Web

The style guide applies to only official university pages. Official pages are defined as webpages on a university Web server that have been created by the university, its colleges, schools, departments or other administrative offices. It does not apply to webpages created by individuals, such as students or faculty.

Every university webpage contributes to the user’s perception of the university. To ensure a unified web presence, official pages of the university should appear to be visually related in order to help preserve and promote the university’s brand identity and provide optimal user experience in our digital space.

As part of this branding strategy, it is expected that official pages will adopt and adhere to the guidelines presented here in order to provide consistency. Before beginning a design or redesign of an official university site, discuss the design plans with Digital Design and Development. Please remember that design approval is required from the office of Digital Design and Development prior to launch.

Style

Rather than attempting to develop a style for your website, the graphic and editorial style for your site should evolve as a natural consequence of consistent and appropriate handling of your content and page layout. 

Some things to avoid in your designs:

  1. Importing graphics or other elements from another website or print publication that you or your office did not produce
  2. Choosing an eccentric layout over a conventional one
  3. Letting the framing and background overwhelm the content and render it unreadable
  4. Using a heavy-handed design that intrudes on the user experience

The best style is one that the user barely notices because everything about the website is logical, usable, comfortable and visually appealing to the eye. 

Simplicity and White Space

Clear and consistent website design benefits everyone, but for some users it is critical. With a lack of spatial cues and with radically different approaches to navigation that must be relearned at each website, vision impaired users can get disoriented or lost on the web, and other users can simply get frustrated and abandon your page. For those with cognitive disabilities such as memory or learning disabilities, this difficulty is magnified. Use simple language, apply navigation consistently throughout your website and use clear design with minimal but highly functional page interface design.

Many users today have larger display screens and more complex graphic interfaces, making it more likely that your page is sharing the screen with other windows and desktop elements. Use white space to avoid crowding the edges of the browser window. In fixed width layouts, float the page in the center of the browser window. This provides visual relief. 

Remember that all design is management of white space. The white space around page elements is important. Filling all the white space on a page is like removing all of the oxygen from a room.