Web Guidelines

Technical

Required

Home page named index

The homepage should be named index and can have a file extension of .html, .htm, .asp, etc. The file names of home and default are also acceptable. These files names allow the use of a short URL, such as www.unco.edu/websupport/ since the server then knows to look for the index, home or default page.

HTML transitional statement and doc type statement

The following line should be the first line of every page:

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">

Style sheets

Style sheets help provide consistency across your site by defining fonts, spacing and other design items. Style sheets, rather than inline styles, should be used to determine the presentation of the content. To increase accessibility, always organize documents so they may be read without style sheets.

Minimize page download time

Average page sizes should not exceed approximately 150 K, including images,html and style sheets. Reducing the number, size and complexity of images is the key to smaller page file sizes. Images should be used to convey a meaning, should be cropped to the smallest size appropriate to the content and optimized for use of the Web. Digital camera photos are generally not optimized for Web and have a large file size. Most graphics software packages can be used to crop and have a save for Web option that converts an image to a low resolution (72 DPI) suitable for the Web.

Relocating pages

Avoid moving web pages to different locations or changing the filename of pages since links on other Web pages will then be broken. When relocation is unavoidable, a redirect page to the new URL must be posted at the original URL and remain there for one year and the change should be reported to the Director of Web Communications to allow accurate linking from top level pages.

Virtual name Web addresses

The standard format for a University of Northern Colorado URL (Web address) is www.unco.edu/websitename. A unique or "virtual" URL , such as library.unco.edu, can be requested for prominent sites through the Web Communications Office and will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Data Collection

A university committee has been convened to review the topic of online data collection. Results are expected by the end of the 2006 academic year and will be announced to campus. At this time, forms are not being added to Web sites.

Hosting of other sites

The University of Northern Colorado will provide Web site hosting for any professionally or institutionally relevant site for faculty or staff, resources permitting. In cases where resources are an issue, the Web Communications Office and Information Technology may be consulted to determine if the site is of a nature that resources should be identified for the service. All hosted Web sites must comply with relevant laws, regulations, and university policies and procedures at all times.

Recommended

Set cell alignment to left and top

If tables are used for layout, set the alignment of cells to top and left rather than leave the default values. Internet Explorer 6.0 center justifies cell content as the default so the alignment must be specifically set. Please note the default alignment may look correct in an HTML editor but it will not look the same in the IE 6.0 browser.

Page Dimensions

To avoid horizontal scrolling on an 1024 x 768 screen, minimum width should be no greater than 960 pixels wide. It is preferable to provide a “printable version” with a separate style sheet (for print media). If you choose to have only one version of the page (web-viewable and printable), be aware that widths greater than 670 pixels will cause right side page information to be cut off in printing.

Design for common browsers

Ensure that all testing of a website is done using the most popular browsers. Currently that list includes Internet Explorer 7.x, 6.x and 5.x, Firefox and Safari. Check your pages on both Mac and PC. Contact Web Communications at 351-1781 to schedule a time to test pages on multiple platforms and browsers if you do not have them available to you.

Use a Validator

Use a validator program to ensure the site’s compliance with W3C recommendations. Follow the instructions on the site to validate your pages.