Checklist for Creating a Website

woman typing on a keyboard

1. Do You Need a Website?

Websites take time, effort and ongoing care. Before you create one, you need to first check if a similar site already exists - start with a simple Google search for your topic areas and look at the UCSF A-Z Website List. If there's already a similar UCSF website, consider partnering with that group to reach your audience. Also consider that there are a wide variety of ways to reach your intended audience, and some might be more effective than a website. Take a quick quiz to help assess your needs.

2. Choose a CMS

CMS stands for content management system – the underlying framework of your website. There are a variety of platforms available, but UCSF is heavily invested in Drupal for its security, flexibility and active development community. If you elect to use the UCSF Site Builder, you'll be issued a Drupal-based website - just complete a Drupal Web Hosting Request to receive one from IT. You are welcome to choose another CMS, but it will need to meet all standards for accessibility, security and branding outlined in our policies and standards section.

3. Read our Web Policies & Standards

UCSF has a comprehensive set of policies and standards that cover key components you must to consider when creating a website. This includes overarching brand guidelines that determine which fonts, images, colors and logos should be used, helping UCSF unify its message. Please thoroughly review them before proceeding.

4. Review Accessibility Guidelines

UCSF has an obligation — both legally and ethically — to make sure our websites are accessible to all. Digital accessibility is the ability of a website, mobile application or electronic document to be easily navigated and understood by a wide range of users, including those users who have visual, auditory, motor or cognitive disabilities. Read over our accessibility guidelines, which cover how images, infographics, PDFs and more should be formatted and added to your website.

5. Secure a Domain

Your site will need an address. Official UCSF websites will receive a subdomain of ucsf.edu  (i.e. websites.ucsf.edu). Choose an address that is short, memorable and comprehensible to people outside of your specific group. If you are creating a Drupal-based website, including a UCSF Site Builder template, then your domain name request will be part your Drupal Web Hosting Request. If you are creating a non-Drupal website, you'll need to fill out a Domain Name Service (DNS) Request.

6. Request a Logo

UCSF has created a system of sub-brand logo lockups to represent various departments and groups. Information about the different types of official UCSF logos and how they should be used can be found in the logo section of the Brand Identity site. If eligible, you can request an official sub-brand logo lockup to use on your site. If your group is not eligible for a UCSF logo lockup, please represent the name of your group, initiative, or site in live type (text)— as “UCSF Websites” appears on this website.

Note: UCSF does not allow the use of unofficial or custom-designed logos on UCSF websites or other materials. 

7. Plan Your Content

Great website content is not only well-written, but it's also well-organized so users can easily find what they need. Start by identifying major topics in a spreadsheet, organize those topics for your main menu (hint: try card sorting), write your copy and find photographs to compliment it. Spend some time checking out the competition, including websites you like and websites you don't. Over time, you'll begin to see what makes a site inviting or off-putting.

8. Build Your Website

Create pages, build your menu and add images or videos. Remember to keep styling consistent across pages and make pages easy to read by including section headings, links and clear calls to action. Remember to follow accessibility guidelines when creating your content.

9. Launch Your Website

You've built your website, thoroughly reviewed it, and you're ready to share it with the world. To do so, create a DNS request ticket with ServiceNow, but keep in mind that your request may take up to three days to complete. Once it's live, look over your site one more time to ensure everything is working properly.

10. Register Your Website

If you created a website that isn't hosted by IT (i.e. you did not complete a Drupal Web Hosting Request), you should submit it for inclusion on the UCSF A-Z Website List by completing a Website Registration Request. Note: Only websites that qualify as official UCSF websites will be included in the A-Z list.