Category: Best Practices

Crazy Egg Analytics

UMC has a limited subscription to an analytics service called Crazy Egg. This is a great tool to use in conjunction with Google Analytics that can give visual information about user habits on a single page. The reports include a heatmap of user clicks, a scrollmap of how far down the page users are scrolling, confetti showing specific clicks with a secondary dimension, and an overlay option that provides even more details.

Since Crazy Egg is set up on a page-by-page basis it is better suited for your most important pages, such as homepages, and you do have to plan ahead as it must be set to begin gathering data and then runs for up to 60 days. It is a bit harder to use this tool for historical comparisons but is a great tool to use in advance of a site or homepage redesign.

Building a New Website

Omni CMS is available for certain Michigan Tech websites including Tech Forward initiatives, academic departments, administrative departments, official research centers and institutes, and research initiatives/groups/units. All sites within Omni CMS are required to designate at least one web liaison to manage the daily maintenance of the site. At least one backup editor is recommended.

New websites are built in a test environment, within an ou- directory. This will allow the site to be published throughout the build process so stakeholders can preview and approve the site before going live. Sites within the ou- directory can only be accessed with the direct link and are not searchable.

Web Liaison Role

Each Omni CMS website is required to have at least one designated web liaison to manage the daily maintenance of the site. The liaison is the main contact for the website for suggested edits, corrections, accessibility, etc. They also manage access requests. When a liaison is not designated, the dean, department head, or chair may be contacted in their place and is able to request access and perform other roles of the liaison.

Organic Audits

University Marketing and Communications (UMC) conducts courtesy organic optimization audits for websites within Omni CMS. Our goal is to guide departments in polishing their web content with an end result of attracting prospective students to the university or meeting other strategic goals.

The audit conducted by UMC reviews key best practices for the various parts of our websites to identify areas for improvement. We have an internal checklist for our staff to use when auditing a site that we review with you after the audit is completed. A link to a shorter, self-audit organic checklist is also available for you to use.

Designated web liaisons can use the Organic Audit Request Form to request an audit. Audits are done in the order that requests are received, as project workload allows, and could take place a couple months after the request is placed. A project manager will contact you once we are ready to begin your audit to learn more about your goals and set up a kick-off meeting. Once started, the audit should be completed and recommendations provided within two weeks. It would be up to you, the liaison, to implement those recommendations.

Page or Site Redirects

Redirects are important when webpage URLs change on your website. There are many reasons why this could happen:

  1. your site’s root folder name may need to change because your department is going through a name change
  2. you may change the name of a folder or subfolder
  3. you may move a page, folder, or file
  4. you may delete a page, folder, or file

When any of these actions occur, it is important that a proper redirect is put into place. This ensures that the old URL continues to work for any users who find it or have it saved.

Recommended Formatting of Hours

There are many instances when you need to display hours on your webpage—hours of operation, advisor walk-in hours, and learning center times to name a few. The following formatting recommendations and tips for displaying basic hours will make them easy to see and understand by both sighted users and anyone using a screen reader. Additional formatting information can be found in the University Editorial Guide.

Sidebar with Hours title and example hours.
Basic hours of operation differentiate by time of year.

Sidebar with Make an Appointment title and text and hours in the content.
Basic hours with additional text.

Creating Headings

It is important to use properly structured HTML headings when organizing your web content. Think of webpage headings as a table of contents for a story.

Headings are not required on webpages. However, they help break up and organize lengthy informational webpages—improving readability. Proper heading use is not only important for accessibility, it also has search engine optimization benefits, which can help your webpages rank higher in Google’s search results.

According to the University’s editorial guide, headings are always title case, meaning you should capitalize all words that are not articles, prepositions, or to-be verbs.