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Learn Our Web

our strategy for information delivery via the web

Getting Around the Boston College Web Site

The new site brings a visual design standard and a common navigation system to every page. The design and interface standards are integrated through a Universal Header, Standard Left Navigation, and a Standard Footer:

Universal Header

Across the top of this page, and the top of every page on the new site, is a Universal Header. Below are overviews of its components.

Top Band

The top, dark-maroon band of the Universal Header provides the following options:

  • The Boston College logo at top left links back to the BC home page. This home page is primarily designed for external audiences (prospective students, alumni, visitors, and the general public).
  • The A–Z Index is the best resource for finding a person, department, or a Web site. A–Z has links to a site map and a site index, as well as to a variety of other resources.
  • BCInfo now redirects to the Agora Portal, the home page for the BC community (students, faculty, staff) with current news and information related to Boston College.
  • Maps brings you to the "Maps & Directions" site, which provides maps of all BC campuses and directions to them.
  • Directories helps you obtain contact information for any person or department at Boston College.
  • To search BC's site, type your keyword(s) into the white text field and click "Go." This Search function generally defaults to searching the entire BC site but can also search most institutional BC Web sites.
Bottom Band

The bottom, lighter-maroon band of the Universal Header features the following eight drop-down menus:

  • About BC offers basic information about the University: Its history, its Jesuit mission, the city of Boston, and its commitment to diversity.
  • Academics links to the Provost's Office, the Academic Calendar, BC's various graduate and undergraduate schools, and BC Global.
  • Admission links to admission information for prospective students, whether undergraduate, graduate, or law; as well as to information on financial aid.
  • Athletics redirects to the web site of the BC Eagles, with special links for game schedules and tickets.
  • Under Give to BC, you'll find links to information on how to donate to the University.
  • The links under Libraries redirect to search functions, access to library catalogs, the eScholarship page, and other reference tools, as well as special services for faculty and alumni.
  • On Campus links to the BC Bookstore, Dining Services, various BC publications and calendars, Front Row (multimedia offerings), and arts events at BC.
  • Research brings you to the web site dealing with academic research at BC.
Breadcrumb Trail

Beneath the maroon bands and above main page content is what is known as the "breadcrumb trail." It starts with bc home > and ends with the page you are on. In between you'll find links to related, more-general information at "higher" levels of the BC web site. If the page you are on has information that is close to but not exactly what you are looking for, moving up one or two levels on the breadcrumb trail links may enable you to find exactly what you want.

Standard Left Navigation Panel

On the left side of this page is a tan column outlining the content of the site via a standard set of navigational links. This standard left-side navigation panel using tan shading is also used throughout all departmental Web sites.

All main-site categories are presented in ALL CAPS. When you click on a left-side link, the navigational panel expands to show all subheadings under that link against a lighter-tan background. The page you are on is highlighted on the navigational panel by a small maroon triangle, and the title text of the page you are on will be bold maroon.

Standard Footer

Every page within the new site design has a standard footer. On the left is the date of the last update to the page, below which is the name of the department that maintains the site. On the right are links for contacting BC, providing feedback on the site, and returning to the top of the page. Below these links are the web site copyright and a link to BC's copyright policies.

Accessibility and Keyboard Navigation

We at Boston College are taking a proactive approach to Web accessibility by following the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (at the time 1.0) and the Section 508 guidelines (which were still being developed) for Web accessibility.

We believe that a user, regardless of ability or accessing device (browser, screen reader, mobile technologies), should be able to access our content and Web environment in a simple and usable fashion. For those who do not use a mouse, and even for those who do, we have built into our new design keyboard navigation to access our whole environment and particular parts of a given page simply by giving a keyboard command.

Keyboard navigation requires a relatively recent, standards-compliant browser (Netscape 6.x, Internet Explorer 5.x, Firefox x.x). Mac and Windows users will experience differences in the way keyboard navigation works. Note that the number keys refer to the normal number keys directly above the letter keys, not the "F" keys or the numeric keypad on some keyboards.

Mac users should hold down the Control key while pressing one of the number keys (see list below). If the number leads to a link, you will immediately jump to that page. It it is not a link, the cursor will be moved to the point on the page indicated.

Windows users should hold down the Alt key while pressing one of the the number keys listed below. This will take you to the location on the page described in the list below. If the target is a link, the link will be selected and you can jump to that page by pressing the Enter key.

List of Keyboard Functions

"1" - Selects the Boston College logo, leading to the BC Home page.
"2" - Selects the BCInfo link, leading to the BCInfo page.
"3" - Selects the A to Z link, leading to the A to Z page.
"4" - Selects the SEARCH link, leading to the BC Web Search page.
"5" - Selects the DIRECTORIES link, leading to the Directories page.
"6" - Selects the CONTACT BC link, leading to the Contact BC page.
"7" - Places the cursor in the search box in the left navigation area.
"8" - Though you cannot see this one, this places the cursor right above the start of the left navigation panel. This allows users who are using screen readers to skip over the header and get right to the location navigation area.
"9" - Places the cursor right above the actual content of the page. This allows a user to skip over the header and the left navigation panel to get right into the content of the page.
"0" - Selects the Learn Our Web link, leading you back to this page.

Feedback and Question Forms

Comments and inquiries about the Boston College Web site are encouraged. Use the Feedback link in the footer at any time to send us general questions or comments on the BC web site. For questions or comments on a specific school, department, or office site, use the local contact information page within that site.

2014-04-19 - 7:09 PM