Mason leadership recognized the need for university websites to look more consistent and to follow a common brand standard. We started with the August 2015 launch of the core site and have been working toward that goal since.
Existing websites on the gmu.edu domain
Full-time staff on the Digital Communications Team
Interns on the Digital Communications Team
Technical Developer in Digital Communications
Camp Digital Mascot: the Noble Capybara
Blazing a Trail for Users
In the past, each department set up its own site, leading to a variety of styles, formats, and messages, and the use of different content management systems (CMS).
In addition to inconsistent styling and messaging, our ITS Department was tasked with supporting several technical platforms, stretching their limited resources.
The use of common visual elements, locations of key information, and a consistent brand standard will reinforce the sense of a common identity, and make it easier for the visitor to navigate our network while knowing they’re still on a Mason site.
All our sites should speak with the same voice — the voice of Mason — while retaining their own unique flair and the properties that make us stand above our competitors. We’ll help maintain a level of uniformity while accommodating each unit’s individuality.
We also want our sites to stand out as modern, friendly, and easy to use. Many prospective students come to us through mobile devices, which makes text-dense, highly colored screens both intimidating and off-putting. We’ve made a conscious effort not to data-cram pages while still providing the information people seek.
Come One, Come All to a Common CMS
Mason is moving a number of sites into the Drupal Content Management System (CMS). Using a common CMS will:
- Enable a centralized team to manage the system.
- Implement common branding across the board.
- Save individual units resources and maintenance time.
- Allow the use of shared content, such as faculty profiles, program and course descriptions, news stories, etc.
- Allow the university to standardize training and support.
- Allow the university to provide common libraries (images and graphics).
- Save the university time and money in providing technical and user support and use of common resources.
- Allow the university to provide a common set of tools.
- Allow the university to share choice content across the network, reducing time spent on input, writing, and editing.
- The support of the fabulous Digital Marketing team.
- The support of the fabulous ITS team.
The WordPress system also has a part to play in Mason's digital eco-system. Until everyone can move to Drupal, WordPress will be a utility player for us. We're working on a plan to provide WordPress sites with the Mason "look," to maintain consistency across the university.