Web Services Department

Web Best Practices

Use 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, etc. should all be in properly formatted tags for these purposes
  • Tables are only for tabular data, not page layout

Keep Time in Mind

  • Whether someone visits your page tomorrow or in four months, the words should still be true.
  • Only put years on items that are truly date-specific. A "2016 Request Form" will have to be updated every year, but a simple "Request Form" will always be up to date. In contrast, a "2017 Event Application" probably needs to specify that it's for a specific year.
  • Avoid phrases like "in two weeks" or "next semester" unless you are certain you'll come back to update the page. Sentences that refer to the future should simply name the date, like "On September 20, 2017." 

Simplicity Always Wins

  • Keep your pages simple. Students and other visitors to your website want to find useful information, and they can do that easily when you have a simple page layout and easy to read content.
  • On that note, keep your pages focused. Ask yourself "what is this page about and who is it for?" and make sure the content serves that purpose.
  • Infographics may look pretty, but they can usually be replaced by a much simpler list of facts. Infographics are also terrible for accessibility.

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 web server, it is still pulled up by the search engines. Remove these files completely from the server.
  3. Spell check and proofread your pages.
  4. Do not use blinking text.
  5. Do not put "Under Construction" on a page. ALL Web pages should be continually under construction.
  6. 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. Having a Web page is not a one-time task, but an ongoing project.
  7. There is no advertising on SUU Web pages.