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Web Managing Editor
Web Content Standards
The Web content standards ensure the UND website is professional, consistent and meets the needs of those who seek information from UND. These standards apply to all pages with the UND.edu domain, as well as pages posted for University business.
- Review and update information in a timely fashion, with a minimum frequency of three times per year.
- Provide Tera Buckley one week advance notice of any URL changes to allow navigation and A-Z Index adjustments.
- All factual/statistical information must match official University information provided in the Institutional Research Fact Book.
- Copyrighted material used without permission or credit is prohibited. Information and images used from other sources must be properly credited by linking to the source. If a link is not available, a reference can be used. Any questions pertaining to copyright law and permissions can be directed to the Office of General Counsel.
- Websites must follow accessibility standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act and World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
Content Style Guide
Unless otherwise noted, Associated Press (AP) style is the designated guideline for the UND website.
Please consult the Writing Guidelines for general text style recommendations. In addition, the following style guidelines are recommended for UND websites.
Abbreviations and Acronyms
- Spell out as much as possible, especially if the full name has keywords that audiences may search for (use College of Business & Public Administration vs. CoBPA).
- Spell out the full title the first time the acronym/abbreviation is used on every page.
- Abbreviations for degrees, BBA, MS, PhD, etc., do not use periods. This differs from the AP and UND guidelines but allows for improved search engine optimization.
Addresses are written differently in an address block versus in the body of text on a page.
Text on a Page
Abbreviate Ave., Blvd., and St. Spell out words such as alley, drive, and road.
Spell out not referring to a specific address.
Abbreviate N., E., W., S.E., etc.
Spell out north, northwest, etc.
Spell out North Dakota, Minnesota, etc.
Write out 1, 2, 3 etc.
Numbers 1 to 9 are spelled out; 10 and above use figures.
- 3980 Campus Road Stop 9077
- 264 Centennial Drive Stop 7144
- 2571 2nd Ave. N. Stop 9013
- The arena is located on the northeast side of campus.
- UND is located in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
- "Alt" means alternate; or, a text alternative for your image. Alt tags serve as placeholders for information about an image in text-based browsers and if images are turned off.
- Good alt tags boost search engine results.
- Alt tags describe the images for users who cannot see them and are using a screen reader. Include an alt tag (title field in OU) for every image.
- Alt text should concisely describe what the picture is/represents or its function (e.g. Students walking into Merrifield Hall.) Refrain from stating a picture is a picture (e.g., picture of Merrifield Hall).
- Do not use the image file name as the alt tag.
Portrait of UND President Robert O. Kelley.
- If the image is not a photograph, does not contain text, and serves only as a decoration, use a single space character as its alt tag so that screen readers will skip it silently.
- Background images added using style sheets are ignored by screen readers and do not require alt tags.
- Write content with an external audience in mind, with priority on potential students.
- The site should showcase UND, not serve as an information repository or storage space.
- Do not use ALL CAPS for page titles, links, copy, or navigation. Using caps on websites is perceived as yelling to readers.
- As a general rule, lowercase is preferred in modern Web writing. Capitalize sparingly.
- Use capital letters only for:
- Initial letter of sentence or heading.
- Name or title of a person or entity, e.g. "Chief Executive Jane Smith," "Ministry of Social Stability."
- Acronyms and abbreviations, e.g. UNICEF.
- University should always be capitalized when used in reference to University of North Dakota.
- Proper names of all University units, including colleges, schools, departments, and programs will be capitalized.
School of Law, or Law School
Department of Biology, or the Biology Department
- Titles of University employees will be capitalized in all references. This differs from the AP Style Guide and the UND Style Guide.
Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Lori Reesor
Dr. Reesor, Vice President for Student Affairs
Clarity of Text
- People don't read websites, they scan. Put the most important information at the top of the page (inverse pyramid style).
- Content should be:
- Only post information when it is complete. Avoid saying "Under Construction" or "Coming Soon."
- Do not include a welcome message. Example: "Welcome to the Department of Biology website."
- Avoid metaphors, puns, industry or programmatic jargon, and references which may require explanation.
- Only post content once content is proofread. Perform spell check and link check before publishing.
- All faculty and staff listings will be consistent within each unit. They may vary unit per unit based on need.
- Proper formatting for complete contact information is as follows:
Dr. Robert Kelley
University of North Dakota
300 Twamley Hall
264 Centennial Drive Stop 8193
Grand Forks, ND 58202
- Telephone number should always include an area code and use periods instead of dashes. Abbreviate telephone as Tel not Phone.
- Email addresses do not need "Email:" in front of them because OU automatically stylizes the email address.
- Addresses should always be complete. Do not assume the reader knows UND is located in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
- Links to an UND.edu site or mailto (email) links should capitalize UND in the link when it is placed before the backslash (/). It is not necessary to include "www" in the URL.
