Ohio University

Web CMS and website design: What site owners need to know

Creating a modern, flexible, responsive and accessible website that complies with current University branding guidelines is a collaborative process with three participants: University Communications & Marketing (UCM), the Office of Information Technology (OIT) and you, the site owner. Each participant has a specific role to play.

Who does what

UCM defines the standards

University Communications & Marketing develops web brand standards and helps site owners and vendors understand and use those standards. This helps the University project a unified visual message via websites that are user-friendly and compliant with ADA accessibility requirements.

UCM's responsibilities include:

  • The overall look and feel of the University's web theme
  • Standard layouts for the most common types of web content
  • Usage guidelines for the OHIO brand, including colors, logos, typography, tone and messaging

OIT translates designs into working websites

The Office of Information Technology is responsible for developing the tools and code in Web CMS that make it possible to create compliant, accessible web pages and for building designs that will work within the Web CMS technical framework. Our goal is to be as flexible as possible with your website design while still ensuring it is compliant with OHIO branding guidelines. Our responsibilities include:

  • Designing web pages that are compliant with OHIO branding guidelines
  • Planning and executing website development
  • Approving custom web addresses (www.ohio.edu/my-website)

We will make our best effort to guide you to brand-compliant solutions and the benefits those solutions provide.

The site owner approves the design

As site owner, you ultimately are responsible for approving the design of your website. During the design process, the following topics may come up:

Deviating from the OHIO brand

If you want to use colors, fonts or imagery that differ from established brand guidelines, such deviations will be considered by OIT and UCM. Final approval of any deviations will be made by UCM. Deviations from brand guidelines are considered an OIT custom service request and cannot use common good allocated hours.

Using an outside design firm

If you will be using an approved vendor to design your website, please let UCM know before any design work begins. Only University graphic design preferred vendors will be allowed to work on your web project. These vendors will partner with UCM and OIT when contacted for a project. All preferred vendors are aware of OHIO branding guidelines. OIT will also work with your vendor to ensure your designs will fit into the Web CMS technical framework.

Responsibility Matrix

The RACI matrix below identifies the roles UCM, OIT, and you play in each step of the web design process.


  • Responsible - Does the work to complete the task
  • Accountable - Responsible for correct and thorough completion of the task
  • Consulted - Provides input and opinions before and during the task.
  • Informed - Kept up-to-date on progress, sometimes only upon completion of the task.
  OIT UCM Site Owner
Create Branding Guidelines for Web I R/A/C  
Explain how the OHIO brand works, including colors, logos, typography, tone and messaging. Create the general look and feel and assist with standard content element designs, which may include custom elements.
Plan Website Kickoff Meetings R/A I C
First meeting with the site owner to discover design and functionality requirements for their website project.
Design Web Pages (Web CMS) R/A I C
For sites designed inside Web CMS, OIT will guide customers to use designs compliant with OHIO branding guidelines.
Design Web Pages (External) C/I C/I R/A
For sites designed outside of Web CMS, OIT and UCM designers will guide vendors on brand compliance, but the site owner leads this process.
Approve Web Designs C/I I R/A
Once the design is completed, the design is reviewed and accepted by the site owner. Once accepted and officially approved, web development begins.
Attract and Retain Web CMS Websites R/A/C I  
OIT's goal is to keep all OHIO websites on campus using Web CMS. OIT is responsible for ensuring the Web CMS offering is suitable and attractive for the majority of university needs.
Approve Top-Level Custom Web Addresses R/A C/I I
OIT guides customers to create short, easy to remember web links for marketing (ohio.edu/my-website). Choices that may be outside of the guidelines will be referred to UCM for review.