New web template created to improve experience for visitors

Improving the web experience for users and visitors to the York University website is the goal behind a new series of tools released this week to multiple York templates and standards, some of which include a new web template and style guide.

The new web template is a joint initiative involving staff from University Information Technology (UIT) and the Marketing & Communications unit. It provides a framework for the York community to leverage that helps ensure a cohesive web experience on their individual, faculty, departmental or divisional websites.

The new template showcased on the Communications Standards page, features a sleek, streamlined design and improved navigationRight: The new template showcased on the Communications Standards page, features a sleek, streamlined design and improved navigation

“The website is the University’s number one marketing tool so a positive user experience is crucial to attract high quality students. The new design complements the refreshed York University homepage that was launched in 2011,” says Susan Webb, executive director, communications & public affairs. “It has been developed with the goal of enhancing consistency across the website, it improves navigation for users and reinforces York University’s strong brand.”

Highlights of the new web template include:

  • A fixed banner to anchor the pages within the site so that visitors and users know where they are on the York website;
  • Prominence of red reinforces the University’s brand;
  • Different layout options within a three column format allow for flexibility depending on the nature of the webpages;
  • And, consistent guidelines for placement of items, including social media icons, external links, videos and promotional buttons.

“This was a real team effort involving an extensive review of most of York websites to ensure the template was relevant and functional,” says Bob Gagne, chief information officer. “We are really looking forward to working with the University community to adopt the template in order to create that cohesive experience that visitors expect.”

Available in HTML and WordPress template versions, the new template has an accompanying style guide for clarity of implementation. There are also tips on how to enhance a website with dynamic and engaging content, including social media, external links, promotional buttons, writing and video. Complete information about applying the template is found on the York Standards website.

Along with the web template tools, Marketing & Communications has also developed a series of fresh new PowerPoint template designs for use by University community members. The templates are available for standard and widescreen displays. “We responded to feedback from University community members that the presentations could be more dynamic,” says Robin Edmison, account director in marketing & communications. “There are three new options that are now available for use by the University. Each has been designed for maximum impact while thinking about the environment.”

Vari HallRight: One of the dynamic new PowerPoint designs now available for University community members

The final component of the new release involves the creation of new electronic letterhead which is to be used, says Edmison, when attaching a letter to an e-mail. “This letterhead is not intended for use in print. Everyone should continue to use the York print stationery to ensure the integrity of the University’s brand with respect to colour and reproduction.”

The web project team was comprised of a cross-departmental group of experts with skills in brand integrity, web development and design.

For more on the new web standards and tools, click here and log in to the site using Passport York.