Student-Facing Content

Students report that websites are the primary way they discover information about a college/university and its program offerings. We want to encourage students to explore our departments and programs directly.

The College of Arts & Sciences marketing communications team developed new student-facing landing pages for the College and for each of the four divisions. Each division page links to a list of majors/programs. Now we would like to work with departments on developing student-facing pages that provide prospective students and parents with a compelling snapshot of what your programs have to offer.

Writing Support

We heard from our unit partners that it would be beneficial to receive help with content generation and organization on department websites. The marketing communications team is bringing on extra help to develop content based on research we’ve compiled on student-communications best practices. This is open to any department that wants assistance, with priority given to humanities and social science units who do not have their own communications staff. Please contact the web team at asweb@uw.edu if you'd like to explore this extra writing support.

Self-Service

If your unit has its own resources for developing content, we encourage you to rewrite the key pages in your undergraduate section following the guidelines below. Please contact the web team at asweb@uw.edu with questions about the templates, or for assistance with reorganizing pages and menus. We'd like to track how students interact with the pages before and after the changes, so let us know if you do make these updates on your own.

Templates

We have developed templates for four essential page types. We researched best practices for these pages and gathered input from students and advisers. The goal is to answer the most commonly asked questions in a quick and engaging fashion so that students will see the value of our programs.

In addition we've written some simple boilerplate you can use at the top of your scholarships or financial aid page to direct students to University resources. Prospective students are often concerned about the affordability of higher education.

Example Sites

The undergraduate programs content on these sites has been rewritten following the guidelines above:

Writing for Students

General Tips

  • Use plain language. Plain language is not dumbing it down - it's making the ideas clear. Avoid acronyms, jargon, and long sentences. For more on the benefits of plain language and examples, see Writing for the Web.
  • Ask someone to proofread the pages. This will help identify errors and clarify ideas. It is often easier to catch errors and typos if you print out the page for proofreading.
  • Keep in mind that your primary audience is high school students and parents who are not familiar with the field. English may not be the first language for some of your readers, both students and parents.
  • Follow guidelines about personality and tone and style and punctuation available on the UW brand website.

Accessibility Tips

  • Do not put information into images. Provide information through text on the page and use images for visual enhancement.
  • If images are used, provide succinct and helpful alt text.
  • Avoid PDFs. Put information on the web page and use web forms when possible.
  • Do not use “click here” as link text or type out full URLs. Use a descriptive, user-friendly phrase for the link text.