Website Guidelines

The WPI website is the public face of the university. As such, it is a strategic asset that carries enormous influence, providing a platform to showcase WPI’s best qualities and project a positive image. Every piece of digital content on the domain represents WPI and should meet certain standards for content, visual appearance, and ease of use, providing a unified, engaging experience.

Drupal Content Management System

The WPI website is maintained by a content management system known as Drupal and includes more than 150 web editors managing portions of the site. With this distributed authorship model comes a shared responsibility for quality assurance, usability, performance, and security. By its nature, distributed content management makes enforcement of standards an important task. 

It is important to note that all sites within the domain are strategic assets that belong to the university, not individual departments or divisions. Departments serve as caretakers of their websites, experts in their content, and stewards of our brand. 

Guiding Principles

Audience first: We want all our visitors to have a unified, intuitive, easy-to-use digital experience consistent with the WPI brand. The audience for web content should always take priority over departmental ownership. Visitors should be able to browse, not knowing anything about which department within the university “controls” the information, yet still find the information they seek quickly, based on a logical topic organization of content. Audiences include:

  • Prospective undergraduate and graduate students, their parents, and high school counselors and advisors
  • Current students, faculty, and staff
  • Donors and alumni
  • Corporate partners
  • Peer institutions
  • Research funding organizations (government and private)
  • Federal and state regulators
  • Accrediting organizations
  • Prospective faculty and employees
  • K-12 families
  • User experience is key: With so many of our visitors accessing from their smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, a mobile-first strategy is critical to the user experience. It requires making a website responsive (or able to automatically adjust to properly display on any device or screen size), decreasing and focusing content, and ensuring the main calls to action are mobile friendly. Additionally, Google has moved to indexing the mobile version of a website before the desktop version, so a mobile-first strategy will also impact our search engine results.
  • Accurate, current, and actionable content: Inaccurate content and out-of-date information frustrates and confuses users, makes our website seem less credible, and can negatively impact the action you wish your audience to take. Web content ownership, stewardship, and accountability are vital.
  • Brand consistency: The WPI website is our primary digital communications tool and should have a consistent look and feel across all sites. This strengthens the university's brand and encourages trust in the legitimacy of the content.
  • Accessibility: All WPI web content must be accessible to all site visitors, including those with disabilities, and should follow the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 508. Content that fails to meet web accessibility guidelines will be removed (see more)
  • Inclusive approach: The story of WPI is told through the different content on WPI.EDU including photography, videography, and the language in our copy and communications. Despite the best efforts and intentions, it is not possible, nor realistic, for all content to represent the diversity of all groups equally. The university and everyone who has ownership of pages on WPI.EDU thoughtfully and intentionally takes a comprehensive and purposeful approach to choose content that promotes an inclusive community where all are represented and feel a sense of belonging.