Common questions about creating websites
What’s an official website?
Official LAU websites require the approval of the dean or vice president of the requesting department. Their purpose is primarily to inform the public about the university. The following examples do not fall in this category:
- Personal sites created by individuals (faculty, staff, or students).
- Websites created for teaching purposes, typically requested by a faculty member for use in a class.
- Web applications meant to help a department carry out an administrative or academic procedure.
The Strategic Communications Office (Stratcom) prioritizes new website requests in consultation with the President’s Cabinet. As a rule of thumb, the priority is allocated first to schools, then admissions-related sites, institutes and finally to other offices or departments in the university.
Will my office be able to update our website directly?
Yes. In fact, you will be responsible for content once your website goes live. All our projects include tutorials and support on use of the publishing system underlying the final website. This allows website editors to keep content (text, images, multimedia) up-to-date easily.
Stratcom uses a content management system called Movable Type (MT) to implement most of its sites, including key sections of the LAU main website, such as the news and events, academic calendar, announcements and events calendar components. The same system is also used to implement school and institute websites.
What will a new website entail on my part?
Websites need frequent review and updates. You might reissue a brochure yearly without losing credibility, but a website is visited constantly and is expected to show current facts about your school, department or program. Accreditation standards also require us to offer complete, accurate, clear, accessible and sufficient information for people to make informed decisions about the institution.
Therefore, once your website is launched, you must see to it that your department is adequately staffed to maintain the site.
In addition, LAU websites should be professionally written, designed and illustrated. You may have to hire new staff or let current staff acquire new skills. Stratcom will advise you and provide training in this regard, as part of the project.
How long does it take to create or redesign a website?
You should plan your website several months ahead of the intended launch date. This is because several competencies and technologies are involved (project management, information architecture, content editing, visual design, programming, user testing, training), and due to the fact that Stratcom’s web team is too small to cater to the entire university.
Project timelines can be affected by:
- The number of people involved in decision-making and approval (one is best).
- The number of people that must supply data for the website, and their workload.
- The technological complexity and size of your website.
- The load placed on Stratcom at the time your site is scheduled.
How much will it cost to create and maintain a website?
All services performed by Stratcom full-time staff are provided free of charge. Usually, the requesting department bears the fees for web design, photography and content development (writing and editing), as these are services we contract out to freelancers. We will advise you of project expenses at the outset, based on the scope of work your project entails.
Once your website is built, you will need to hire or identify a website manager — the person who will regularly monitor the website, obtain updates, write or edit them, and post them.
What rules apply to official websites?
All official websites:
- Must have a primary contact who is a full-time employee of LAU.
- Must comply with certain visual, editorial, technical and accessibility standards.
- Must contain only authorized information. The information must be accurate, clear, complete, accessible and sufficient for interested visitors to make informed decisions about LAU.
- Must be stored on servers owned or controlled by LAU.
- Are created and supported by Stratcom and the IT Department.
- May not include advertisements for commercial products or services. (After approval by the executive officer(s) concerned, mentions of sponsors that support LAU’s mission are allowed.)