The CUPID Website
In the spring semester of my year as a CUPID Associate, the main project was to establish the layout of a new CUPID website, create as much of the content as possible, and place everything using the Content Management System (CMS) web template. The website navigation was based on creating ease of access for readers, and the content included both textual and multimedia elements. In addition to creating write-ups for two of the CUPID projects featured on the website (the CELEBRATE! program and The Back Cover), I was mostly responsible for layout of all the content in the template and writing additional text for sections within the main navigation menu.
The CUPID Associates collectively identified a wide range of audiences for the new website, including but not limited to prospective students, parents of prospective students, English majors outside the PWR concentration, faculty outside of PWR, and undecided Elon students. To reach those audiences, the website showcases the academic value of work done in CUPID while also highlighting practical applications and the level of student involvement.
The visual combination of layout, text, and multimedia on the website is also designed with the audiences in mind. Before any other content was put on the website, I designed the “Associates” page using photos alongside the text to break up the information and increase visual appeal. The arrangement was later also applied to the “Projects” pages in the form of thumbnail images to supplement the existing information and pique readers’ interest in the projects. The images are large enough to catch visitors’ eyes, and text is next to the images rather than beneath them so the two elements remain closely associated without text being lost between pictures.
When we began creating content, I wrote opening text for several of the sections (“About CUPID,” “Associates,” “CUPID Lab,” “For Check Out,” and teaser text for each of the projects on the site). From a visual perspective, I knew the introductory paragraphs of each page had to be kept concise so they would not make each page top-heavy. I regulated the length of information so it would not be overwhelming but still conveyed the necessary information; this visually communicates that the introductory sections are good for summary, but the more detailed sections are farther down the page.
To break up information, I added more section headings to pages such as “CUPID Lab” and divided the text into more manageable sections. I wanted to make it easier for website visitors to identify any specific information they needed, instead of having to sort through unlabeled paragraphs. These headings also helped make the amount of information seem less intimidating and more accessible.
While it’s important to get all the necessary information out there, I know it’s equally important to present the information in a way that people are willing to read it. Throughout the layout and design process for the website, all of us Associates had to be conscious of text length and make sure we kept in mind the fact that a website is a primarily visual medium—even though we often had plenty more textual content we wanted to add to pages. Given the CMS template we had to work with, the other Associates and I fairly successfully used the juxtaposition of text, image, and other multimedia to make the content more accessible and appealing.