University of Vermont

UVM Self-help Web Guide

Planning for your Drupal site

View our new templates and notice new features:

Department homepage templates

This would be any department on campus (academic or not); academic colleges not included

College homepage templates

This would be used by any of the university's colleges (CAS, CESS, Rubenstein, etc). We are currently in development for another and expect this list to grow.

Interior page templates

For any interior page -- academic units and departments.

Best practices when planning for your main menu

8-10 items max

In the new system, menus will be hidden so as to offer a similar navigational experience on ALL devices (desktop, tablet, mobile). What does this mean? When someone expands/engages the "menu" button, it will expand to reveal the unit's main menu. You, the webmaster, can choose to have that main menu be expanded -- showing submenu items -- or not. Most will probably opt for expanded because people like seeing the submenu items at-a-glance. The risk people will run with this is that the menu gets long and becomes something visitors will have to scroll to see. Not ideal. This means that now more than ever your main menu should be 8-10 items and you should consider minimizing the number of submenu items for the same reason.

image showing menu examples
View this example larger

Consider using our new internal right side quicklinks feature

While we have never advocated menus longer than 8-10 items, we know people may do it anyway. We strongly urge people to consider using the menu's landing page to feature submenu items. In the new design, the quicklinks right sidebar area is more visually prominent and can be used as a way to link people to other related pages--like a submenu would (this feature can be seen in the visual above).

Another option is to consult us. We'd love to help you shrink your menu by brainstorming the use of more general main menu items.

Don't link outside of your website from the main menu

Not to PDFs nor to external websites. Nothing new here. It's disruptive to the user to leave your website and/or to launch acrobat from the menu.

Consult our recommended navigation

Are you an academic department or UVM college? We've done the work for you by looking at many, many other university websites. The latest research shows that prospective students gravitate toward language they've seen before. Don't reinvent the wheel with your menu -- use this and be on par with what the entire university landscape uses. Recommended navigation (PDF).

Plan for templated pages that are new to UVM

So far in the development of UVM's Drupal, we have developed two templates that will prove invaluable to you as you build. What does this mean? Instead of a blank page for faculty profiles, you will have fields that you can fill out and that will auto-generate a nice looking page containing the content you input. You can begin now to gather information for the fields that will need to be populated for the following new templates.

  • Academic profile pages -- specific to academic departments -- If a visitor to your site clicks on "B.A. in XXXX" he/she will find a page that is now generated by a template where you have fed the fields. This is currently still in production, but we are aware of what many of the fields will be so that you can begin gathering info for each of your majors. *required fields indicated
    • Introduction to the major*
    • primary visual image*
    • Admissions requirements*
    • Major requirements*
    • Related majors*
    • Graduate employment rate (within one year)
    • Median starting salary
    • Concentrations
    • Popular courses
    • Faculty and image
    • Career choices relevant to major
    • Graduate schools
    • Where alumni work
    • Beyond the classroom
  • Faculty/staff/employee profile pages and list page -- for any unit -- much like our "old" system's suggested template page for profiles/contact, we will now provide you with a templated page whereby all you have to do is fill out fields. In addition to planning for the fields, notice the new image sizes that you can begin to size/gather. View image for design and fields.
  • We're hoping to offer more pages with input fields like these as time goes on.

Plan for images

You may need all new images and/or sizes for your transition into Drupal. We have marked on the templates what these image sizes will be so that you can begin finding new images or resizing old favorites. We always suggest that you consult the UVM Photo Services website where you can find fresh photos for a small fee or you can consult our free image libraries -- library 1 and library 2. When you attend a Drupal training session, we will walk you through the curated Drupal image library where you'll be able to choose from a number of banner images for your homepage.

Plan for your homepage

A department homepage is an opportunity for units to highlight some of the information most important to that unit in this most valuable landing page--knowing that nothing should be featured on the homepage that can't be found deeper within the site's navigation. Remember that once someone leaves a homepage, they will rely on the site's navigation for direction. So if a guiding principle of the English Department is "Study Abroad," consider featuring it on the homepage as well as adding a "Student Opportunities" section to the navigation so that users will continue to find it as they work their way through the site. The homepage is a site's front door and details should be kept to a minimum, offering highlights with an opportunity to link deeper for more information. We strongly advise that you plan for what your homepage content will be first, then let those needs guide which template you choose.

Last modified October 28 2015 03:50 PM