When creating a new page or site, always begin with a content-first approach.
- Focus on content first. Ensure your message is structured and presented in a clear, logical manner.
- Use the design components provided within Sitecore.
- Keep website layouts as consistent as possible.
- Refer to SMU's brand guidelines for imagery and copy. Colors and fonts are set within the templates.
- Follow OIT's best practices for SEO and accessibility.
You have limited time to the capture attention of people visiting your page, especially on landing pages.
Eye tracking studies show people begin scanning landing pages almost immediately, starting with the site header and moving through the rest of the site quickly, scanning from left to right, and top to bottom. People also quickly begin scrolling. The concept of having content "above the fold" is not as relevant as it once was. If a visitor does not find what they need quickly in the body of a page, they will often return to the top and spend more time reviewing the navigation menu.
Well-formed headings and bulleted lists will generate the most interest.
Further reading on eye-tracking studies: https://www.nngroup.com/articles/text-scanning-patterns-eyetracking/
Because of the way people scan through your content, it is important to ensure your site content is easy to read at a high level.
These guidelines will help ensure your content is easy to browse. They will also help with SEO.
- Use headings to break your content into sections. This makes your content easier to read, and it aids with web accessibility and SEO.
- Assure your content is clear and concise. Your key message should be apparent at the beginning of each section.
- Use lists to break up content, especially if you are providing instructions with multiple steps.
- Use descriptive text when linking content.
- Write for your intended audience. Avoid acronyms or technical jargon.
- Keep your design and layout simple.
- Present information in a logical, straightforward fashion.
- Reduce cognitive load by limiting the use of interactive features, such as slideshows, tabs, and accordions.
- Ensure contact information is readily available, either in the footer or from a link in your navigation menu.