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General Guidelines for Authoring Web Pages

The following guidelines are intended to help authors create web sites for departments, services and special projects here in the Library. We refer to a set of pages as a "web site" and the top level page as the "home page". The guidelines are broken down into three segments: Content, Design and Procedural/Technical

Content

Required:

  1. Every home page should include: name, title, and email address of person or department responsible for content. E-mail address can be a link from the person's name. Example: Gretchen Gfeller
  2. Date of last revision. [Included in template]
  3. Full name of unit, document text, address or link to a separate page with detailed formation so that the source can be determined.
  4. Title should follow the format: Fogler Library - name of your unit or topic. (The title is what appears in the title bar at the top of the browser display window.) Example: Fogler Library-Workshop Series.
  5. Link to the Fogler Library home page. [Included in template]

Recommended:

  1. Include copyright statement with range of years (eg. Copyright 2000-2014).[Included in template]
  2. Indicate restricted access where appropriate.
  3. Include warning statement(s) if link will lead to large document or image.
  4. Include "What's New" section or link on home page.
  5. Avoid browser-specific terminology (for example, "pull down the File menu and select Save").
  6. The text used for links should make sense as if link were not present, as with a paper copy. For example, "For assistance with specific information requests, please contact the reference staff at: http://www.library.umaine.edu/refchat.htm
  7.  instead of: "To ask a reference question, click here."
  8. Whenever possible, link directly to other sources of information (eg. bookstore hours).  Avoid adding flat content to your page about another department or service.  Information is more likely to be kept up to date and at the very least consistency with the entity directly responsible for the information is maintained.  

Design

Required:

  1. A link to the home page (top level) of the web site. [Included in template]
  2. A horizontal rule line to set off the credits/contact information at the bottom of web pages [Included in template]
  3. Use the xhtml coded template with stylesheet call to provide visual consistency across related documents (See example template) [Included in template]

Recommended:

  1. Small graphics consistent with the library logo that identifies all of the documents of a web site
  2. Short (one screen display) and clear home page which includes a table of contents for the rest of the mini-web site
  3. Avoid "monster" graphics.  Also avoid too many little graphics (keep the size of the graphic files to under 15K if possible)
  4. Navigational aids useful to your users ("Return to Top" link, consistent navigation bar, table of contents, "next/previous" page links for sequenced documents, etc.)
  5. "Hot buttons" for short cuts to important links.  If your page requires considerable scrolling, place a target bar at the top to quickly point to subareas.
  6. Minimum text in list items or menus
  7. Spare use of bold and  italic fonts, multiple colors, etc.
  8. See also University of Maine Policies and Guidelines

Procedural/Technical

Required:

  1. When creating documents, be sure to use descriptive file names, all in lower case with the extension .htm
  2. Creation of files first on DEVL Share within appropriate mini-web at: http://development.library.umaine.edu/[mini-web]
  3. Conformance to XHTML 1.0 standards. Avoid browser-specific tags (see the NYPL online Style Guide)
  4. Include alternate text for images on your web pages in accordance with ADA compliance. 
  5. Test links before submitting page for uploading to the public server.
  6. Proofread pages for grammar, punctuation and spelling.
  7. Validate new pages using the W3C Validation Service.
  8. Check finished document in a variety of browsers (eg. Firefox, Chrome, IE Explorer, Opera) on both PC and MacIntosh platforms.

Recommended:

  1. A schedule for revisions and who is ultimately responsible for them.
  2. Markup language (XHTML) that is readable by future maintainers (ie. liberal use of line breaks, white space and comments in the source code)
  3. Low-resolution, small images (also called "thumbnails") in the main document, which link to higher-resolution, larger images that load separately. The links should indicate the SIZE and TYPE of the larger image (e.g. 80K JPG graphic). This is useful for art collections, detailed sketches, etc., allowing users to select the mode that best matches their access parameters.
  4. Test with primary user groups.
  5. If using frames, include a link to a non-frame version of your site.

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Created by: Library Staff | Revised: 02/26/2014
5729 Fogler Library
University of Maine
Orono, ME 04469-5729
Phone: 207-581-1661 | Fax: 207-581-1653
© Copyright 2000-2014
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
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