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Project Background and Goals

The primary objectives of our website overhaul were focused on: 

  • A responsive, mobile-first design
  • Improved navigation for site visitors
  • Increased visibility of academic programs
  • Increased accessibility
  • A more robust interface for web content editors and developers

The new site targets prospective students, their families, and current students. A website is often where prospective students gain their first impression of the University, and it's where many others first encounter us. It was important that we created a web experience that spurred prospective students to action along the path to enrollment, while providing easy access to current student resources. Secondary audiences include faculty, staff, alumni, and donors.

Change to Drupal

The project involved replacing the WordPress web infrastructure with Drupal, an enterprise, open source, content management system (CMS). Drupal is a very popular CMS used by many large and small organizations, and has increasing use in higher education

Community Involvement

An undertaking this size would not have been possible without the help of the entire John Carroll community. We are grateful to our campus partners, and our vendor Upward Brand Interactions, who assisted us throughout the process. We believe this new site will have a positive impact on our ability to tell the John Carroll story.


Drupal has become one of the the most powerful open source content management systems and a popular choice among many higher education organizations and entities — likely for its flexibility, scalability, and high security. It puts mobile users at its core and is built for mobile first and desktop second.

Drupal provides up-to-date digital solutions and is backed by an active community members and teams of seasoned developers all over the world. 

With Drupal, web content editors have much more functionality and the ability to better manage their content. The new site will provide a friendly interface for web editors to upload and revise content.

Pre-designed templates will put in place a uniform design system that will pull the site together into a cohesive look. These templates were also designed to meet University standards for accessibility, fonts, and colors. This will enable web page editors to save time by being able to focus solely on the content. 

The templates provide flexibility in the way we present content to users, breaking it up into more digestible content blocks. 

In an effort to keep our site secure and eliminate inactive users, we have identified and added one Drupal content editor for each site. If you need editing access for a site and have not received it from us, please complete the IMC web request form. You will need to provide the link(s) to the site(s) in which you need access.

Once you have access, you may sign in to Drupal at


Rachel Purton Web Developer 216.397.4995

We have developed multiple training guides:

If your department would like further training, please reach out to us. We are happy to schedule tailored trainings based on your department or area-specific needs, which can include a deeper dive into other features or templates.

The main URL,, has changed to New URLs have been assigned, and IMC has worked to set up redirects for old URLs to redirect users to the new site. 

However, if you receive a 404 error, please fill out a request form to have the page redirected. In your request, you will need to provide the following: 

  • Page where you clicked the link that is erroring 
  • URL of the page that shows the 404 error
  • The new page URL it should be going to, if known

JCU has a duty to maintain compliance with accessibility laws, such as the ADA and Section 504, and to continue to monitor JCU’s website’s accessibility. Integrated Marketing and Communications has continued to work in close partnership with the Web Accessibility Task Force to accomplish this goal. This work is critically important and closely aligned with JCU’s mission; accessibility helps make every member of the campus community feel welcome by providing all users with access to educational and employment information and services.

It is important that our web editors fully understand how to continue providing accessible content to our users. The below training materials are REQUIRED to review for any web editor with a Drupal account.

Below are some guidelines for editing web content to ensure we are following accessibility laws

Creating Meaningful Links

Buttons and links should have helpful text. A user should be able to ask “What will happen when I click this link?” and know the answer before clicking.

For example: “To view our course listing, click here

is NOT good accessibility practice. “Click here” is not a useful link. Despite providing context before the link, many assistive technologies have the option to simply show (or read aloud) a list of links throughout the page without including the surrounding text.

Therefore: View our course listing (PDF)

is a much better contextual link that answers the question “What will happen when I click this link?” before the user clicks. The user knows they will be viewing a PDF of course listings.

General rule: do not use “click here” or other similar generic text in body areas of pages. This also helps our Google rankings. Try to describe where the link will go. This does not apply to image panels and adlets because IMC has added accessibility labeling (aria-label) into the templates for these content types.

Below is an example of good and bad links in the body area.



Writing Useful Image Alternative Text

Useful alternative text is important for accessibility. Drupal requires alternative text for every image that is uploaded to our site; however, not all alternative text is created equal. Consider the following example:

  1. Do not advertise or market JCU in your alternative text. This is bad for Google rankings and does not help describe the photo.
  2. Do not use the file name. This does not describe the photo.
  3. Do not use short, undescriptive text.
  4. “Girl sitting down to a lobster dinner” is a great way to explain what is happening in the photo.

General rule: Ask yourself, “If I couldn’t see what was in this image, how would I want someone to describe the image to me?”


Using Proper Headings Structure

Headings must properly create the structure of the page content and be placed in the proper order. Think of headings like an outline.

In the above image, each heading 2 creates a section of content. They divide pages into consumable sections which help to organize the content.

When you get to the next heading, ask yourself: Is it a new section? If so then a Heading 2 would be appropriate. If it’s a sub-section of the last heading 2, then a Heading 3 would be suitable, and so on.



If you have a concern about accessibility of a particular web page or site, please submit the concern to these offices:

For Students:

Allison West Kaskey Director of Student Accessibility Services, and ADA Disability Coordinator or 216.397.4967

For Staff and Faculty:

Garry Homany Director of Regulatory Affairs/Risk Management, and ADA Disability Coordinator or 216.397.1982

We are maintaining the old JCU WordPress site for at least one year. If you need to reference any old pages, or download old images and files, please fill out a request form and ask for access information.