Jan 5, 2012
Ohio University’s brand is carried through print and multimedia as well as on the Web. Just as the first thing you say sets the tone and the last thing you say is what someone is most likely to remember, Web headers and footers can serve a similar function.
The header is the first thing a website user will see when opening a page, so it is important that it leads with an accurate depiction of the organization. Because there is so much energy spent on getting the most important information on a website "above the fold," one might connote that the footer is unimportant. My thoughts are to the contrary. Just as a closing salutation and signature are an important part of a message, a Web footer can become more than an after-thought, and be positioned as an integral part of the overall Web design.
All official Ohio University Web pages are required to carry the Ohio University banners with the University Signature in the top left corner and are coded to link back to the main site (homepage). With every click, the headers and footers are signals to our audiences that they are on University sites and pages. Over the past few years, when Web Services has updated sites or created new ones, the headers and footers were updated to reflect the most up-to-date style and colors. You may have noticed, on sites that have not been through the transition, however, that the previous version has remained.
On Feb. 1, all Ohio University web pages created in previous versions of Common Spot will be updated to the same look and feel. Visually this is one way to communicate consistently with the various audiences that visit our site. Websites and pages built within CommonSpot, the University’s official content management system, will already include the standard headers and footers.
Consistency is important so users know what to expect. Once someone is attracted to our website, that person will form expectations for the site based on what’s commonly done on most other sites. If that were not the experience, our site would be more difficult to use, which means users will spend less time engaging with our content.
You can view the standard header and footer here (PDF).