Before you begin
Designing or redesigning a website can be a daunting experience, and producing a website takes time and preparation. Be prepared for the process, and be prepared to take an active role in its design and development.
Take a look at the steps on this page, and explore the assistance available to you at every stage of site design and build. If you have questions about any of MIT's requirements, or would like help with your project, contact Departmental Consulting and Application Development (DCAD) to set up a consultation.
The best results are gained when you fully explore your requirements.
Define your web site needs:
- Who is your audience?
- What would you like your website to accomplish?
- Gather and organize your content
- How will you host your content?
What key components would you like on the site (e.g., a mobile version, calendar, or form)?
Know your constraints and resources:
- What is your deadline/timeline for having a site up?
What are your resources? (time, money, talent, technology)
- Who will write/gather the initial content?
- Who will approve it?
- Who will maintain the content?
Review the Usability and Accessibility guidelines to learn about the legal requirements for all MIT sites.
Remember to keep the user's point of view in mind when you are ready to design your site. Choosing the right font family, size, and color is a very important part of making your web pages accessible. Test your design on visitors and have your designs reviewed by the MIT Usability lab.
- Accessibility: Make your website inclusive and usable by people with all levels of abilities and disabilities
- Architecture: Learn how to build an intuitive sitemap and navigation scheme
- Domain names: Decide which MIT domain name option - or URL - is best for your website
- Extend your website's features: Calendars, discussion boards, links to the MIT map - learn how you can enhance your website
- Google search engine at MIT: The MIT-Google search engine indexes and searches documents exclusively at MIT
- Policy: MIT's policy on the use of information technology resources
- Theme your 404 error page: Customize the look and feel of your "File Not Found" error page
- Usability: Make your website easy to use for your site visitors
Within the MIT environment, sites must be made available to the widest possible audience, and the MIT audience includes users with disabilities (visual, hearing, and cognitive impairments). It is a legal requirement that MIT sites be accessible to these users. Design and coding should prioritize cross-platform compatibility, usability, and accessibility.
Code standards help ensure that everyone has access to the information you are providing, and make it easier for people with special needs to use the web. For these reasons, MIT recommends that all web developers adhere to coding standards. For more on web standards, see the W3C guidelines.
- Access privileges: Protect your web pages with MIT certificates
- Add and restrict pages: Use MIT Google to control search engine results
- Cascading style sheets (CSS): Add styles for elements like fonts, colors, and spacing to your website
- Code standards: Ensure that everyone has access to your content, and make it easier for people with special needs to use your website
- Custom events calendar: Display events on your own website using the MIT Custom Events Calendar
- Displaying math equations: Discover the tools used to display mathematical equations in web pages
- Page redirects: Automatically re-route visitors to a new web page location
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) | GoogleDoc's SEO page
- Touchstone: Single sign-on web authentication service
- Web standards: W3C definitions of web technologies
- IS&T's DCAD Team: DCAD is an experienced team of MIT strategic analysts who can assess your website needs, guide your project, and work with experienced MIT developers
- Web publishing articles in the Knowledge Base
- WebPub: The WebPub User Group helps web professionals at MIT and beyond stay up to date on trends and news of note
- W3C (World Wide Web Consortium): The W3C is an international community that develops open standards to ensure the long-term growth of the web