The UNM Web advisory committee creates and recommends policies pertaining to the Web, explores initiatives and strategies, and receives and reviews suggestions for changes and improvements to UNM sites. The committee has representatives from across campus. The committee, which was created by President David Schmidly to develop a vision for UNM's Web presence, advises the university community on functional design as well as ways to archive content, improve communication and cooperate with all stakeholders in Web responsibility.

"We want UNM's Web presence to establish and reinforce the institutional image. We also want our sites to be easy access to information, while adhering to international standards for accessibility," said Mike Kelly, committee chair. "Policies are in place so that people understand websites and think about what features need to be in place to be identified as a UNM site," Kelly said, adding that effective and information rich sites allow users to navigate virtual UNM seamlessly.

Metadata, or data content, needs to meet accessibility requirements and branding guidelines. Departments that use outside Web designers need to know those requirements, he said. "Those elements need to be incorporated into the design. UCAM provides templates, colors and logos to be used on official sites."

He said there's help for campus units without Web design expertise. "Departments don't need to pay $10,000 for a Web design firm and then lose the UNM identification," he said. Web Communication Services, a UCAM service, designs websites for campus entities at a competitive cost. Using a campus service means that all guidelines and requirements will be met, Kelly said.

The committee is looking at UNM sites to determine a consistency of branding UNM's Web presence. "Appropriate use of the logo, a link to the UNM homepage, contact phone numbers on each page – those kinds of things need to be consistent across UNM sites," Kelly said.

UNM recently instituted a content management system. Website Administrator Matt Carter, UCAM, offers classes to help people update their sites, even for those with no programming background. Carter leads the Web information architects group. "It provides networking opportunities for information architects across campus and is a conduit for IT issues campuswide," Kelly said.

That committee is helping to develop Web standards. "Recommendations have to go through an approval and vetting process before becoming formal," Kelly said, adding that Web standards and guidelines are at webmaster.unm.edu.

"We are all part of UNM. We should be proud of it and incorporate it into all Web presence," he said.

Media Contact: Carolyn Gonzales (505) 277-5920; e-mail: cgonzal@unm.edu