the left-hand menu to view the analytics.
If you need to make any updates to a web page, please update the current page rather than deleting and replacing. This includes changing the URL and the title. As long as the topic is still the same, please keep the current page. This ensures that the page redirects properly.
The same thing goes for assets. If you're updating your asset with a more current version of a PDF, for example, replace the file and keep the asset as is.
If you need to delete a page, check to see if there are other pages on our website linking to it and request that the site owners remove the links. This is to ensure that we maintain an awesome user experience.
Finally, remember that your site navigation is not intended to change frequently. If you want to highlight an event or some other temporary action, please contact us for call-to-action buttons, call-out blurbs, or other ideas for featuring this content, rather than plopping it in the menu.
Rerun: Website Accessibility
One of the strategic goals for the web content group this year is to ensure that our website is accessible to people with disabilities. As part of this effort, we have created a set of accessibility guidelines for content creators. Please review this carefully. We will also cover in future training sessions. Key items to note:
- Always add a good short caption to photos.
- Use simple, straightforward language.
- Use headings appropriately (to organize content rather than to highlight content).
- Make sure there is always a text version of any graphical element.
- Follow instructions for making PDFs web accessible.
- Web Style Guide: https://www.luther.edu/style-guide/
- Reason Video Tutorials: https://www.luther.edu/web-content/resources/reason/
- Web Guidelines: https://www.luther.edu/web-content/resources/guidelines/
Thanks for helping us keep our website user-friendly and fun to read!