Colorado State University (CSU) is located in Fort Collins, Colorado and has an enrollment of over 33,500 students in 250 academic programs. Because the University serves a large and diverse student body, there is a significant commitment at all levels to ensure that each of those individual students feels welcomed and supported on campus.
The President’s Commission on Diversity and Inclusion at Colorado State University serves as the institutional conscience for inclusive policies, programs, procedures, and services. The Commission is a catalyst for change that enhances the campus climate for all people and removes persistent barriers that inhibit the success of members of CSU’s campus community, especially those from underrepresented and historically marginalized populations. In the unending pursuit of Colorado State’s Land Grant mission, the Commission holds the University accountable for promoting inclusion, integrity, respect, service, and social justice, which are the tenets of CSU’s Principles of Community.
The Vice President for Diversity’s office at CSU approached us to design and develop a website for The Colorado State University President’s Commission on Diversity and Inclusion. This new commission needed a platform for conveying its mission and vision to the broader CSU campus, listing commission members, and making public board meeting and subcommittee meeting minutes.
Because The President’s Commission on Diversity and Inclusion was a top priority for the university, the website needed to be built quickly in a short timeframe. CSU’s in-house web development team had limited availability, so the VP for Diversity’s Office contacted us and we were excited to take on the task.
In addition to being designed and developed quickly, the commission website also needed to present a modern, visual aesthetic, follow CSU’s strict brand standards, and be built in a manner that is accessible to all users – I.e., American with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant and following, at least, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 AA.
We understand that, for government-funded organizations, it is not only vital to organizational success, but also a legal requirement to have a website that is accessible to all users. Thus, our approach to website design is one which considers user experience (UX) and accessibility from the beginning of the project, during the design phase and not as an afterthought at the end of development. Creating an accessibility-minded design was especially important for CSU’s Commission on Diversity and Inclusion, as it is vital that all members of the university’s campus community be able to access and use the website.
With accessibility at the forefront of the project, we created a full-width website design that showcased multiculturalism on CSU’s campus, while making it easy for website visitors to learn more about the commission, read meeting minutes, or find a commission or subcommittee member. We adhered to CSU’s brand style guide, utilizing a consistent header and footer, fonts, and color scheme, to ensure the website would blend seamlessly with other department and college websites on CSU’s domain.
In the design phase, particular attention was paid to color contrast, tap-target size, and limiting the need to hover over elements in order to view important information or potential interactions. Our development team ensured that the website was fully developed following current accessibility standards, and along the way, we shared accessibility best practices and provided guidance to the individuals at CSU who would be writing content for and maintaining the website.
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ADA-compliant, accessible website following Colorado State University’s brand guidelines.
CSU came to us in need of a new website on a short timeline and we were excited to deliver great results quickly in support of a great cause.
The resulting website informs CSU campus members about the mission, membership, and efforts of The President’s Commission on Diversity and Inclusion in an easy-to-navigate and modern, visually appealing design. Because accessibility was a focus throughout the duration of the project, CSU received a website that can be used by all members of the community, regardless of ability or situation, and that is easy for university employees to update on an ongoing basis.