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New Cascade Site? Start Here!

Before You Build Your Site

So you're looking at an empty Base Folder and are ready to begin creating content. Before you begin, take a minute to think about the scope of your new site.

Who is my audience?

Before you create a single page, this is the first question you should ask yourself. Is your site a repository of information for faculty and staff? Are you providing services to current students? Are you trying to reach prospective students and their parents? Your audience is a big deal and catering to them will have a profound impact on the way you present the information on your site.

How do I want to present this information?

Deciding on the structure of your navigational menu is the first step to creating a site that is both easy to maintain for you, and easy to use for your audience. You are the expert on your content, so we can't tell you the best way to organize its presentation. However, here are some examples of ways to think about navigational menus and effectively presenting your content. Pick the example that best applies to you and use it as a starting point.

The services-based approach:
This approach is useful if your audience is mainly people who aren't familiar with the University, or are likely to reach your site via web search. Try organizing your site around the services you provide. Your homepage could ask your user, "What do you want to do?" and each answer could take them to a page that provides information about the services they're interested in.

The org-based approach:
Org-based sites are based on your departmental Org chart; each page (or section) lists the services available from that department. This is useful when your audience is faculty and/or staff who are already familiar with the organizational structure of the University and know which University departments provide which services.

The portal:
Portal sites are useful when you (or others) already have existing sites with the information you need to make available. You're providing a jumping-off point for them. An example of this approach can be found here: Our Student Portal.

If you aren't sure which approach is best for you, just ask us!

How should I organize my content in Cascade?

Once you know how you want to tackle your navigational menu, make a mental inventory of the information you need to present to your audience. Write down the pages you'll need to create and outline the information that will be contained in each one. This outline will be useful in determining the way you want to present your information and how many pages you'll need to create.

Do you have a very large amount of information to convey? Try breaking it down further, into "sections" of your site, each with their own internal navigational menus. You'll want to create folders for each of them. You can use the folders and the pages within them to create useful navigational menus for each section of your site, including your homepage and Base Folder.

Will you need only a few pages? It should be fine to place them all into the Base Folder. However, be sure to use a

Are you somewhere in between? It is probably best to place your information into folders, since more often than not, a web site grows ogranically over time.

Need some guidance? We're here to help!

Ok, I think I'm ready!

Fantastic, let's get started!