Web and Digital
Bringing our brand into the digital space requires much more than colors, fonts, images and writing style. These guidelines will help ensure that Purdue’s digital presence is in compliance with applicable laws and regulations. They also provide best practices regarding usability and search engine optimization (SEO) in order to provide visitors the best possible experience.
Look and Feel
Marketing is planning a phased approach to updating the Purdue websites with the new brand.
Website Phase 1
The first phase will be a minor refresh of the web templates available for use in Purdue’s Cascade Content Management System (CMS). The templates will be updated to render the new signature mark, color palette and brand fonts.
Here is a Department/Office homepage template with new brand updates.
Download for all sources.
In addition, it is recommended that any new web pages/sites be created using the brand strategy, visuals and voice outlined in the brand guide.
Sites not based on the standard marketing and media templates can use the new brand fonts by adding the following CSS files to their pages. These fonts are licensed for all Purdue domains. Please submit a digital marketing request, if you experience any issues implementing the fonts.
<link href="https://www.purdue.edu/purdue/fonts/united-sans/united-sans.css" rel="stylesheet" /> <link href="https://use.typekit.net/ghc8hdz.css" rel="stylesheet" />
Website Phase 2
The second phase of the web redesign will include an extensive overhaul of the website and migration to a new Drupal Content Management System. The purpose of the overhaul is to reorganize the website content with a focus on audiences and move away from the current internal department structure. There will also be an effort to remove internal focused content from the primary website domain in order to improve the user experience.
In addition to the migration to Drupal, the marketing web development team will also begin providing a branded theme to support websites powered by WordPress. The goal of supporting more commonly used CMS platforms is to allow for easier website maintenance and the ability to readily hire outside vendors to support development projects.
A favicon — also known as a shortcut icon, website icon, tab icon, URL icon or bookmark icon — is the little icon that browsers display next to a page’s title on a browser tab, or in the address bar next to its URL. A favicon is also used when you bookmark a page. Measuring 16×16 pixels, it is tiny, but it can play a big part in unifying Purdue sites. See below for an example.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Google’s mission is to “deliver the most relevant and reliable information available,” uses ever-changing algorithms to provide its search results. In order to find and attract visitors to Purdue’s websites, it is important that we build our sites and publish content that is optimized to be indexed and served by Google and other relevant search engines.
The simplest way to think about website structure is to imagine a large filing cabinet that is accessed by strangers who want to quickly find answers. Strangers are rarely familiar with the internal organization and are more likely to think about themselves and general topics of interest.
Content is the primary driver for search engines because it is where the answers live. The content should also be structured with titles, meta descriptions, headers and paragraphs. The title and meta description are extremely important because they are the two pieces of information under our control that are displayed by the search engines. The title should accurately reflect the subject matter of the page. The meta description should promote the page or explain why the visitors should come to Purdue’s page rather than the link listed above or below it.
As communications leaders on campus, we want to build a more inclusive online experience by making access easier. To that end, we follow several guidelines regarding web accessibility and accessibility policy, law, compliance, benefits and resources.
Policy and Law
Purdue’s official policy for electronic communication, which includes websites, states that all websites must be in compliance with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 with a minimum Level AA conformity. According to a ruling by the United States Access Board, all entities that sell to or receive funding from a federal agency must also be in compliance with WCAG 2.0. This requirement went into effect Jan. 18, 2018.
Compliance and Accessibility
It is important to note that there is a distinction between compliance with the law and accessibility.
The rules lay out a minimum standard of compliance. A commitment to accessibility improves the web experience for all users.
For example, say a person is typing a document using an application that allows printing but doesn’t allow for saving progress. That would mean the person must complete their work in one sitting, which renders the software usable but inconvenient. It offers a poor experience.
We don’t want to create a document application that doesn’t save, and we don’t want to create a website that is difficult to use for any visitor.
Improved accessibility helps people with impairments by:
- Allowing them equal access to information on the website.
- Allowing them to participate in and contribute to online discussions.
Any accessibility improvement, however, benefits all website users, not only those with impairments. Examples of improved accessibility that helps all web visitors include:
- Providing structured content, including clearly marked headings and labels.
- Providing text instead of images of text can decrease page-load times.
- Improving readability by increasing contrast between text and backgrounds.
- Organizing data in tables and charts using good descriptions and labels.
- Including video transcripts to make content useful, even in environments where sound may be an issue.
- Users who use a computer infrequently, and therefore utilize a mouse and/or keyboard, benefit from having larger, clickable elements.
There are resources for learning about accessibility and evaluating existing content. These include: