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Web Style Guide

SWOSU intends for webpages to be attractive and functional and reflect positively on the university, its organizations, and its community. The Web Style Guide has been established as a set of guidelines and recommendations for SWOSU websites. All webpages shall adhere to the standards established in the Web Style Guide.

  • Plan ahead. Determine the purpose, intended audience, and what materials are going to be included. Make a logical outline of the website.
  • Users read text differently in a web browser than they do on a printed page. Headings and subheadings are scanned as well as links to quickly find information rather than reading every word. Content should be written in short, concise paragraphs. The most important information needs to be placed at or near the top of the page (“above the fold”) to ensure that it is visible to a reader who does not scroll. It is important to keep in mind that users might arrive on a webpage in many different ways so the content should be written to work as a stand-alone webpage and not presume that the reader has arrived through a certain path.
  • Page titles must be meaningful and reflect the content of the webpage.
  • Headings are used appropriately to reflect the importance of content. (<h1>, <h2>….<h6>) H1 reflecting the highest importance.
  • Links should be descriptive of the information that they link to. (Example: “Online University Application” not “Click here to apply”)
  • Images should be sized and optimized to reduce file size as much as possible.
  • Images should not contain important text, such as headings, as it limits accessibility. Alternate text must be applied to all images.
  • Filenames should follow these naming conventions:
    • Filenames should contain ONLY letters, numbers, and dashes.
    • Dashes are to be used instead of spaces.
    • Lowercase letters are preferred.
  • Captions must be used to describe any important information conveyed through visuals or sounds in multimedia content.
  • Links to other sites are set to open in a new window so that users aren’t taken away from the SWOSU website.
  • Preferred terminology and spelling:
    • Email
    • Webpage
    • Website
    • Username
    • Login (noun), log in (verb)
    • Filename
    • Homepage
    • Online

If accessibility standards cannot be met, the information should be available by alternative means.