Taking what we have learned from the research phase of the web redesign project, our designers have created the first iteration of what our new template may look like..
Let’s go from top to bottom on this design. Remember, menus and groupings have already been established and the following is the first visual representation of those findings. Click the images to go to the development pages themselves.
Topic Based Content (Graduation Information)
The very top menu bar is our utility bar. This hold links to our most accessed online applications. It contains an audience identifier drop down which can guide users who self select a choice to the appropriate landing page which will hold content that pertains to them. Secondary menu bars that contain the search box and other highly accessed links appear just beneath this.
Visually, the ACC logo is in the upper right which is a common placement and a general best practice. We are still working on how our slogan Start Here. Get there will be incorporated into the design, if at all.
Our main menu links have been incorporated into a type of “mega-menu”. These menus will serve as gateways to our top-tasks and most accessed content while bringing many success geared content types to the top of our information architecture. These menus will be reviewed on a consistent basis so that users have direct access to the required information at any point within the user experience.
Large images that reinforce content will be on many high-level pages. These images will again reinforce to a user the content type and nature while underscoring ACC’s brand and values.
A left hand side main menu seems to be default but is not always the case in many new designs in higher education. The design team has elected (for now) to use the left hand side menu with the main content to the right. Our webpage is being built on a grid system so many new types of content signifiers such as sidebars will be possible without special accommodation. Typography and stylistic elements within the main content area are still in development at this time. All content types such as headings, paragraphs, charts, tables, lists, block-quotes, videos, important notes, and so on will have a distinct style, and will be controlled through the main style sheet. While placement of these elements will have some leeway, look and feel of the content will remain consistent.
Moving past the main content area is a kind of pre-footer. This area will hold links and other functions such as contact forms or knowledge base queries. The “Quicklinks” link section of this area will be incorporated into the menus and homepage components.
For now the footer reflects the very same links that are located within the main menus at the top of the page. This may or may not change based on usability tests. Also located within the footer is “i am acc” sub-brand and links to ACC’s social media presence. These elements are also in review.
Again, this is the first iteration and mock-up, so no style or content placement has been confirmed. These mock-ups do however show the direction of look and feel as the project moves forward.