Content Development Guidelines
This guide provides recommendations and guidelines for web page development and maintenance.
The following are two content editing tools for content editors to edit content on a website without having to use a full web authoring tool such as Dreamweaver.
- Contribute: a software program that allows content editors to edit a website that has been implemented using Dreamweaver templates. The program provides a user-friendly interface to edit content. The program needs to be purchased and installed on each individual computer.
- WordPress: a web content management system (CMS) that allows content editors to use a user-friendly web-based interface to edit content. The system is web-based so can be accessed over the internet.
To set up a Wordpress website visit Request a Blog.
Front Page is not a recommended or supported web authoring tool.
The font used in the York web template is Arial. It is available on most computers as a system font and is considered easy-to-read on-screen because it is a sans-serif font.
Arial has been specified for common text elements such as headings, paragraphs, links, and lists and are specified in the main template stylesheet.
The website’s font/background colours mirror York’s colours: Red, Black, Grey and White. All colours have met accessibility guidline rules for colour contrast when used as noted below:
Other colours should not be introduced to the site unless it is a campaign- or Faculty-specific element. For advice on use of colour, please contact your Account Director.
When dealing with images, keep the following tips and guidelines in mind:
- Photos/images should be relevant to, complement and enhance the information on the same page
- Avoid using any unnecessary images
- Text equivalents such as alt text should be provided for all images unless they provide no additional purpose other than decoration on a page
- Images with little colour gradation (i.e. larger solid blocks of colour) that otherwise make limited use of colour should be presented in .gif or .png format
- Photographic-quality images should be rendered as .jpg files and compressed/optimized to offer the smallest file size without significant loss in acceptable image quality
- Images should not be placed in the left navigation area.
One of the goals of websites under the York domain is to communicate with users in the clearest and most user-friendly manner possible. A website’s job is to get the information to users in the most effective and efficient way by simplifying information.
- Put the most important information first
- Use plain language to ensure information is reaching the target audience
- Do not use internal language
- Use one idea per paragraph with sub-headings so that the user has an indication of what they are about to read
- Use bullet points where possible
- Minimize scrolling by being succinct and avoiding redundant text
- Keep blocks of text small and use action headings
- To properly emphasize information, separate it from the rest of the content (with line breaks or a bullet list); bolding text can also be used sparingly, however, underlining text should be avoided
- Underlining should only be used to highlight hyperlinks within the main body content
- Stay relevant! Only include information on the page that is relevant to the topic at hand – any other information should go on a dedicated page
- Be consistent in the use of terms and acronyms – spell them out in their first occurrence referring to the acronym in brackets (i.e. York University (York))
- Titles should not be hyperlinks – embed a link within the following content instead
- Do not use “click here” or “click on” for hyperlink text – instead, use the title of the page being linked to
- Use an informal, friendly, conversational, but consistent voice throughout the site
- Avoid the use of synonyms for key terms (i.e. use consistent naming conventions throughout your text)
Grammar & Punctuation
- Capitalize the first word of each sentence, otherwise capital letters should only be used to indicate proper nouns and acronyms
- Italics should not be used in titles, navigation or in bulleted lists in the right or left areas of the page, however, they may be required within the main content area of the page
- Only one space should be entered after a sentence (i.e. after a period), not two spaces
- All spelling is in English (United Kingdom) – content as well as spelling and grammar on York’s websites is reflective of York as an institution of higher learning it must be correct
- Titles/page headers should follow “title case”, meaning that all nouns, pronouns, verbs and all other words of four or more letters are capitalized
The best way to achieve a good page rank on a search engine result is to consider what search terms a user would use in a search engine to find your content. Use those terms often (and properly) in the content you write.
Tip: Use of Google Webmaster Tools can help determine what keywords Google has found on the pages and what keywords/search terms people are using to find your page.
A second thing to do is to keep file size as small as possible by using include files, CSS for layout and optimizing images. Google favours (gives higher page ranking to) web pages that load quickly.
Page titles appear at the top of a browser window and should begin with the page’s content title followed by the site name followed by York University.
E.g.: Page Name | Site Name | York University
A page title should be limited to no more than 64 characters – search engines, browser history and other tools will truncate anything longer. The use of dashes and ampersands is encouraged in order to keep the character count low.
Each page should have a different title that explains what specific content is found on each page to help with search engine optimization (SEO).
The Global Navigation includes Google Analytics code that can be used to provide web stats for your site. To enable statistics to be parsed for your site, please refer to the Production Guide. Please note that statistics cannot be parsed retroactively.
UIT has standard solutions for additional functionality such as: events & news, feeds, forms, slideshows, etc. Please see the Production Guide for more info.
The standards outlined in this style guide should be implemented using the York web page template and supporting files. For instructions on how to implement the standards using the template files please refer to the York Web Production Guide. To download the template files, please see the Templates section.
- Website Style Guide (pdf)
updated May 2012
- WordPress Info
- Request a WordPress Site
- Sharing Web Technologies at York
- Photo & Video Consent Forms
Table of Contents
- • Layout Sections
- • Global Navigation
- • Banner
- • Left Navigation Sidebar
- • Slideshow / Photograph / Design Treatment Area (optional)
- • Main Content Area
- • Right Column Sidebar
- • Bottom Link Menu
- • Footer
- • Landing Pages