Steps to prepare your site for the new design

As you prepare your site for the new design, here are some important areas to review.

1. Navigation

The new design offers a combination of horizontal navigation across the top and vertical navigation on the left.  We recommend limiting the top (global) navigation to 1 row, usually 4-5 categories limited to 1 to 2 words.  Please reference the screen shots provided after your site review to help with these changes. Many site managers will need to reorganize the contents and folder structure of their site.  If you need advice on how you can group items currently in your navigation, just let us know.  Sometimes items in your first level nav can either be moved to the footer or featured on your home page instead the overall global navigation.

2. Banner Image

Each site will have the option to have a custom banner image behind the site title and top navigation.  Please see our site banner guidelines and a gallery of available graphics.  You can use our site banner request form to see if a specific image from your current site, a hero graphic for example, or another photo you would like to use, will work for your site banner.

3. Photography

Photography is a huge part of the new theme, so we are working on a photo library of UNC SOM specific images that you can use on your website. Take a look at the library, still a work in progress, here. If you have specific photo needs or ideas, let us know and we’ll work with you to provide new and improved images for your site. Keep in mind that a faculty photo session will be held on March 1. Details to share with your groups are online here.

4. Site Footer

The Site Footer is a new area that will allow you to put contact information, intranet links, and other content that can appear on every page throughout your site.  For most sites, we recommend moving your contact information from the left column to the site footer. The site footer area will be new in the redesign, so this is one area where you need to plan ahead, but we’ll ask you to do the actual work right after we transition your site to the new theme.

5. Portlets

Portlets are a powerful tool that will help you with page layouts.  Portlets can be added to the left or right columns, as well as to the body content of a page.  They can be added to a specific page, folder, or your entire site.  You can use a combination of portlets to create a page layout.  The portlet style will change in the new theme, but the basic principles will remain the same.  We have information on our web guide about Content Well Portlets, as well as Standard Portlets. We encourage you to check-out (see #8 below) an existing page or add a new page, but keep it private, so that you can try out new layouts with portlets. For help with portlets, just let us know.

6. Analytics

If you’re not already using Google Analytics to analyze traffic to your site then you are missing out!  The information provided by analytics is extensive and can really help you improve your site.  We’re already tracking this information for all sites hosted in the system, so just provide us a Google account name and we can grant you access.  New to analytics? Let us know and we’ll be happy to give you an overview.

7. Tables

One of our goals for this redesign project is a responsive design that adjusts to fit different devices and screen resolutions.  As we are reviewing sites converted to the new look and feel, we are noticing that some tables (especially large fixed-width tables) aren’t translating well to the new responsive theme.  If possible, convert your tables to a percentage width instead of fixed- width.  If you need help, let us knowAlso remember that tables are meant for tabular data, not for layout.

8. Check out/in

One tool that may help you plan for the redesign is the check out/in feature. This tool allows you to make a working copy of an existing page so that you can make changes to the page without the whole world seeing your changes.  This is especially useful if you’re trying out new layout ideas or completely reworking content on a page.  Together with history/version control, those features are two of the most powerful and useful tools of the web system.