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Getting Started

Our mission is to provide the skills and resources to develop an optimized website and consistent user experience in support of the University’s goals. Built on research, input and feedback from key website users, our digital properties incorporate the latest trends in design and functionality.

Learn More About Our Digital Strategy

Where do I start?

Creating your new web with the York2020 theme

Your area is participating in the website optimization project and want to learn the process. This step-by-step guide will walk you through the entire process from strategy, execution, assistance and development. If you are working with a approved web design vendor, learn more on how and when you should include University Brand & Marketing in the project.

Note: If your website content has already been optimized. Please complete step 1 then jump down to step 5.

Set up a meeting with the digital team. You can request an initial introduction by emailing where a staff member will return your message within five business days. In this introduction meeting please share more details about the project, scope, staff members or agency involved, and any other information specific to the project. A member of the Digital Team will run you through the checklist below, timelines, support available, technical resources, and general information. A project lead from the digital team will be assigned to you, classified as the DTPL.

If you are an approved vendor, visit this page to understand how to involve University Brand & Marketing in the process.

Fill out the content strategy template. This template will guide your decision making on developing the website. Before you begin to think of design, it is critical that we understand the user journeys and goals of the website. The template above can help provide key outlines on what you want your audiences to do and what their experience will look like to complete the website goals. Once this is complete, please share it with the DTPL. They will consult and provide feedback and recommendations (if necessary). While this is going on the Digital Team will create a staging environment for your new website.

When filling out the content strategy template you must consider what the main search keywords (recommend 5-10 keywords) are for your website and how they can be incorporated into the copy. This will ensure search engines can crawl and pick up phrases your target audience are searching for.

Review the Digital Experience Hub and Technical Requirements. This is a central resource that will always be available to you. It provides technical training, resources, and information to create a website that is optimized for SEO, is AODA compliant, accessible, and designed for mobile experiences. Key areas to review include technical resources, module library, general design rules, understanding SEO, and AODA Guidelines.

Develop a site map and wireframes for your webpages. Based on the goals, content, and journey you previously defined in your content strategy template in step 2. This will dictate how your content is showcased on the website. A sitemap showcases a breakdown of the navigation on the website from menu and links on pages to the hierarchy of the website environment. You can learn more about sitemaps here. Once ready to build, there are a few tools available below. Whereas the wireframe will show a visual representation of the layout of the modules, which were reviewed in step 3 in the module library. A wireframe is highly encouraged for main landing pages, with secondary and beyond pages optional. It is also encouraged that you use the same layout style of wireframe as a template for other pages. For example, all landing pages use a similar layout, all secondary pages use a similar layout, etc. (where applicable). Pro-tip: It is best to plan your homepage thoroughly, but deeper content (2-3 clicks away) may not require the same attention.

York has a standardized approach to creating sitemaps that align pages, follow our single source content, helps SEO crawlers, and make it easy for the user to predict where to go. To learn more about the strategy and standardized nomenclature, please review this PDF!

Get training on WordPress and Guttenburg Editor. Training can be found both here in the libraries training videos and on the Digital Experience Hub. If you do not feel comfortable after reviewing both resources above, please reach out to the DTPL, and they can provide some customized training on WordPress and anything specific to your website needs. You will also learn more about the web optimization project standards and other technical knowledge to help guide your website development. After this training if you still have questions, you are welcome to join our weekly drop-in session to receive additional support or reach out to the DTPL.

Adding content to the website. Put your training into action. You are now trained on WordPress, have reviewed the Digital Experience Hub, created a site map, and developed a wireframe for key landing pages, now it is time see this website come to life. Your DTPL will provide you and your team access to your staging server so you can start creating your website. Note the website will start of as a blank slate, if porting is required, please share with the DTPL prior so they can plan to train/assist in the transfer. During this step, use the sitemap, wireframes and content strategy template to guide your design and web development. If you have any questions or would like some consultation as you build your website, please reach out to your DTPL. This step is one of the longest in the project and can take a lot of time depending on the content, website, and technical requirements. When additional technical requirements are needed, please allocate more time to this step.

When adding content to your website you will also need to ensure you incorporate your key search keywords on in the copy to improve search engine optimization and have properly tagged your website. To understand more about SEO basics, how tags work, and how to creative them, visit this page:

Note - If after adding content, there is a module you do not see available in the module library that you feel would enhance your web experience, please reach out to your DTPL and provide a rationale as to why, the functionality, and goal. If the module is approved, it will be rolled out globally. Note if this occurs, it may take longer than the timeline of your website, so would need to plan a temporary solution until this has been developed.

Review your website. Now you have completed the designs, it is best to run some internal testing to ensure all links are working, photos are alt tagged, designs are as you expected for both mobile and desktop, as well as general look/feel. If you need additional tools to complete the review, please reach out to your DTPL. Before proceeding, ensure you have done all the technical updates necessary including but not limited to: SEO optimizer (Yoast) and AODA Compliance scanner for review. More information on all the steps can be found on the technical requirements page.

You are ready to launch your website. Now you must share the final staging environment with your DTPL to review. They will evaluate the website and provide feedback related to brand alignment, best practices, SEO, AODA compliance, accessibility, and much more. Expect this feedback to take up to ten business days before receiving feedback, as multiple internal stakeholders may require insight including brand and UIT teams. Once complete, they will share the feedback to implement. This could include both required adjustments and recommended adjustments, depending on the website. Once this has bee completed, please update the DTPL on the updates for final review.

Publishing your website. This will be handled by UIT with guidance from the DTPL. They will ensure the proper URL is present, redirects have been implemented, and other technical considerations complete. This must be given to your DTPL no later than the Wednesday of each week, to be published the following Monday. If there is a holiday, it will move to the next business day. Once this is published the DTPL will send you a confirmation email.

Ongoing maintenance. Now that you have your newly optimized website, it is critical that you continue to update to ensure content and information is still relevant and accurate. The Digital Team is constantly evolving the website to comply with government and design regulations as well as build new modules to enhance experience/design. Expect regular updates on website developments that may require action on the web coordinators end. As you continue to evolve your website, if you have any additional questions, you can join the weekly drop-in session or reach out to your DTPL.

Tools for mapping your web layout

UX wireframe tool

Visual sitemap tool

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Need help?

Not finding what you are looking for, want to suggest improvements, request additional features, or need technical assistance? We are here to support you!