Plan and structure your website


User-centred design

User-centred design is not just about the look and feel of your site, it’s about creating a website that’s focuses on your audience’s needs and wants, not the University’s.


Ideally you should gather information about your users' requirements (ie their needs, tasks, and goals) by conducting some user research. Please contact us for advice on investigating your users' requirements.

If you don’t have the resources for user research, try to put yourself in your audience's shoes when planning your site. We have personas (realistic representations of the University’s key audience) that may help you do this.

Website structure



  • Don't replicate the structure of your department as the basis for your website.
  • Don't duplicate information that appears elsewhere.


Well-structured sites help your users find information quickly. Using consistency to improve usability across the University web presence, some elements are subject to restrictions:

  • left navigation - the order in which sections appear in the left hand navigation:
    • Site home (navigation title)
    • Other sections, ie site-specific folders
    • News
    • Events
    • About (optional)
    • Contacts
    • Related links (links to other University sites, not external sites)
    • Non-University logo (where there is a partnership)
    • Social media icons
  • school/department sites - site must follow the standard school/department site structure. You must go through your proposed website structure with your faculty web officer.

Website content 

The following practices will help you manage the existing content on your site:

  • Check your existing content regularly to make sure it is still relevant and up to date; planning regular audits to manage your content stops your website from becoming out of date, bloated and hard for users to navigate.
  • Identify the gaps in your content; make a list of any new material you need.
  • Identify any content that is no longer useful; temporarily remove, archive or delete it as appropriate.
  • Don't duplicate centrally maintained content but link to it instead, eg studyaccommodationcity of Bristolmaps and travelcurrent studentsstaff.
  • Avoid overloading your website with long, text-heavy pages.

Planning new content

Making a plan will help you create better content. If you decide to create new content, use the content template (Office document, 19kB) to help you plan what will go on your web page.

The template helps you think about your objectives, message and audience. It describes other important areas to consider, such as, keywords and phrases to help people search and find your page.

Secure and restricted content

T4 Site Manager does not support restricted areas (ie Single Sign-On) within a website.

Find out more about intranets/secure areas.

Colour scheme

All websites in T4 Site Manager use a colour scheme from the standard palette. Custom colour schemes are not permitted.

Non-corporate (faculty, school and department) sites will be offered a colour scheme from the palette. Individual units do not 'own' a particular colour.

Professional Services and corporate sites will be branded in the corporate colour scheme.

Please follow our guidance about using colours on web pages.

Successful web development

  • Put together a web project team who can contribute to website planning, build and ongoing management. This team should include a senior member of staff, the site administrator and your local web publishers.
  • Assign sections and tasks to members of the team as appropriate.
  • Set a realistic work timetable and monitor progress.
  • Meet regularly to keep momentum going (you don't want to have to update both your live website and your development website at the same time for very long).
  • After your new website has gone live, you should still meet regularly to discuss and plan new web pages and to keep your content fresh and up to date.