Georgia Southern University strives to make our official websites accessible for all visitors including those with disabilities. Accessibility standards for the web are established by Section 508 and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 as well as the University System of Georgia (USG). The official University themes address many of these standards, but content editors need to be able to understand how to address problematic areas in their site’s content. Here are some basic guidelines:
- Text color – text must be in high contrast with the background (7:1 for normal text, 4.5:1 for headlines). The styles within the University themes are compliant with this standard, content editors should not alter the color of the text on their websites.
- Images – require a text alternative (a.k.a. “alt” text ) – WordPress will insert alt text for you when you use the “Add Media” tab in the page editor. If you insert your images manually, you’ll need to enter alt text as well. If an image is purely decorative, use alt=”” (null value) to indicate that assistive technology should ignore it.
- Links – use descriptive text to help users clearly identify the purpose of a link. For example, link the descriptive phrase “working with tables” instead of “more info.” (Note: Context is the key here – it’s okay to use “more info” or “click here” when the rest of the sentence makes the purpose of the link clear.) The same applies to PDFs or other documents which should include a note to indicate that the link opens a PDF: University’s Identity Standards (PDF).
- Structure – content should be structured in a way that guides visitors using assistive technology logically through the page. This can be done by using meaningful markup such as headings, paragraphs, <strong> or <em> for emphasis, and by avoiding markup that is purely presentational e.g. “align”, “bgcolor”, <b>, <i>. Headings should be used in order (h2 followed by h3, h4, h5) when possible. Using tables to create layouts should also be avoided – the table html tag indicates tabular data, so search engines and assistive technologies alike may misinterpret your content if misused.
View the full list of standards here >
- For consistency and accessibility standards, don’t use mixed font sizes, colors and/or faces.
- Use the Visual Editor when possible. Otherwise, markup should be semantic, valid HTML5 – inline styles are discouraged; embedded stylesheets within pages or widgets will be removed.
- Lists & comma use – following Georgia Southern University standards – don’t use a comma to separate the last items of a list:e.g. cats, dogs and squirrels (not: cats, dogs, and squirrels)
- For help in content writing see the Web and Calendar Content Quick Style Guide.
- Read Web Content 101 – our quick, one-page guide to web writing – and SEO 101 for search engine optimization basics.
- Home page titles – use a descriptive title when possible – e.g. “Advanced Teacher Preparation” or “Ed.D. in Curriculum Studies” instead of “Welcome” or “Overview.”
- Visibility – all pages marked “Published” are indexed by search engines and are visible to the public whether there is a link to that page on your site or not. Any pages that are not ready for public viewing must be set to “Draft” status until they are ready for publication. The same applies to News and Content Blocks.
- By convention, underlined text on the web is “clickable” – to avoid confusing your visitors, don’t underline text that is not linked.
- As a rule all links should open in the same window or tab. Opening a link in new window disorients users and disables the use of the back button, a crucial navigation tool on mobile devices.
- Links to PDFs and other docs – let your visitors know when a link will open a PDF or other document type by a adding parenthetical note – e.g. (PDF) or (Word doc) – or include a graphic icon beside the link.
- During migration, correct all links within your content that point to your old site. The web team will set up redirects for top-level pages, but it is your responsibility to ensure links within your content work after launch.
- Links to restricted-access sites – include a note when a link will require visitors to enter login credentials (e.g. add a note stating “MyGS login required” when linking to a SharePoint site that requires users to login).
- Review your site regularly to ensure your content is up-to-date and accurate. You’ll also receive reports from our web governance tool, SiteImprove, to help you find and fix broken links and misspellings on your site.
- News – read our recommendations for using categories and tags to help visitors find related content.
Organizing Your Site
- Consolidate related content when possible – if you only have a few sentences or paragraphs for each section of a site, include the content on a single page and use headings to break it up, rather than creating separate pages for small amounts of text.
- When you have substantial amounts of inter-related content, create “sections” within your site with Parent pages (use the Page Attributes box to assign parent pages).
- Parent pages also establish your site’s URLs (e.g., WingSPAN is given the parent page “Programs” to create this url: http://admissions.georgiasouthern.edu/programs/wingspan/)
- Breadcrumbs are provided on all our sites to help users navigate between pages easily – creating a logical organization with parent and child pages establishes breadcrumbs and makes them useful. Here’s an example of breadcrumbs for the “Working with Tables” page under the parent page “Learn WordPress”:
- Your site’s “home” page should not be used as a parent page – this will result in the word “home” included in the url unnecessarily – use the default “Main Page (no parent)” instead.
- Parent pages should not be blank – they should include content and links to their “child” pages.
- Colleges should attempt to retain their current url structure in WordPress.
- Navigation Menus:
- Drop downs should not be placed under the “Home” tab – by convention the “Home” button takes visitors back to the home page in a single click.
- Links to documents in a navigation menu should include a parenthetical note – (PDF) or (Word Doc) for instance – so visitors understand that they will be downloading a document when they click the link. It’s better, however, to send visitors to a page on your site that contains the link to the document, rather than linking directly to documents in a navigation menu.
- Don’t link to “coming soon” or “draft” pages – wait until the content is published.
- All images must be optimized for the web: 72ppi resolution, alt text included for accessibility. The following file formats are accepted: JPG, PNG and GIF.
- Images used in Pages or News Posts should be resized to a maximum width of 550px before uploading to WordPress – large images will slow down your page load time and can affect accessibility for users on slow connections. See “Graphics and Images” for instructions.
- Header Images should be sized according to theme specifications – College/Silver, Department/Blue.
- Slideshow vs. Image Widget – when you just have a single image to display in a widget area, use the “Image Widget.” The Slideshow widget will include additional scripts to your page that add unnecessary bloat when it’s just a single image. The same applies to displaying a single image on a page – use the “Add Media” button in the page editor rather than creating a Slideshow for one image.
- The following file types can be uploaded to the Media Library: PDF, PNG, JPG, GIF, DOC, DOCX, XLS, XLSX, PPT and PPTX. Individual files cannot exceed 2MB each.
- Space Limitations – Space available for WordPress media uploads is limited, so you’ll want to manage your media uploads wisely. We recommend using Google Docs/Drive for documents that exceed 2MB, Flickr for photo albums and YouTube for videos.
Marketing Your Website
SEO – your departmental WordPress website is optimized for search engines out of the box – when you publish new content, your sitemap is automatically updated and a notification is sent to major search engines.
Promotional URLs – website urls published in printed materials must be formatted as GeorgiaSouthern.edu/shorturl instead of subdomain.georgiasouthern.edu to adhere to the University’s Identification Standards Guide.
Most websites on the University’s WordPress network include a short url by default. Here’s how they work:
For example, Academic Advisement’s website is at http://academics.georgiasouthern.edu/advisement/. The site slug is advisement and it’s in the academics network. So the short url would be:
NOTE: Short urls (redirects) are case-sensitive and may not be active on every network – always test your short url in a browser first to make sure it works. Contact your Content Owner or the Web Team if you have questions about short urls or redirects.
Last updated: 10/30/2017