What makes a great web feature?

Editorial Jun 30, 2014 What makes a great web feature?

What's the criteria to be featured on Ohio State's digital properties? Multimedia Director Kristen Convery writes about considerations for web content.

What content hits Ohio State's digital properties--and why?

A variety of considerations go into making digital content decisions for osu.edu, university sites, Ohio State social media channels and OSU Mobile. The best stories work through two lenses: A reader sees a fun and interesting piece, while Ohio State communicators see a chance to share strategic messages in line with the university's brand.

The top three considerations:

  • How does this story advance Ohio State? (What messages does it hit?)
  • Why should users read it? (We live in a busy world with lots of competing content, so we need to tell stories in layman’s terms and explain the promise of research. Answer the user's question of, "Why does this matter to me?")
  • Is the timing right for maximum punch? (A health-related research story, for example, tends to get longer read times and more clicks in early January--and it wouldn't be late summer on osu.edu without football-related content that highlights Ohio State's strong traditions.)

On osu.edu, the main feature ("hero space") is essentially the web version of a print publication's cover story--a centerpiece that showcases current students, faculty/staff or alumni and hits research, academic messages or one of our major Ohio State initiatives. We think about Ohio State's biggest priorities--the discovery themes, research/innovation, recruiting educating world-class students, celebrating alumni success, etc.--and use plain language (no jargon!) to make them accessible. (Have a story idea? Contact Monica DeMeglio, senior writer in Multimedia.)

The "news and events" section is populated by  @OhioState on Twitter--and is the place to see the most up-to-the-minute university info at any given point in time. (Have timely social content? Share it with multimedia specialist Lauren Boyd, who manages university social media accounts.)

"Watch" showcases new videos, from University Communications and partners around campus; this is a way to show dynamic video content. (If your video is captioned and branded, submit to multimedia producer Randy Walk for consideration.) And the "events bug" area is the place for promoting major university events--a Wexner Center exhibition, Pelotonia or Homecoming Week, for example.

I've asked my Interactive Communications colleagues Connie Wanstreet and Kim Byce to weigh in on what makes the best content for the alumni and giving sites. See their answers:

Connie Wanstreet: Content on ohiostatealumni.org supports the Alumni Association's mission to enrich lifelong relationships among alumni and the university. Specifically, content that promotes engagement is featured. Engagement is defined as activities that are sponsored by or on behalf of Ohio State that develop lasting and beneficial relationships contributing to mutual success. Therefore, look for content related to volunteer engagement, career management, annual giving, students and young alumni, and events that promote collaboration among colleges, units, and the Alumni Association.

Kim Byce: Giveto.osu.edu showcases the impact of giving at Ohio State. What can the university accomplish thanks to private support? How do scholarships change students’ lives? Why are donors inspired to give back? Our stories draw connections between possibility, philanthropy and progress.

In addition to information about making a gift and links to our online giving area, visitors will find But for Ohio State campaign features in our hero space. The three smaller story boxes promote donor profiles, videos and seasonal content. While much of this content is supplied by partners within Development and Editorial Communications, story ideas and news tips are welcome. 

About the author

Kristen Convery - convery.3@osu.edu
Interim Senior Director
Kristen Convery

Kristen leads Ohio State's Editorial team, showcasing Ohio State's best stories across print and digital media. Our mission: try new things, have fun and stay true to Ohio State's brand.

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