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Worried that visitors to your website aren’t finding what they’re looking for? Or that your site feels too busy – or maybe not busy enough? ITS and the Communications Office have assembled a short guide to help ensure you use best practices and avoid common pitfalls of website development.

Page Title

  • All pages should have a title that clearly states the general topics covered within.


  • Headings 1 – 6 should be used consistently to organize and format headings on pages.
  • Paragraph style should be used for "regular" body text.


  • Be sure to follow the Recommended Image Size guide when preparing images for upload.
  • Avoid using images containing text.
  • Each department homepage should have one or more images that convey something meaningful about the department.
  • The top pages of your navigation should include a Primary Image as well.

Alternative Text for Images

  • Learn more about Alternative Text at WebAim.
  • Images should include brief descriptions in the Alternative Text field. This is extremely important in providing context in instances where a visitor is making use of assistive technologies.
  • Images featuring people should also include their name in the Alternative Text field.
  • Descriptive text MUST be included when images containing meaningful information are added to a page. 
  • Links to external sites, meaning sites outside of the domain, should always open in a new window.
    • Target field should be set to New Window.
    • Title field should indicate  "New window, [external site's name]”.
  • Always provide informative link text. Example:
    • "Learn more about [link topic]" 
  • Never use ambiguous link text. Example include:
    • "Click Here"
    • "Here"
    • "More"

Navigation and Contact Us

  • Departmental sites should include a Primary Navigation and Contact Information module on every page.
  • The primary navigation should always appear at the top and Contact Us should always appear at the bottom right.

News and Events

  • Each department homepage should include a news pane and an events/calendar pane. 

Swarthmore College Style Guide

Student Workers

  • Always provide student workers with specific instructions for site updates and double-check their work. You are responsible for their work as it appears on the Swarthmore website.



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