Web Design Best Practices
This guide was put together to help you create a site that is both user friendly, informative and one that can be viewed on multiple platforms. It was developed using accepted web usability standards as well as guidelines created by the UMMC Web Committee.
- Content should be to the point and broken up so that it is easily readable.
- Keep to one topic per page. Try not to put everything about your school/department, etc., all on one page, but instead break it up into multiple site sections and pages.
- Use subheads to break up copy where appropriate.
- Use the bold tag sparingly. If it is used too often, then it fails to draw emphasis as it is intended. Instead, it is skimmed with all of the other text by the reader.
- CONTENT ON THE INTERNET IS NOT FREE OR PUBLIC DOMAIN BY DEFAULT. Make sure any text, graphics, content, etc., you copy from the internet can be used on our site.
- Content copied from PDFs or word documents must be pasted as regular text within Ektron. There are hidden characters and styling code that aren’t seen by you when you copy the text, but when it is pasted to the web it generates odd characters within your work.
Websites, unlike word documents and printed media, have a limited number of fonts. Browsers have the ability to display about 12 different fonts and they will display on multiple platforms and browsers the same way. Remember this when creating your document.
Changing font sizes, styles and colors within a document can be very distracting and give the page a non-professional look if not done correctly. Font changes should be reserved for subheads, titles, etc.
Approximately 9% of all men and 1% of women suffer some form of colorblindness. For that reason, using multiple colored fonts can make sites hard to read for users.
- Pictures, when used appropriately, not only help with the presentation but can also help convey your message more clearly to the reader. Used incorrectly, they can be a hindrance to your message and in some cases make the pages unusable for the reader.
- Photos should pertain to the subject matter presented.
- The largest photo on the site can only be 650 pixels wide. Make sure your photos are sized appropriately. Monitors only display 72 dpi so anything higher is wasted.
- Use pictures within the body of content sparingly. Only use them if they illustrate a point for a particular paragraph and only if you have enough content to support their use; i.e. don’t use two pictures for 4 paragraphs of text.
- We must have rights/permission for ALL photos/pictures used
on the site. Even if they are pictures of university staff/students, we must
have a signed waiver on file. If you need a picture for your site, the best
thing to do is contact Public Affairs. They have libraries of photos to use and contracts with vendors to
use pictures from their online libraries.
- Files such as PDFs, spreadsheets, word documents, etc., placed in the library for users to download should be maintained by your department. If they are not created/maintained by your department, you should link to where they are hosted instead of uploading a copy. An example would be the HR employee handbook. Linking to the version hosted on the HR site ensures that when HR makes updates, yours will update automatically. If you have a duplicate version, you may not know they made changes and therefore the university could have a liability with old versions being published.