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Relevance of Content

To produce the best results, you should consider a strategy for forming your message and your calls-to-action. Every aspect of your website should meet your goals to improve usability and reduce confusion. In general, your website should be able to answer any questions your constituents have about your service and/or products (e.g. programs, classes, events, activities, job opportunities).

To meet that goal, Web Services advises against poor web content strategies that create clutter and confusion such as Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) pages, Resources sections, Quick Links sections, or any other verbiage that is too general to explain to your constituents what they should expect on your website.

Web Services also adopts a content re-use strategy that entails any specific content be available in one sharable place such that multiple web maintainers can link to content or place on the shared block of content their website, giving the owner of that content the ability to update it one time for everyone's use. This reduces the problems of duplication, inaccuracies in information and inconsistencies in message.

All content should have a proper home.

Page Relevance

Content on a page should be relevant to the general topic of the page.

For example, a registration page might contain information (if provided) about

  • costs1,
  • how/where to make payments1,
  • how/where to apply1,
  • deadlines for applications1,
  • admissions requirements1,
  • testing information1, etc.
  • 1If it is duplication of content, such as having the same steps as the Business Services or admissions offices have on their website, then link directly to them for that content as needed.

Keep in mind, depending on how much content you provide about a topic, you might need to create multiple pages for various areas of the registration process.

Aside Relevance

Content in an aside (i.e. content in a block next to or wrapped around by the main content) should not be generically relevant to a page’s topic as much as it should be to the content it is directly next to on the page (in desktop screen mode). For example, forms for an internship can be placed in an aside next to content speaking directly on internships. Apply buttons and course offerings (like on Continuing Education’s website) can be next to the registration process.

List Item Relevance

While list items are easier to read, the reason they are is because each item is related to the other in a rather specific way. For example,

  • Program goals
  • Steps to apply
  • Different fee types
  • Definitions of words
  • List Item Relevance examples

Note that they are best surrounded by paragraphs that introduce them, so a visitor knows what to expect in a list. Content around a list can be less relevant, similar to the previous conversation about page relevance.

If you have multiple topics in relation to the main page topic, list items can help divide the boring nature of long paragraphs. As it is, Web Services encourages shorter, easier to read paragraphs. That’s where the lists come in: to assist and not entirely replace.

Block Item Relevance

Rotating News Blocks and Photo Feature Blocks are great for making content pop, but they are not the go-to for all content. The reason for this is especially for the nature of the rotating blocks:

If you are on a mobile phone and come to a rotating block, you see a particular type of content. However, visitors typically think the content on the next blocks/slides will be very similar in nature, so they may not scroll through the blocks/slides if they think the content they are really looking for isn’t there.

Blocks should contain content that is similar in nature:

  • Types of Programs
  • Types of Packages / Tests / Products
  • News Articles
  • Research Articles
  • Types of Service
  • Featured Faculty
  • Featured Students / Alumni

You should also consider whether this module is appropriate for the content it would have to contain. This includes how often the content would have to be updated. One block in Rotating News Blocks (and lesser known in Photo Feature Blocks depending on the content) kind of looks odd all on its own. If you don’t have enough content to keep it interesting, consider placing it in a Tall Aside Feature module. Temporary content (content that will be up for a very limited period of time) is not encouraged with these modules unless there is a communications plan and appropriate resources to keep it up.

You don’t want to scroll on a mobile phone to read all of a particular rotating block. If your content is too long, you should be able to summarize it or just use a title for it that links to another page that provide more in-depth content on the subject.

Also note the varying lengths of the paragraphs of content in the rotating blocks. Lots of blank space on blocks looks very odd. If your last block is the longest, your first blocks look very odd with all the blank space. In any situation where this may happen, you should consider using a Tall Aside Feature module for that content instead.

Slideshow Relevance

While slideshows are great for making a page pop and providing that sliding activity, they should not be a go-to for jazzing up a page or website with very little content, especially if all the links essentially go to various areas on a single page. Content should be interesting calls-to-action to more in-depth pages.

Testimonials

Slideshows cannot contain a lot of text, so even if testimonials are desired, a more in-depth page should follow. You could go various routes with this option, if there is a communications plan involved, but you should keep it consistent:

  • First heading could be something like "Faculty/Student/Alumni/Etc Spotlight", with the second heading, "Learn more about why so-and-so chose Tarleton" or something catchy about Tarleton that can be highly summarized
  • First heading could be a very short but catchy phrase, with the second heading being similar to the above or just the name of the person

If it is a "Facility Spotlight" or "Facility Spotlight: Volleyball Court", try to think of an engaging, interesting thing about the facility for the second heading, like "See why it is such a big hit!"