Western Kentucky University

Web Content Best Practices

 

Website Content Best Practices

We have included some best practices and suggestions for how you can make your website the best it can be not only for your website visitors, but also for the people behind the scenes who are responsible for creating and maintaining content for your site.

 

Photography

- Photos should be properly sized to fit your homepage photo rotation or other areas throughout your website. 

  • Top Navigation photos are 950x355 pixels
  • Left/Hybrid Navigation photos are 740x330 pixels

 

- ALL photos must include text in the ALT tag of the photo to describe the content of the photograph for persons with disabilities who might be visiting your website through translation software for the blind and other persons with disabilities. 

- Any photo that has words on it (ie. advertisements, etc.) must include every single word within the ALT tag of the photo for ADA compliance.

- Photos should be refreshed regularly, if you would like to schedule new photos to be taken of your staff or department, classrooms, or events, please contact university.photography@wku.edu.

- If your photo includes images of minors under the age of 18, you must obtain a release form from their parent or guardian to include their photo on your website.  If your department is hosting a camp where minors will be present, we suggest including this release form with your camp application materials.  Otherwise, you may contact University Photography to obtain a release form.

 

Descriptive Text

- Text on your website should be clear, concise, relevant and timely.  If you list information regarding date-sensitive material, including event dates or specific deadlines, set a reminder in your calendar to remind yourself to remove the date-sensitive content after the date has passed. 

- Make sure the text on your website is consistent with the mission and vision of your department and of WKU.

- Your text should be updated frequently to maintain relevancy and to eliminate obsolete content.

- Users should never have to scroll to infinity to read the text on your webpage unless absolutely necessary (yes, we realize we do this on this page).  Websites are intended to be a brief representation of what your department has to offer.  Split up long content into separate pages or link to a PDF where extended content is absolutely necessary.

 

Navigation and Links

- The navigation of your website should get your visitors to their intended destination in three or fewer clicks.  Navigation should not lead visitors in circles, as this is very frustrating for your end users.  Set a clear path for users to reach their destination, as well as a clear exit path to get back to where they began.  This can be simply accomplished by adding a link back to home in either your top or left navigational areas so that users can get back to your homepage from wherever they are within your site.

- Identify links that lead users to documents or external websites.  For example, if you are sending your users to a PDF file, identify it as such:  VIEW THIS FILE (PDF)

- Set your links to "open in window" as opposed to "open in a new window" as a general rule so that users are not opening multiple browser windows.  An exception to this rule is when your users need to open a supplemental document with references to the webpage they are viewing.  Then it would be appropriate to open that document in a new window.

 

Page Condensing

- It is appropriate to break up long, detailed content into multiple pages.  For example, instead of one page with information intended for transfer students, international students and graduate students, split that info into one page with three separate informational areas, one for each group.

 

Social Media

- List your social media links prominently on your homepage, if not on every page within your website. 

- Place your social media links on the WKU Social Media Directory by emailing webservices@wku.edu.

- Social media widgits (Twitter, Instagram, etc.) may be placed on your website.  Please be sure they fit in the desired location.  The right-hand column area is a popular area for these items.  The maximum width of that area is 280 pixels before the page becomes distorted.

- View our Social Media Best Practices for additional information

 

Videos

- If you embed a video on your webpage, you must also embed or link to a complete transcript of every word that is spoken in your video for ADA compliance.  Most WKU website content managers manually type out the words on a Word document and link to it.  If you need detailed transcription services, you may email webservices@wku.edu for a list of options on campus, most of which come with a fee.

 

Mobile Friendly Web Pages

- WKU moved to a mobile-friendly responsive design in 2013.  If you have tables on your page, you must set them to 100% width to adhere to the responsive layout without distorting your webpages when viewed on mobile browsers.  You may check your website by viewing it on any mobile device.

 

Template Modification

- Any modification to the provided WKU.edu website templates is strictly prohibited.  WKU OU Campus users are allowed use of the editable "white" region and page title areas (dark gray bar above the main editable region).  Modification to the main WKU navigation, search bar or lower navigational areas are prohibited. 

- WKU OU Campus users well versed in coding may be tempted to alter the back-end code to achieve various aesthetic results with their sites.  This is discouraged by our Web Governance body, the WKU Web Standards Committee.  WKU Creative Web Services and WKU Information Technology WILL NOT offer support for custom coded websites.  Custom coded sites cause problems during department turnover when websites are inherited by people who are not as well versed in coding as their predecessors.  Therefore, we discourage custom-coded sites.

 

Branding

- For information on official WKU logos, color palette and other brand-related issues, please refer to the WKU Communications and Branding Manual.  Please contact WKU Marketing & Communications with additional questions.

 

Website Audits

We are happy to perform an audit of your website to assist you in making your website all it can be.  To request a WKU web consultation or audit, please email webservices@wku.edu.

 

 Last Modified 8/21/13