UCSF Website Updates

News and announcements regarding UCSF websites, as well as best practices and tips for getting the most out of your web presence.

The Human Resources Website Success Story

Congratulations on the combined efforts of the Human Resources (HR) web team and IT Web Services. Together they increased the HR website Siteimprove accessibility score to 98.3 out of 100. This is one of the top 10 highly trafficked UCSF websites where the average site score is 80.3.

The HR website redesign project kicked off in the fall of 2020. The top priority was to move the site off an insecure server. Additionally, the HR and Web Services teams migrated the HR site to a new platform and redesigned the content model. These efforts improved usability and accessibility along the way.

Team efforts

Reba Brindley from IT PMO, managed the project and kept it on time and within budget. Judy Daniel from IT Web Services led the content strategy effort and did the heavy lifting along with Élodie Fétiveau, the  lead developer.

Others from the IT Web Services team contributed significant time and expertise: Jayson Jaynes led the user experience (UX) design; Eric Guerin and Austen Tong provided development support for Élodie; Jill Wolters conducted accessibility reviews; Sasha Miller remediated code-based accessibility issues.

The HR team delivered strong leadership, partnership, and hands-on support: Katharine Tull served as the project sponsor; Brad Nakano and Sharon Aretsky provided key assistance with the migration; and a full lineup of HR content owners provided feedback, content reviews and final sign off to ensure an accurate, improved HR website. Aaron Calhoun was instrumental in the content migration.

Previous state

The HR website’s accessibility score, tracked since the University of California Siteimprove rollout in the spring of 2018, consistently hovered in the 60s with multiple accessibility issues flagged.

  • Site’s search was in bad shape and didn't deliver satisfactory results.
  • Navigation was not logical, and page headings were used incorrectly.
  • Deprecated and semantically incorrect HTML code was rampant.
  • Images did not include alternative text, or if they did exist, used the file name instead of human language descriptions.
  • Tables were misused for layout.
  • When tables were appropriately used for data, they were missing descriptions plus rows and column headers.

Current state

Heavy-lift content review and best practices made a huge, positive difference.

  • Less, better content: An eight-week content audit radically reduced the HR site page inventory from 4,000 to 300 pages. A smaller site with less but more meaningful content means users can more easily find what they're looking for.
  • Updated information architecture (IA) and navigation support real-people language and logic.
  • Better content organization: The team migrated content into a new CMS and content type templates which better structures and organizes the content.
  • Newly structured page content reduces the user’s cognitive load so they can easily and quickly find the right information.
  • Content and data tables now are accessible:
    • Sighted users can now visually scan the tables and quickly make associations between data in a table and the appropriate row and column headers.
    • Users of screen readers can navigate through data tables one cell at a time thanks to proper HTML markup.
  • Clear calls to action: The design team increased the size of call to action (CTA) buttons. This provides a larger target to click on for users with mobility issues, such as the shaky hands of a user with Parkinson’s disease.
  • Improved navigation: With proper HTML markup in place, keyboard-only users and users of assistive technologies now can easily navigate the site content, including data tables.
  • Improved search: Effortless on-site search now delivers accurate results.

Overall, users encounter fewer barriers to content, and the on-site content is more user friendly. For example, error and warning messages prompt UCSF users to login to access internal content instead of producing a standard error message without instructions on how to move forward.

Future state

The content migration and navigation and content updates were just Phase 1. Continued improvement is an ongoing effort: Improved search, expanded user-centric content and experience, and expanded accessibility improvement efforts continue. Latest Siteimprove data indicates fewer than a dozen PDFs flagged by Siteimprove need fixes, removal, or conversion to HTML. Non-descriptive link text such as “click here” will be resolved using best practices. This means that linked text makes sense out of context for screen reader users who may navigate from link to link, skipping the surrounding text.

Quality assurance efforts will focus on fixing broken links, misspellings, and checking Siteimprove’s list of words to review to correct or add to the dictionary.

All of this content and navigation improvement work pay off in spades. The more accessibility issues you resolve, the higher your Siteimprove score. For assistance using Siteimprove, please contact Jill Wolters, your campus Siteimprove administrator.