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Web Template Guide: Organizing Web Content

Develop an easy-to-use Web site

Great Web content organization begins with establishing a logical folder structure in Dreamweaver and ends with your visitors finding your Web pages easily and quickly.

In a recent study of Calvin's Web users, all audiences surveyed (3054 respondents) indicated that the most important factor in Calvin's Web site should be easy-to-find information.

Establish your site structure

main navigationBefore you begin your Web site redesign, set aside some time to develop a site navigation structure. Keep in mind that Web industry standards dictate that all Web sites should have the following navigation items on all Web site pages:

  • Home
  • About Us
  • Contact Us

Beyond these items, academic departments should consider adopting a structure similar to this sample Web site. The basic structure is as follows:

  • Home - basic info about programs, news, highlights
  • Academics - majors, minors, courses, forms
  • Scholarships - list of dept. scholarships and application info.
  • Experiential Learning - internships, research, student clubs
  • Faculty - faculty pages, incl. contact info
  • About Us - overview of department offerings, opportunities, etc.
  • Contact Us - basic dept. contact info

Items that can be added to this structure include:

  • Careers - careers associated with department majors, alumni
  • News and Events - news items, links to stories, blogs, calendars
  • Research - highlights of faculty and student research
  • Lecture Series or Festival - info about unique department programming

See the religion, political science, biology, psychology, sociology and Asian studies departments for examples of good Web site navigation.

For examples of non-academic department Web site organization see:

Create folders that correspond to your site structure

In your Web site folder, create a new folder to correspond to the navigation structure you determined above.

For example, if you adopt the structure from the sample Web site, you will need to create the following folders:

  • academics
  • scholarships
  • experiential
  • faculty
  • about
  • contact

All pages and images related to those pages within each Web site section should be saved to the appropriate folder. The main page (or "home page") for each of these sections should have the name "index.html".

Learn more about creating new folders »

Secondary navigation barCreate navigation bars that correspond to your site and folder structure

Once you have created a folder structure that reflects your site navigation, begin to create navigation bars that correspond to your decided-upon site structure.

Create a main navigation section for each of the folders created above. This navigation bar will look like that on the sample Web site.

If you have pages that belong under a main navigation section, for example "Academics," create a new navigation bar that includes these secondary items. See an example of a secondary, or "drop-down" navigation bar.

Learn more about creating navigation bars, including secondary navigation bars »

 

Use the Heading Content on each page to help people know where they are

The text in the Heading Content of each page should help your visitors know exactly where they are in your Web site.

For example, if your visitor is in the Experiential Learning section of your Web site, the first thing your heading content should read is "Experiential Learning". If the visitor is on the main page of the Experiential Learning section, "Experiential Learning" is all your heading content needs to read.

If your visitor is on a secondary page within the "Experiential Learning" section of your Web site, the Heading Content should be exanded. For example, the heading content on the "Research and Internships" page should read "Experiential Learning: Research and Internships."

Two items with one colon joining them is as far as your Heading Content should go. Additional specificity for your page should go in the Heading 2.

Learn more about Heading Content »

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Learn more

Learn how to organize information on your Web site using the card sorting technique.

Find out what Calvin's Web site audiences are looking for on the Web.