Content strategy for webpages

This is a strategy document for all employees who create content on NTNU's web pages as well as managers responsible for content and resources.

Norsk versjon - Innholdsstrategi for web

Topic page about IT-services |  Pages labeled with web

About this strategy

This strategy should act like a GPS; it should direct us from where we are now to where we want to be in the future. It especially focuses on content that is important for NTNU and applies both to NTNU's external webpages and intranet. This includes smartphones, tablets, etc, as well as the use of social medias. The strategy applies to both Norwegian and English content.

Also see the guide for employees creating content on NTNU's web. This is a detailed checklist and an overview of the recommend processes to go through when you create and maintain content for NTNU.

What is content? Content is mainly text, pictures, graphics, videos and sounds clip that - everything from which the user derives meaning. Text is still dominating on the net. We search with text, and text evens helps us decide what video we want to see. Therefore this strategy, especially this guide, is about text. Good content is also defined by meta information that describes the content, such as tags, optimization for search and alternate text for images.

Where we are going

(goals and tools for achieving them)

There is a wide variety of users that need information and wish to communicate with NTNU. There are international and local groups of users, as well as those already as the university. Large and important groups of users are potential students, for from inside and outside of Norway. Small, yet important, groups of users are potential guest researchers in prestigious international research environments.

Providing the tools needed for users to find the information the solve their problems on their own saves resources, both for the users and for NTNU. Useful and efficient content makes users happy. This contributes to NTNU's reputation as a serious institution in competition with other research and education institutions.

The content should contribute to NTNU's strategic goals in research, education, innovation, communication and internal communication. The webpages have their most important function at the intersection between these goals and common user problems. High content quality is integral for several of these goals. This applies to:

  • Recruiting students
  • Recruiting researchers
  • Profiling NTNU's areas of strength to potential international allies.
  • Supporting the work of existing students and employees

The three main goals

We have identified, based on the present situation, three main goals that everyone working on critical content should be aware of:

  1. Users in focus: It should be easy to find, understand and user content. Content should be relevant and current. Users should experience a good and efficient workflow. The content should follow the principles of universal design.
  2. Efficient organization: Critical content should be identified as such. Work on content shouldn't be limited by organizational framework. To achieve a holistic user perspective it is a good idea to work on content in teams of people from different units. Responsibility for the content should be clearly distributed.
  3. The content should support NTNU's strategic goals: The content and prioritizing work on content should support
    1. NTNU's strategy 2011-2020: Knowledge for a better world.
    2. NTNU's communication strategy (pending)

How to meet our goals

Organizing the work on content

A web team should be during the course of 2011. The team is responsible for making sure that work on content flows well in the organization, and has a special responsibility for coordinating critical content.

Note that we are finalizing the principles for the web team during fall 2011.

Content that has to be quality assured

The most frequently used content should be identified by the content teams and then reworked and quality assured by professional content producers. Such content is:

  • Programs of study and courses
  • Areas of research
  • Information about NTNU, Trondheim and Norway for potential guest researchers
  • Important processes that affect a lot of people, such as finding people, travel expense accounts, emergency management, room reservation, etc.

Content should be thematically sorted

Users should not need to know NTNU's organization to find the services and content they are looking for. They should not have to visit the website of an institute to find research news or an administrative unit to find services available to all.

  • Important content that needs to reach many should be structured thematically and tagged.
  • All of the theme pages (for example 'travel', 'exams', etc) should be maintained by the content teams assigned to each theme by need.
  • A thematization of content requires cooperation of content producers across the organization.
  • Innsida is structured by themes. This has consequences for the external web pages, as they have to restructure their templates and information architecture in cooperation with the Innsida project.

Content must be considered as an ecosystem, and not only as published material

Strategy (needs) > plan > create > publish > maintain/revise/delete - content is not left alone after publication.

The ecosystem - the principle of content life cycles

Should this entire graphic be translated?

  • When new content is published, the assignment of maintaining the content must simultaneously be delegated.
  • A calendar should be made that shows what content should and place and updated at what time of year. In this way the content will be ready when the users need it.
  • The most used content should be the most well maintained content.
  • A tool should be obtained to assess the quality of content.
  • A system needs to be made for archiving content that isn't to be deleted. This applies to conferences, etc.

Content as an ecosystem (Wikipedia).

Internal vs external content

NTNU aims to be an open organization. This doesn't, however, men that a maximum amount of content should be available on the external web pages.

  • Typical types of content that don't need be on the external web pages include anything with internal target audiences, such as the names of applications, economic details, work between employees, etc. The content teams should evaluate what is appropriate.
  • Content and services such as external webpages and intranet must be developed together.

New medias requires tailored content

The use of mobile phones and tablets to view content is increasing.

  • Some content may be suitable for mobile applications. This includes searching for employees and campus maps.
  • The web team and the content teams are responsible for evaluating different media channels as they are working on content.

Increase the value of the content through dialogue

Users should be able to comment on content and contribute content production where this is deemed suitable. This gives added value to other users.

  • As content produces, we wish to have open communication and an ongoing dialogue with the users.
  • On Innsida, all comments should be identified by name. On the external web pages, one can choose to be anonymous. Once in a while it will be necessary to remove comment; such cases will be discussed with the leader of the web team. The threshold for removing comments should be very high.

Choosing a publication channel

An increasing number of services offer ways to share content, either on internal webpages or through external channels.

  • Content is not necessarily seen by many if it is only published on one website. The content producers should gather knowledge about what other channels and groups of users the content they have made can be relevant for, and use this to spread and share the content.

Responsibility for content should be clearly delegated

In Web 1.0, content production is managed from above. In Web 2.0, we now have tools for the users to contribute to content.

  • At the same time, certain content in an organization such as NTNU needs to be quality assured and go through maintenance routines. Comment fields should still be available for users of the material.
  • The web editors has responsibility for all content. These people have the power to decide what should be on the website and how it should be designed. The roll should be performed diplomatically and in collaboration with managers and content producers.

The expertise of those working with the content

Not everyone working with content production at NTNU has to be full-time professional writes, but:

  • It's better for units to have a few people spending more time working on content than having a large number of people work a little bit.
  • Critical content should be reviewed by people who work professionally with content. These employees should have at least 50% of their position dedicated to content production.
  • Everyone who works more that 50% of their production on content production should, as of fall 2011, have this in their job description.
  • Everyone who works more that 50% of their position on content professional should receive an invitation to partake in a content production course.
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