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.
- 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 swarthmore.edu 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"
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
- Be sure to follow the Swarthmore College Style Guide when writing text for your site.
- 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.