Overview of Features

All sites built within the framework have the following features and tools:

Ease of Use

  • Log in with UW NetID in web browser (no editing software required)
  • Visual editor with formatting options (bold, italics, bulleted lists, etc.)
  • Image and file upload; automatic cropping and resizing of images, with option to crop manually
  • Ability to delegate adding/editing responsibilities
  • Add items once and done
  • Printer-friendly pages and generate PDFs on the fly
  • Intuitive navigation, with top-level items consistent across departments
  • Site search and site map
  • Import course data from time schedule

Visual Design

  • Customized theme that melds UW branding with department’s identity
  • Colors may vary, but will be drawn from UW approved palettes
  • Header with UW logo and wordmark, department name, site search, and links to external UW resources (UW Home, Arts & Sciences, Directories, Maps, MyUW)
  • Footer with department address, phone, copyright statement, and links to site map, contact form, UW privacy policy, and UW terms of use

Content and Information

  • All departments include sections on People, Programs & Courses, Research, Resources, News & Events, and About.  Some have an optional section to highlight an area of signficant activity specific to the department, such as Study Abroad, Outreach, Labs, or Affiliated Centers.
  • Rich profiles of faculty, staff, and grad students, searchable by rank, field of interest, etc.
  • Info about undergraduate and graduate programs, summer study, courses, study abroad opportunities
  • Showcases of faculty research projects and publications, student success, alumni accomplishments, program innovation, and community impact
  • Links to related sites and organizations; guidance on funding and career planning
  • Easy to add news and events
  • Background on department’s mission, history, and governance
  • Buttons or icons on every page inviting giving and connecting with the department (social media, mailing lists, sharing updates)
  • Ability to embed video from YouTube or Vimeo or audio from SoundCloud
  • Tool for building online newsletter issues and automatic newsletter archive
  • Ability to import news from the College of Arts & Sciences website (more info)

Events and Scheduling

  • Events calendar with month, day, and list views
  • iCal feed so visitors can add events to personal calendars
  • Academic calendar dates and holidays automatically included
  • UW Alert Banner that appears during emergencies or inclement weather
  • Option to use Trumba (campus events calendar) in place of built-in events calendar

Interaction and Community

  • Share buttons on all content
  • Social media channels promoted throughout site
  • Directory with office hours and contact info
  • Faculty, staff, and grad students can update their own profiles
  • Online contact form
  • Newsletter and/or mailing list sign-ups
  • Donation form embedded within site


  • Mobile-friendly, responsive theme that adjusts to display size
  • Maintain accessibility for people who use keyboards only, touchscreens, and screen readers
  • Good semantic structure, using headings and lists
  • Minimum color contrast ratio of 4.5:1 for text and links
  • Clear indication of clickable links
  • Alt-text for images, labels for form fields, tables for tabular data only, skip links

Training and Support

  • In-person training for staff, including new staff hired in the future
  • Web specialists to answer questions and troubleshoot problems
  • Documentation and help site that will evolve to meet user’s needs
  • Best practices for security, search engine optimization, backups, maintenance, upgrades
  • Assistance in complying with university policies
  • Quarterly user group meetings for web editors


What's not included?

We have introduced new features into the framework over time (these are included in the list above).  The following features have not been added, but may be incorporated into the framework in the future.  Our focus has been on meeting the core needs of public-facing departmental websites, and we try not to replicate features offered by existing tools.

  • Intranets - Department sites are not designed to serve as document repositories or to house sensitive information.  There are no controls to allow web editors to restrict access to pages or files.  We encourage units to investigate UW-IT supported tools like OneDrive (with Sharepoint) and Google Drive for managing private documents.  These services allow you to restrict access by UW NetID or UW Groups memberships.
  • Image galleries - Although editors can add mulitple images to pages, there is not currently a robust image gallery tool. See Flickr or SmugMug
  • Transcripts for audio and captions for video - See Creating Accessible Videos
  • Advising appointments calendar - A few departments in the College use CalendarSpots or Acuity SchedulingCanvas also offers some appointment-making tools.
  • Room reservation calendar - See OneDrive (with Sharepoint), Google Calendar, or UW Events Calendar (Trumba).
  • Equipment reservation calendar - See OneDrive (with Sharepoint), Google Calendar, or UW Events Calendar (Trumba).
  • News and events from related programs
  • Automatically push news and events to social media pages
  • Ability to comment on news and events - Comments were underutilized and time-consuming to moderate, so they have been disabled on all our sites.