Digital Content Standards
Like every communication tool, the UND website needs to follow certain identity standards.
Most UND websites are hosted in OmniUpdate, UND's content management system. OmniUpdate has standard templates that adhere to Brand Standards. However, since site content is flexible, specific web content standards have been established.
- Review and update information in a timely fashion, with a minimum frequency of three times per year.
- 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.
- 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 writing guideline for the UND website.
Please consult the Writing Guidelines for general text style recommendations and the Visual Guide for graphics and photography help. In addition, the following style guidelines are recommended for UND websites:
Alt tags 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.
- Yes: Front door of UND Memorial Union
- No: picunion1_large.jpg
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.
Clarity of Text
- 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.
- People don't read websites, they scan. Put the most important information at the top of the page (inverse pyramid style).
- Keep content as short as possible.
Proper formatting for complete contact information is as follows:
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 with no indentation.
- Format your headings properly by using Heading 2 (<h2>), Heading (<h3>) etc. Do not use paragraph (<p>) format and then stylize (e.g. bold, italics) your headings.
- Use lists wherever possible so users can quickly scan content.
- List items in logical order. If there isn't an order based on relevance, alphabetize the list.
- Limit the number of items in the navigation. Seven is ideal.
- Include a brief introductory sentence or heading for each list. All content should have context, giving the user a framework to understand it.
- Do not include a colon ":" after a heading.
- Keep paragraphs short (two to four sentences are ideal).
- Provide subheadings (Heading 3, Heading 4) for paragraphs where appropriate to help readers scan the page. Use keywords 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.
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.
Correct: Opens in new window:
We've recently updated our Academic Calendar.
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 Brand Web Content Guidelines for more information.
Read the "Links" section on this page for more information: http://und.edu/brand/web-content-standards.cfm
We just launched a new site for all of the UND campus community: 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 page with 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-after information is at the top. For example: 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.
- If possible, 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.