University Web Developers

University Web Developers

Good afternoon. North Carolina A&T State University is preparing to initiate a university-wide website redesign.  We would like to hire a web operations management firm to help us to define our strategic plans and to assist us with the development of governance policies.  We would also like for the firm to help us to develop an RFP (or a series of RFPs) for a CMS (including templates and Web 2.0 tools), a search engine, and to complete the redesign itself.  We would also like for the RFP to include a request for the firm to provide a project manager for the redesign.  Does anyone have a template - or some tips that may assist us with this request?  Thank you in advance.

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Did you happen to receive any template RFPs from anyone for this? We here at Washburn University (Kansas) will be going through this very shortly and we are starting to see if anyone will share some examples with us, as well.


I created a document that covered the types of questions you'll need to consider as you go through the process.  The PM should help develop some of these answers.  I'd expect any major redesign firm to have someone to PM their site.  They'd probably expect someone at the College to PM its side.


Goals & Objectives

  • Don’t redesign to redesign.  Redesign for some purpose.
  • Relates to institutional goals & objectives.  Ties to strategic planning?
  • Needs to be explicit.


  • Look and feel
  • Research pre-design, in-design, and post-design stages (which audiences?)  (us or them?)
  • Design only or HTML/CSS construction?
  • Dynamic Elements?  Social Media connections?
  • Navigation / Site Architecture – keep, tweak, or new?  (task v. audience v. mix)
  • Homepage + Related Templates
  • Conversion to CMS?
    • Content migration? (us or them)
  • Homepage Flexibility
    • Needs to support zero, one or more of SummerSession, WinterSession, Opening of School, Commencement, Homecoming/Reunion, Family Weekend, Inauguration, etc.

Audience Sensitivity

  • Primary target prospective students?
  • Cannot ignore needs of other audiences

Technology Compatibility

  • XHTML/CSS design should be required (table-based layout avoided)
  • Positive user experience across platforms and modern browsers (define)
    • Graceful downgrade for out-of-date browsers  (define)
  • Templates should be coded via SSI to allow for automatic deployment to departments
  • Any server-side technologies need to be able to run on our platform
    • Apache on Unix, PHP, CGI (Perl preferred), MySQL, SSI
  • Code must be audited prior to production

Policy Compliance

  • SUNY Brockport Web Content Policy (Required content)
  • NYS OFT Mandatory Standard S04-001 (HTML coding/accessibility issues)

Graphical Look-and-Feel

  • Tie-in to other publications?
  • Use of marks?  Which?
  • NYS OFT Mandatory Standard S04-001 (some accessibility implications)
  • ???

New Content Required/Desired

  • ???


  • RFP to identify potential consultants, requiring matched portfolio and references (min 3)
  • Multiple design prototypes with phased culling – predefined process
  • User studies requirement to demonstrate achievement of objectives (multiple audience)
  • Final 2 candidates should be submitted for live testing with College Web site
  • Requires departmental review time prior to going “live”


  • RFP should note that College/University would retain all rights related to work
  • RFP should explicitly prohibit content on the bottom of every page such as “Designed by ABC Web Studios” and prohibit any indication of the outside vendor’s involvement
  • RFP should state finalists will be invited to give presentation on campus
  • RFP should request timeline to accomplish, assuming xxx start date.
  • Depending on requirements, the College should expect:
    • the process to take between a semester and a year
    • the one-time costs to be between $20,000-$100,000
    • the possibly of ongoing costs (particularly with a CMS).
  • These range expectations should be narrowed as other decisions are made.  Or, target values should be set and we can work back from there.
  • Concerns in Web Advisory Committee recommendation should be acknowledged and addressed. [specific to my institution?]


  • College Web Content Policy empowers three people in this regard:
    • Technology: LITS Web Manager
    • Content: Director, Marketing Communications
    • Graphics: Director, Design & Production
  • Identify key decision makers: President’s Cabinet?  Agreement on general objectives, principles, outlines, decision-making process etc. prior to start.
  • Identify staffing resources/needs to implement, maintain (depends on scope)

Awesome! Thank you very much, Steve!


This will be a great help.





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