WEB SERVICES | Guidelines & Suggestions

Semantically-Correct Code

All code should be structured in a way that is representative of the type of data being displayed.

  • Page Headers should use heading tags (h1, h2, h3, etc.)
  • Paragraphs, lists, blockquotes... all should be in properly formatted tags for these purposes
  • Tables are only for tabular data, not page layout

Use META tags

  • Normally, search indices will use the first few lines of text from a document as a short description to display in a search result. Since this text is not always applicable, use the <META> tag to provide a more accurate description.
  • Meta tags are placed inside the <head> section of the Web page.
  • The description cannot contain HTML markup, and should be less than 1024 characters in length. To put a Meta description in a page, insert the following line of HTML
    • <META NAME="description" CONTENT="Your description here.">
  • In the same way, extra keywords can be added. These keywords are used next to the ones found in the document. If a keyword is overused (some engines use an upper limit of 7 occurrences) the entire list will be ignored. To put Meta keywords into a page, insert the following line of HTML
    • <META NAME="keywords" CONTENT="Keyword, keyword, keyword">

Other Guidelines

  1. The SUU Web servers are not a storage facility. These are for Web content only. Do not store non-Web-related files on the servers.
  2. Do not "orphan" files on the Web servers. If a special page is needed for a one-time event, then unlinked from the other pages but left on the server, it is still pulled up by the search engines. Remove these files completely from the server.
  3. Everybody is encouraged to make pages that are accessible for people with disabilities. All departments representing the school must have accessibility compliant pages. Faculty members are required to make sure their pages are compliant once they have a disabled student in one of their classes.
  4. SUU uses valid HTML code. Most pages are in XHTML 1.0, but movement is being made toward HTML5. Those who are not very familiar with HTML should run their page through a code validator to verify that the page is properly encoded.
  5. Spell check and proofread your pages.
  6. When using different fonts, keep in mind that just because a font is installed in the computer on which the page was built, this does not mean that same font is installed on every computer. Stick to standard typefaces. Web Services recommends sans-serif fonts such as Arial or Verdana. Those are the easiest to read on a monitor.
  7. Tables should only be used for tabular data.
  8. Frames are not allowed.
  9. Do not make pages in which the user has to scroll horizontally. Make title bar images that would fit in 960 pixels wide.
  10. Do not use overly patterned backgrounds. Dark and loud backgrounds lower visibility of a page.
  11. Do not place counters on pages. If statistics are vitally important to the site, reports may be requested from Web Services about activity on that site.
  12. Do not use blinking text
  13. Avoid the "Click Here" syndrome. (This is an accessibility issue) Phrasing links in this way assumes the user is using a mouse.
  14. A hyperlink should be understandable on its own. Pages must have descriptive text links. Similarly, things like "Information about X is available by following this link" are not permitted. A good way to check a page is to read only the link text on the page with none of the surrounding text. If it doesn't make sense, change it.
  15. No dead-end pages. Every page should have at least one link.
  16. Do not put "Under Construction" on a page. ALL Web pages should be continually under construction.
  17. If a site is not maintained on a regular basis, Web Services will notify the person maintaining the site that they have two (2) weeks to get the information updated. If this is not done, then Web Services will remove the page and all subsequent links. All pages should, at the very least, be updated every semester. Some pages may need to be updated more frequently, but semester updates should be the goal of every area. Do not think of producing a Web page as a one-time task, but an ongoing project.
  18. Even if a student will be maintaining the Web page, there must be a full-time employee serving as the Web Liaison. Web Services will maintain a list of who is in charge of every area in order to ensure that content is being updated regularly.
  19. A full-time employee from each unit's site must be the e-mail recipient from the contact link at the bottom of each page.
  20. There is no advertising on the SUU Web pages.

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Last Update: Friday, January 28, 2011