Creating a new site
Since the beginning of 2013, the European Commission has embarked on a comprehensive web rationalisation project. It aims to make the institution’s online communication more coherent, relevant and cost-effective. This transformation project encompasses two overlapping phases: the first phase focuses on radical website reduction, the second phase aims to restructure the Commission’s online presence according to user needs.
With this in mind, new websites, by default, must not be created (see note Ares(2013)372665). By way of exception, the creation of a new website can be authorised under certain circumstances (i.e. creation of a website whose life span is strictly limited in time or development of a site that gathers in one single website the content of several other websites whereby the latter can be closed).
The creation of a new website must be part of the communication plan of the information unit of a DG as well as of the global communication plan of the Commission. The goals of the website must be well defined in close consultation with DG Communication’s EUROPA team and all Internet editors concerned by the subject of the site. The construction of the website must be well planned and respect the IPG rules and procedures. Several services of the Commission (DG Communication, DG Informatics, DG Translation, Publications Office) are at your disposal for making your website a success.
A website is just one of the tools that are available to information and communication units to achieve the goals set forward in their communication plan. Its final purpose is to serve its target users well, so that they can perform the tasks for which they visit the site in the most efficient way.
A number of basic questions need to be answered before actually starting the development of a site:
- Why is the site needed?
- Who is the site for?
- What are the main tasks?
- What will the site contain?
- How and when will the site be constructed and launched?
To assess that your website will be focused on its users, you can apply this checklist for building successful websites.
To ensure that your site fits into the Commission’s web presence on EUROPA, that development goes smoothly and that last-minute surprises are avoided, it is essential to consult upfront all relevant stakeholders in the Commission, in particular the EUROPA team in DG Communication and the Internet editors of the DGs that could be interested in the subject of the site. The word “upfront” means that the EUROPA team in DG Communication must be contacted – and a site creation request submitted – before the requesting service commits any budget, enters into any contract and before any development work starts.
Before sending the site creation request to the EUROPA team the endorsement of the Head of the Communication Unit of the requesting DG must be obtained.
Under certain circumstances, it may be necessary to set up an ad hoc editorial board to accompany the set up of the site. In any case, the EUROPA team must be informed at the very start of the project following the site creation procedures.
If you need an external contractor to develop your site, the Publication Office can offer a large set of services to facilitate electronic publication.
The Informatics DG can give you all the information on the available software tools that you can use for constructing your site.
The standard template must be used for all EUROPA websites.
Last but not least, DG Translation will help you, not only only to translate your web pages, but also to check their editorial quality. DG Translation also advises on the most suitable language policy for your site considering the type of content published as well as the target audience(s).
The following chapters will go into more detail on the:
- definition of the site goals,
- organisational aspects,
- resources at your disposal,
- services and tools available,
- quality requirements.