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5 Tips for Upping Your Web-Editing Game

If you're new to the web-editing process, don't worry. There are plenty of resources and strategies you can employ to ensure you're editing efficiently while maintaining your site. Here are five tips and resources to up your web-editing game:
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No. 1 - Plan your web projects.

Good planning can help you save a lot of time, reduce stress when the deadline is approaching and comfortably finish on time ... it does NOT have to be complicated.

Creating a simple project-based to-do list:

  • Review what the competition is doing for the same topic and gather examples of what you want to develop.
  • Determine any roadblocks or content dependencies early in the project phase. Identify and request additional resources needed to accomplish the task (Service Requests: Mar+Comm, IT, etc.)
  • Prepare realistic deadlines for content development, web editing, reviews and launch.
  • Develop an outline for your page content with the necessary call-to-actions (what you want the user to do) and address the audience's needs (what information the user needs to accomplish the task).
Consider creating a Team in Microsoft Teams to collaborate across departments and centralize documentation.

No. 2 - Develop and refine your content.

  • Keep it short and sweet: Letting go of details is hard. But it turns out that excessive details can become a major roadblock for web usability and having too much text on a page can overwhelm the user. Break up content into bite-sized chunks in sections on a page or over several pages.
  • Tell a story: Great website content is not just having text for the sake of content, but having intentional, relevant content that moves the reader to action. Thinking like your audiences will help you shape your messaging: 
    • What do they care about? 
    • What are they concerned about? 
    • What benefits do they get for taking a particular action? 
    • Consider getting a quote from a current student or alumni to create credibility for your story. 
Grammarly icon
  • Proofing for errors: We recommend Grammarly for web editors because it's easy to use and helps ensure your page content is grammatically correct and easy for site visitors to consume. Remember, accessible web content is tailored to elementary reading levels. Since the reading level isn't easily measured in most word processors, Grammarly helps tremendously. Learn more about accessibility resources here.

Male web designer working on a website's responsive design using computer and hand-drawn drafts

No. 3 - Form follows function.

A well-designed website follows the basic design principle that form follows function. The content should lead to how the page is designed, effectively communicate, and get the user to accomplish an action. To do this, create and produce strong content and then utilize these simple design practices:

  • Prioritize and break up content: 
  • Utilize white space: White space makes it easier for your eyes to follow words. It also provides contrast on the page. Put extra spacing between sections. 
  • Call attention to calls-to-action (CTAs): Use buttons to make CTAs more visible.
  • Integrate graphics: Use images and Font Awesome icons to give content visual structure.
  • Use color selectively: Higher contrasts make the text more readable but having too many items in yellow or too much of a page with black backgrounds can be overwhelming and not user-friendly. Limit the use of yellow to CTA buttons or accents. Learn more about contrast colors and accessibility.

Illustration of an arrow on a line with a person standing on the arrow navigating a path

No. 4 - Keep navigation simple and consistent.

Prospective students often look at and compare multiple university websites in a short amount of time to decide where to attend (this is, even more the case with advanced degrees). Do not be the university that tries to be super cool, hip and different in the naming and ordering of top-level navigation. Keep it simple and use similar terminology. 

  • Use a horizontal navigation on the main page and vertical two-column navigation on ALL subpages.
  • Limit main navigation sections to five-to-seven options and nesting navigation to 3 or fewer levels deep.
  • Consider organizing your pages by audience rather than content type if the number of pages is high. Want an example? See how Housing's navigation caters to each type of user here.

Illustration showing two hands framing in a monitor with an accessibility icon, a brain/cog icon, an eye icon and an ear icon to represent different accessibility issues and web design

No. 5 - Accessibility is top priority at NKU.

The United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division requires that college and university websites be accessible to all visitors. If your website is not compliant with current ADA standards, not only will you miss out on prospective students, but you may face legal repercussions. The Department's ADA enforcement efforts have helped ensure that people with disabilities can access websites, electronic book readers, online courses, and point-of-sale devices.

Learn more about ADA enforcement for Title II state and local government agencies such as universities here.

To avoid these consequences, prioritize these best practices:

  • Make sure your headers are tagged and nested correctly.
  • Use a combination of automatic and human review to ensure ease of access.
  • Make sure your images have descriptive alt text.
  • Create hyperlinks with descriptive text.
  • Provide transcripts or captioning for videos and voiceovers.

Keeping accessibility in mind from the start will allow you to design a compliant and optimally functional website from Day 1 instead of requiring you to go back and make thousands of changes across your site.

Visit NKU's Accessibility Site

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