Formatting Lists vs. Paragraphs
- Left-justify paragraphs (site content) with no indentation.
- Format your headings as headings (<h2>, <h3> etc.) instead of using paragraph (<p>) format and then stylizing (e.g. bold, italics) your headings.
- Use lists wherever possible. Lists help users interact with Web content quickly by glancing over material.
- List items in logical order. If there isn't an order based on relevance, alphabetize the list.
- Limit the number of items on a list. Seven is ideal.
- Subdivide long lists into short lists of related items.
- Include a brief introductory sentence or heading for each list. All content should have context, giving the user a framework to understand it.
- If paragraphs are used, they need to be short (two to four sentences are ideal) and be separated with a line of white space.
- Provide subheadings (Heading 3, Heading 4) for paragraphs where appropriate to help readers scan the page. Use keywords that audiences may search for, e.g. use "Chemical Engineering Objectives" rather than just "Objectives" because headings are more important to search engines than paragraph text.
Formatting for Instructions and Procedures
- Show instructions or procedures as a bulleted or numbered list, or use a snippet or organize steps. Do not include them as a series of sentences within a paragraph.
- Introductions like "Step 1, Step 2" help the reader following instructions.
- As a general rule, open links to UND pages in the same window and open links to external sites or other files (e.g. PDF file) in a new window.
Correct: Opens in same/current window:
The Library has many resources for students.
- Place links on descriptive words or phrases rather than stating "Click Here" or showing a full URL (unless using a vanity URL).
Read the "Links" section in our Identity Web Content Guidelines for more info.
Read the "Links" section on this page for more info: http://und.edu/identity/website-guidelines/content-standards.cfm
We just launched a new site for all of the UND campus community: my.UND.edu.
- It is not necessary to include "www" in the URL. If linking to a UND site and not linking descriptive words, capitalize UND in the URL before the backslash (/).
- Limit links to no more than seven words and use keywords for describing the link.
UND's web support site offers OmniUpdate (OU) help.
- Include a title for all links.
- Point links directly to the referenced content. For example, if a link indicates it is taking a user to a form, it should go directly to that form instead of to a list of all forms.
- The section navigation (orange bar) should be your highest order of navigation and remain consistent across all pages. Left navigation may shift or expand from folder to folder.
- Use title case for navigation links, not ALL CAPS.
- Prioritize navigation so the most sought information is at the top. About, Contact Us and Mission should come after Program, Degree and Course information. If there isn't an order based on relevance, alphabetize the list.
- Navigation links should only be one to three words. Ampersands (&) may be used if needed.
- Avoid general words like other, useful information, additional information, and miscellaneous.
- In text, use digits for all numbers 10 and above. Spell out numbers nine and below (expect for in an address.)
- Include commas in larger digits (e.g. 1,000 vs. 1000.)
- If the number is important to stress time periods, deadlines, dates, or steps, consider using cardinal number rather than text to call attention to the number.
- All photos/images/graphics should be the property of the University or used with appropriate permissions from the owner(s).
- Photos taken by and property of UND should always take preference, unless a situation warrants otherwise.
- If a photo is needed, see the UND Flickr gallery or contact Tera Buckley, Web Managing Editor, as far ahead of your deadline as possible. Please note it isn't possible to honor all photo requests.
- Photos should be 72 dpi.
- Photos/images/graphics should have padding of 10 pixels around them so text does not run into them. OU automatically inserts this padding.
- All photos/images/graphics must include alt tags (title field in OU), including names of people if needed.
- Use periods in denotations of time (e.g., p.m. and a.m.)
- Avoid exclamation points. If one is used, only one may be used to punctuate a sentence.
- Periods go inside quotation marks.
- Commas should be used before and in series greater than three items (i.e. Books, pens and paper. Books, pens, paper, and folders.)
Rich Media (Video, Flash®)
- For video or Flash® presentations, give users some amount of control such as to stop, pause, replay or adjust volume.
- Only use auto-play on pages that exist solely for the purpose of the video.
- Make your video as succinct as possible. Trim the opening and closing, and remove any unnecessary content.
- Consider dimensions, frames per second, number of keyframes, effects and rapid movement, noise, and compression settings in order to control quality, download time, and best results for users who may not be using high-speed modems.
- Provide text versions of pages done with or in rich media to accommodate accessibility needs.
- Tables should only be used for displaying data. Use a layout snippet to control page layouts.
- Keep tables short enough to show on a screen without scrolling.
- Keep information within each cell succinct so it does not wrap onto many lines.
- When using tables to present tabular data, use table header tags to denote column and row headers so that the information will make sense when read aloud by a screen reader.