Web user experience policy

Policy

Intent and objectives

This policy provides direction on how to support the business goals of the University by optimising the online experience for our key audiences. Relating to design process and user research – which inform planning, creating, maintaining and evaluating RMIT’s websites – this policy supports a seamless, intuitive and satisfying web experience.

Scope

This policy applies to all RMIT staff members who contribute content, design components and coding to the RMIT web presence.

Exclusions

This policy does not apply to:

  • courseware, including scholarly work, student work and learning and teaching materials
  • websites that have no relationship to RMIT (for example, personal or private sites)
  • user agents (e.g. browser and web content viewing tools)
  • web authoring tools not provided or supported by the university

Objectives

1. Ensure a seamless online experience that has visual coherence across a wide variety of sites and systems

2. Ensure an intuitive, easy-to-use online experience

3. Ensure a satisfying online experience that supports actual user goals and task completion

4. Guide the web design process in a user-centred manner and provide centralised quality assurance.

Policy provisions

1. Planning

1.1. Commence planning only on approved websites.

1.1.1. New websites must be approved through the New Websites Policy before detailed planning commences, in order to ensure appropriate use of resources.

1.1.2. Existing websites being redesigned must be approved through the New Websites Policy before detailed planning commences.

1.2. Conduct user research to create a website that satisfies user needs and supports task completion.

1.2.1. Planners must refer to existing user research, such as the RMIT user personas and the mental model, when drafting ideas for new and existing web properties.

1.2.2. Recommendation: Planners should follow the User Research Instruction to extend user knowledge when drafting ideas for new and existing properties.

1.3. Evaluate and benchmark for a high quality, best-practice user experience.

1.3.1. New websites must refer to competitor research using the Web Benchmarking Instruction.

1.3.2. Recommendation: Existing websites being redesigned should commence with a performance analysis of the outgoing website using the Usability Evaluation Instruction. In addition, the design solution should refer to best practices found in competitor equivalents via the Web Benchmarking Instruction.

1.4. Review content needs

1.4.1. Ensure that user-centred content is planned in accordance with the Web Content Policy and prior to drafting design solutions.

2. Creating

2.1. Work within the RMIT design system that is described in the GUI Design Instruction as the first option

2.1.1. Follow the User-Centred Design Procedure to create a seamless, high quality user experience. Scope includes:

2.1.1.1. New websites.
2.1.1.2. Existing websites being redesigned.

Note:

  • Exceptions may include websites that have a small audience.
  • Brand consistency is achieved on the web by following the brand-approved GUI Design Instruction, which were created with reference to the Brand (Visual Identity) policy.

2.2. Work on custom design solutions as a last option

2.2.1. When custom design outside of the GUI Design Instruction and IA Instruction are required, creation must follow the User-Centred Design Procedure. Principles:

2.2.1.1. Design is developed through user testing with actual end users, using the User-Centred Design Procedure and associated instruction to ensure that design recommendations and changes are made in relation to user needs.
2.2.1.2. Accessibility of new design solutions must meet the standards specified in the Web Accessibility Policy.
2.2.1.3. Quality assurance is provided by Digital and Customer Experience Strategy where required.

2.3. Build to standards that support coding and accessibility best-practices.

2.3.1. Platform selection must be made with reference to the Official Web Platform Instruction in order to adopt official systems as the first option.

2.3.1.1. Exceptions can be made with written approval from the Director WSIP and the Executive Director ITS by following the New Websites Policy and associated procedures.

2.3.2. Coding standards of all websites must follow the Web Accessibility Policy and also meet:

      • Accessible UI Development instruction and
      • RMIT UI development standards (Development standards TBA).

3. Maintaining

3.1. Design standards must be maintained with reference to the GUI Design Instruction to deliver a seamless experience.

3.2. Design updates or redesigns proposed that would cause significant change to the user interface or information architecture must follow the User-Centred Design Procedure.

3.3. Accessibility of content for the widest possible audience must be maintained by following the Web Accessibility Policy and associated procedures.

4. Evaluating

4.1. Evaluation is user-centred, and conducted periodically for the purposes of driving continuous improvement in usability and accessibility.

4.2. Design changes are identified using evidence-based methods such as user testing, in accordance with the User-Centred Design Procedure.

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