Brand and Style Guides
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Whether your organization is developing a new site, or migrating an existing site into NPS’ new Content Management System, Liferay, a handful of key concepts need to be remembered as you develop your site.
Leveraging the NPS Brand
Making your unit’s website look like part of the Naval Postgraduate School provides your visitors with a valuable frame of reference. The easiest way to achieve this look and feel is to use the NPS website templates and design tools created by ITACS and a committee of seasoned web users across campus. Not only will your site automatically look like a NPS site, it will also not be left behind as university standards evolve.
But does this mean I can't express myself?
Absolutely not! The NPS Liferay template was built to accommodate sub-unit branding. Used effectively, sub-unit brands should complement the university brand, and vice versa.
Know your Audience
The bottom line ... Find out what your audience needs and then center your website on those needs. Don’t assume your users know your internal structures, acronyms, and unique terminology. Focus the users' attention on what is important to them. Tell users what is unique and important about your unit, but do so as simply and clearly as possible.
Make Success Easy
Users don’t browse ... Rather, they are quite purposeful in their intent when visiting your site. In that regard, do everything you can to make their visit successful!
A few goals to remember when conceptualizing your site:
- Users shouldn’t have to figure out how to find what they’re looking for.
- Don’t reinvent the wheel. Use established conventions — in labeling, layout, and function — that are familiar to your users.
- Establish a logical hierarchy of information with similar information clearly grouped for easy consumption. Your site should be available and easily comprehensible from the main navigation.
- The navigation should present the minimum necessary number of choices with short, yet descriptive labels.
Be Consistent, Clear and Concise
This concept applies to every aspect of your site. Your writing should be clear, free of jargon, and no longer than it has to be ... If you feel more detail should be made available, it’s easy to do so “on demand.”
Be consistent across your site in terminology, labels, layout and positioning, style, and navigation. Avoid visual clutter that will keep the users from getting to what they want to see. All images, graphics, and design elements should appear for a reason, and add to the user’s experience.
For information on required considerations for accessibility, see: W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0