Assignment Week 10: PR Package


Paul R. Cardillo
ITS Digital Services
(919) 962-7880

Modular Theme Q&A

UNC Modular WordPress Theme available to campus users in February


Download or print a copy of this press release.

Chapel Hill, NC – Members of the UNC community who work on departmental websites will soon have access to a new custom WordPress theme. The UNC Modular WordPress theme incorporates a simpler editing interface than current themes, meets current digital accessibility guidelines and meets the University’s identity and branding standards. ITS Digital Services will introduce the new theme on Monday, Feb. 3.

The UNC Modular Theme moves campus websites closer to meeting UNC’s Digital Accessibility mission and meets all WCAG 2.0 accessibility guidelines for digital authoring tools.

Web architect lead, Michael Triplett said, “UNC Modular will be an accessible and user-friendly option for campus web designers and web developers as they await the release of an accessibility compliant version of the WordPress Guttenberg editor.”

According to Triplett, UNC Modular offers academic departments an easier authoring experience and a more modern approach to layout than the traditional WordPress editor used in the current Heelium custom theme. “Modular requires less reliance on writing custom code for custom fields,” said Triplett. “Users don’t need to have extensive HTML mark-up knowledge since page layout is handled by interchangeable modules.”

The new theme is built using WordPress Advanced Custom Fields (ACF) and mirrors the look and feel of the newly redesigned site.

Kim Vassiliadis, Digital Services and User Experience Manager, wanted to “give departments something that would mirror the University’s identity and branding. The Modular Theme has a consistent look and feel to the main UNC website using the same typefaces and a similar layout.”

“The initial design of UNC Modular was piloted in February 2018,” said Vassiliadis. “We are excited to release it to the University after a full year of development and testing.”

A handful of University sites began using the Modular Theme in September 2019 and the success of those sites opened the way for a full release of the theme in early 2020. UNC Modular can be seen in action at:

User documentation and support for UNC Modular is available at or by contacting ITS Digital Services.

About UNC ITS Digital Services: ITS Digital Services offers central WordPress-based web development and hosting for the university. Digital Services staff draw on experience in universities, government, non-profit agencies, publishing, design firms, and more. ITS Digital Services is connected to key central campus IT services such as database support, middleware, analytics and the help desk making it a great choice for you to quickly get the support you’ll need.

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UNC Modular WordPress Theme Q&A

Download or print a copy of the UNC Modular Theme FAQ.

The UNC Modular Word Press Theme offers many benefits to users:

  • Consistent branding and identity with other UNC websites
  • Layout, typeface and color options that meet WCAG 2.1 standards
  • Modules designed using the most-used templates and views on UNC academic web sites
  • More options for customization with less reliance on custom code
  • No need to know HTML mark-up
  • Flexible and easy to use
  • Easier to for Digital Services developers to customize and support

In the Modular Theme modules are blocks of content such as page headers, text blocks, photo templates and image sliders. These modules can be used throughout the site and moved around on the page in an easy wysiwyg (drag and drop) editor.

The new theme will initially be available to UNC Departmental Publishing customers on the platform. We plan to rollout the Modular theme to Self-Service Publishing customers on the platform in August at the beginning of the 2020-21 academic year.

You may continue to use Heelium as long as your site meets all requirements of the Americans With Disabilities act and WCAG 2.0 guidelines.

You may use one of the supported WordPress themes available in your native editor, but we recommend switching to Modular!

No. Older themes are being deactivated since they do not meet accessibility standards and UNC Branding and Identity guidelines. Please upgrade to Modular, or at least Heelium.

ITS Digital Services offers theme and site customization for a fee. Contact us to discuss your options.

WordPress is addressing accessibility concerns surrounding the Guttenberg editor. The current release does not meet WCAG 2.0 guidelines or UNC Digital Accessibility standards. When the accessible version of Guttenberg is released, ITS Digital Services will make it available to campus users.

UNC Modular WordPress Theme – Social Media and Multimedia Options

Social media posts will be sent from the general ITS account on each platform.

Facebook post:

UNC WordPress users, Modules are coming!

The UNC Modular WordPress Theme lets you:

  • Customize your websites more quickly
  • Meet accessibility guidelines
  • Share brand identity with other UNC Sites
  • More quickly and easily edit your web pages

[Screenshot image of the front page linking to news article about the Modular Theme on]

Twitter tweet:

Bring your UNC website screaming into the second decade of the twenty-first century with the UNC Modular WordPress Theme! #uncwebmasters #uncwordpress

[Screenshot image of the front page linking to news article about the Modular Theme on]

Multimedia Options

I would create a short Adobe Spark video to include with this packet. The video would be about 1 ½ minutes and would alternate between live action shots of someone using the Modular theme in the WordPress editor and text slides very briefly explaining the benefits of the Modular Theme. Reporters could embed the video or a part of it in their stories.

The Facebook post could be made into a short (10-15 second) square-formatted text-based video with either voiceover or background music for an Instagram post.

In addition to the short video there would be instructional documentation in the form of web pages and .pdfs that would live at if a reporter wanted to delve deeper into the details of the theme.