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Eliminating the right sidebar

On December 1, Medical Public Affairs will install an update to the WUSM Web Theme that will alter the appearance of websites currently using the theme. The update will eliminate the right sidebar from all pages except Home, which doesn’t include a sidebar.

If you manage a website using the WUSM Web Theme, please follow the instructions below to prepare for this update.

What exactly will change?

The right sidebar is the column of content on the right side of all pages except Home. Entering content into this column is optional, so some pages of your site may not have right sidebar content. If the sidebar has no content, it appears as a blank column.

The page layout will be modified to remove this column completely. This update will roll out in two phases:

  • Phase 1 – Dec. 1: Any content in the sidebars will automatically be moved to the bottom of the page. (This is where sidebar content currently appears when your site is viewed on a mobile device.)
  • Phase 2 – Jan. 28: All “sidebar” content (now appearing at the bottom of each page) will be deleted from your site completely.

Why the change?

Removing the sidebar increases the width of a page’s main content area. This additional space allows for richer content and images; it also makes the text larger and easier to read.

Eliminating the sidebar also creates a more consistent experience for users across multiple devices, such as desktop computers, tablets and mobile phones.

What do I need to do?

If your site doesn’t use the right sidebar, you don’t need to do anything.

If your site does use the sidebars, you’ll need to move any sidebar content that you want to keep into the main body of your pages before January 28.

Where you place the content depends on its importance to the page:

  • Highly important content, such as calls-to-action, emergency information or time-sensitive updates, could be placed in a callout box near the top of the page. (Example: See the School of Medicine’s Patient Care page, which includes a “For patients” callout with links.)
  • Secondary content, such as resources, related links or contact information, could be moved to the bottom of the page’s main body. In some cases, you may need to create new pages or make use of features like accordions or call-out boxes to accommodate this additional content.

If you need a refresher on adding call-out boxes or accordions, check the WordPress tutorial for custom formats.

If the sidebar update will significantly affect the content of your site, a team member from the Office of Medical Public Affairs will contact you to assist with planning updates to your site. Please contact your website editor or the Medical Public Affairs team (314-286-0100 or wusmweb@wustl.edu) if you have any questions.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation!

Categories: Theme Updates