NC State Web Site Principles

Filed under Web
06.19.2009

NC State University Web sites and pages should be developed with the following principles in mind:

User-centric design
Through every step of Web design and development, consider the needs, goals and expectations of your site’s users. Clearly define and prioritize your audiences. Then design the content, layout, organization, navigation, structure and functionality for those audiences.

Brand consistency
Make sure your users know your site is part of NC State. Design Web sites in such a way that every element of the site supports the university brand. Use the Brand Book to guide the online creative process.

Strong content
Content is the heart and soul of every Web site. Without it, most sites wouldn’t exist. Create content that is engaging, interesting, up-to-date, accurate, on-brand and most importantly, relevant and valuable to your audiences.

Usability
Think about what your users want from your site. Consider how they want it to work, what words and language resonate and what information is most important to them. Make every element of the site intuitive for your users (not just for the site’s designers or department heads).

Sound visual design
Most people prefer attractive sites, but they must also be functional. Good design comes from thoughtful use of the university’s color palette, white space and typography while also positioning and leveraging existing Web conventions.

Structural markup
Keep design and content separate. Write Web code that presents a site’s information in a structured, organized and intentional way, and use CSS to lay out the content.

Accessibility (section 508 compliance)
Like our university, our users are diverse. Site content needs to be accessible and useful to all of those users. NC State is committed to delivering accessible Web sites, and requires that sites comply with requirements outlined in section 508 of the United States government’s Rehabilitation Act.

Sustainability
Keeping sites fresh and accurate requires consistent updates, revisions and modifications. Sites should be built for simple, efficient management and evolution. Web management tools should be chosen based on the needs of the sites’ managers and contributors, not simply the Web developers or programmers.