Best Practices for Web Publishing

General Recommendations

  • Think of your audience.
    • Organize your site in a manner that can be understood by your audience, not according to internal hierarchies and policies.
    • Look at your content with fresh eyes. You may know where content is located, but will a first-time visitor?
     
  • Keep content relevant and up-to-date.
  • Avoid unnecessary and superfluous information. Most visitors skim pages, not read.
  • Layout and formatting is most effective when it is clean, clear, and consistent.

File Names

  • Avoid using special characters when naming folders, content blocks, uploaded files, and uploaded images.
    • For example: ' " # % & + / : ; < > ( ) { } [ ] etc
    • Special characters may result in a broken link or missing image. Browsers cannot always render special characters.
     
  • Use strong, descriptive keywords when naming folders, content, and uploaded files. 
    • Names assist with search engine optimization.
    • Consider words that users would commonly search for.
    • Avoid uncommon abbreviations or acronyms.
     
  • Give page headlines (H1) a strong, descriptive name. For example, any site could have "Forms" or "About Us". Use instead "Human Resources Forms" or "About Physical Facilities".

Content and Text

  • Spell check.
  • Organize alphabetically.
    • Information (ie lists, navigation) should be organized alphabetically unless there are strong reasons for organizing in order of importance.
     
  • Content Ownership
    • If you do not own the content, do not duplicate it. This creates redundancy and inconsistency if the original content is updated.
      Recommendation is to link to the original content or website that would always stay up-to-date.
    • If you link to webpages outside of your site, be alert that your link stays active. If other web editors change their pages, a broken link could result on your site.
     
  • Content Maintenance
    • Avoid time-sensitive content if you are not able to update it in a timely manner once it expires.
    • Avoid creating content that will become a burden to maintain.
      • i.e. for organizational charts, remove individual names/information to make the chart long-term despite changes in personnel.
       
  • Archives
    • Only up-to-date information should be available on the site unless there is a valid reason for keeping historical data.
    • Archives of information should remain valid and relevant. Historical information is still accessible via UNF search, which means that obsolete and inaccurate information can be misconstrued as up-to-date
  • Under Construction
    • Avoid "under construction" or "coming soon" webpages.
    • Pages can be built and previewed in the CMS without being live on the website. Only link a page to your navigation when it is ready for visitors.

Formatting

  • UNF Writing Styles
    • Refer to the UNF Writing Style Guidelines for full listing.
    • When using acronyms, always spell out the full title with the acronym the first time it is referenced in the text.
    • Phone and fax numbers should be formatted as (904) 620-1000. Always use the full number with area code -- never just the extension.
    • For named UNF buildings, use both the building name and the building number.
     
  • Avoid the use of ALL CAPS for large sections of text. 
    • Blocks of text in all capitals are very difficult to read.
     
  • Avoid the use of underline.
    • The use of underline implies a hyperlink and should not be used to emphasize text or headlines that are not linked.
    • Consider instead bold, italic, or other formatting options.
     

Hyperlinks

  • Do not use the navigation term "Home" unless it links to the UNF homepage, www.unf.edu.
  • Opening a hyperlink in a new window is generally not recommended. Excessive and inappropriate use can be an annoyance to the viewers.
    • No -- when linking to another section of the UNF website...your own or another department's.
    • Yes (optional) -- when leaving the UNF domain, www.unf.edu.
    • Yes (optional) -- when opening a document, such as PDF, with no UNF navigation.
    • Yes (recommended) -- when the target website does not allow users to navigate back due to redirects, blocks, etc.
  • Use strong keywords for hyperlinks. 
    • Good examples:

      • Link describes its target -- "Fill out the Student Information Form."

      • Link flows with the text -- "UNF offers degrees in accounting and finance."

      • Links are organized in a bullet list.

       
    • Bad examples:

      • Link is the web URL -- "Go to http://www.unf.edu/department/folder/file.aspx"

      • Link is vague and weak -- “Click Here”.
      • Link includes instructions -- "Look in the left column and click the link that says Forms."
  • Publishing a link in print.
    • When publishing a web address in a printed document, use the site homepage. Your homepage offers the simplest, cleanest address for users to type into a browser. 
      It will also rarely change or break. Once on your homepage, users can navigate your site to find their content.
    • Good example:
      • www.unf.edu/department
       
    • Bad example:
      • http://www.unf.edu/department/folder/subfolder/file_name.aspx

Files

  • Do not upload print marketing brochures to the web in PDF format. If content is important enough to post on your site, it should be presented in a web-optimal format.
    • The goal is to provide content that all site visitors may access easily.
     
  • When possible, build content into a content block, instead of attaching as a document.
    • Content will be indexed for searching.
    • Content will be editable using the CMS web editor (as opposed to editing offline and re-uploading)
    • Content will be accessible to screen readers.
    • Site visitors may not always have the necessary software application or version to open attached files.
     
  • If an uploaded attachment is necessary, the recommended format is PDF.
    • Adobe PDF Reader is free and compatible with all browsers, PC, and Macs.
     
  • Files that must be downloaded and used in the original format (ie Excel spreadsheets with calculations) are acceptable.
    • Know your intended audience. If they have no problems with the file, you may be okay.
    • Be prepared to offer alternative file formats if your visitor cannot open the file.
     

ADA Compliance

  • Attach the appropriate ADA alt tags to images, hyperlinks, and tables in CMS content.
  • Validate your content for ADA compliance prior to publishing.
  • Give image alt tags an appropriate and informative description (alt tag). Consider how it will be read by a screen reader to users that cannot see the image.
  • When presenting information in audio or video format, provide a transcript for users who cannot hear or see the multimedia content.
  • Learn how your webpages measure up! Evaluate your pages using accessibility evaluation tools such as provided at wave.webaim.org.

Logos & Advertising

  • The website logo will be provided for departments. Do not attempt to re-create or use logos other than those officially provided.
    In most circumstances, only one UNF logo (as site identification in the header) is appropriate on a webpage.
  • Follow the UNF Visual Identity guidelines for all additional uses of the UNF logo.
  • Non-UNF logos (for advertising, partnerships, endorsements, sponsorship and acknowledgements) cannot be larger than the UNF logo located at the top of the template. The UNF logo is approximately 85px by 220 px.

Photography & Graphics

  • Photo Releases
    • UNF strongly recommends that departments obtain written approval from people in photographs before using their image in web or printed publications. A photo release form should be signed by each person that is recognizable in the photo.
     
  • Photography
    • Photos should represent UNF's diversity of ethnicity, age, and gender.
    • Photos should support UNF's brand of individualized attention. For example, in a classroom setting, photos of individual students and small groups are preferable to an auditorium full of hundreds.
    • No "sensitive" information should be visible in the photo. For example, car license plates.
    • No logos of competing schools should be visible in the photo. For example, a student sweatshirt featuring a favorite college football team. 
  • Clip Art & Stock Photography
    • In striving to maintain a professional and unique appearance, clip art and stock photography is typically not recommended. The CMS offers a global image library and photographers for hire for departments seeking to enhance their sites with images.
    • If your department elects to use stock photography, please comply with all licensing and copyright restrictions for the imagery. 
     
  • Optimize graphics for the web:
    • Convert to RGB (CMYK format may prevent the picture from displaying)
    • 72 dpi
    • Properly cropped and resized