Academic websites optional content - Writing for the web - Web Team - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

Academic websites optional content

Academic department websites may have additional content specific to their audience needs.

Principles to keep in mind

  1. Our primary audience is students. Write and edit with their needs in mind.
  2. Avoid duplicating detailed content about centralised information and processes eg Enrolment, Admissions, Regulations, Courses, Subjects and Qualifications (CSQ), WhyUC and Scholarships. Link to the correct page or forms in central sites. Check your college website for information you can link to.
  3. Put the most useful and relevant content first. Avoid introductions and welcomes. People scan web pages, hunting for information. They don't passively take in everything presented on a page

Course Advice

  • Who do students contact for course advice? Prospective students see a Liaison Team advisor but they also need to contact someone on your department/college. Who are the staff current students should see? Link to their people pages
  • Rather than duplicate already existing information, check what you can link to
  • What central information is available you can link to?
  • What course advice is available on your college website you can link to?
  • What specific course advice needs to be written or edited for your department?
  • Central resources
  • Examples

Prospective students

  • Think about what information prospective students are likely to be looking for. Prioritise rather than have a page that is a bucket with everything in it
  • Include headings and information for contacts, location, courses and scholarships. If you have course advice link to that too
  • In most cases this page should be a series of clear and well structured links with a small amount text. Be careful not to duplicate content already elsewhere eg course advice and about pages
  • Don't repeat links to central or college sites on this page already included on pages such as course advice, courses and scholarships
  • Check for planned central events you can link to eg open days, Liaison school tours and career expos and campus tours
  • What additional central information is useful to link to (that you haven't linked to from other pages in your site)? eg UC Prospective Students, Enrol at UC, Why study at UC and Key dates
  • Examples

Other links under the 'For' headings (eg undergraduate and postgraduate)

  • Think about what information undergraduate and postgraduate students need. There will be overlaps and you may be able to offer one page for both called Students or Current students
  • Include headings and information for courses, scholarships, and resources
  • You may also need department specific information eg projects, essays, internal department policies etc, resources (handbooks, library portal etc), facilities, labs (safety manuals etc), undergraduate and postgraduate course coordinators, and seminars etc
  • In most cases this page should be a series of clear and well structured links with a small amount text. Be careful not to duplicate content already elsewhere eg course advice and about pages
  • Don't repeat links to central or college sites on this page already included on pages such as course advice, courses and scholarships
  • Examples

Seminars

  • Keep listed seminars brief (1 or 2 paragraphs of text max)
  • Include date, time, location, presenter and title
  • Make links to PDFs clear by including PDF and file size in the links text so readers know they are opening a PDF file eg Nanofabrication in the next 5 years (PDF, file-sizeKB)
  • Make link text to external websites clear so readers know they are leaving your site eg School of Chemistry, University of Birmingham website
  • See formatting links for help with correctly linking to documents and other sites
  • Example

Facilities (Resources, Health and Safety, Field trip information etc)