Making a good first online impression

Your website has about 50 milliseconds to make a good first impression.

No pressure.

Seriously, how do web editors know if they’re making a good first impression? For that matter, how do they know they’re even asking the right questions?

Does the website meet established design standards and follow best practices? Is it accessible to people with disabilities? Does the site’s navigation include calls to action to point visitors in the right direction so they don’t get lost or make an early exit?

For questions like these that may not be intuitive, especially for web editors without broad experience in design and content creation, the Office of the Webmaster has launched a U webmaster resources website, which is endorsed by the university’s Enterprise Web Advisory Council.

“The site pulls together all the key resources and information that we feel like webmasters across campus should know,” said Barb Iannucci, associate director for USS Content Management & Usability.

“Campus webmasters will benefit a lot from this. Anything that makes editing a website easier and more intuitive for them is a win,” added Emily Jacoby, website services program manager.

“I’ve already started sharing web pages from U webmaster resources with our new editors because there’s a lot of information there that I wish I had known when I was a new editor.” Jacoby served as the marketing and communications manager for the College of Social and Behavioral Science before joining UIT.

Three web teams serve web editors at the U. On campus, UIT and University Marketing & Communications offer a full suite of web services for Modern Campus Omni CMS  (a rebrand of OU Campus) and WordPress sites, respectively. At University of Utah Health, the Interactive Marketing & Web Team supports web content creators.

Iannucci gave high praise to User Experience Developer Kelsey Loizos who “did an amazing job” developing content for the site’s best practices pages. To curate the rest of the website’s content, UIT’s web team sought input from David White, UMC associate director of web development; Niki Pena, UMC UI/UX web designer; and Nate Tanner, interactive marketing and web director for U of U Health.

“It truly was a group effort. I really enjoyed working with the other teams on campus,” said Alexia Adair, user experience developer in UIT.


Here’s how the U webmaster resources website is structured

University web services and resources

This is your central directory for website-related services available on campus.

Policies and guidelines

Created in May 2001 and overhauled in July 2019, the university’s Policy 4-003: World Wide Web Resources sets clear expectations and standards for campus webmasters, creates consistency and reduces risk.

Best practices

It’s easy to get hung up on aesthetics, but considerations like cross-compatibility—making sure your website is easy to use across different devices and browsers—are just as important. These tips and tricks, tutorials, training, and more help ensure that your website is visually appealing, legally compliant, and provides a positive user experience.

Website registration

Please refer to this Node 4 article for more information about the mandatory U website registration process.