All departments/offices that use the Content Management System must adhere to the following user policies and style guidelines, which were developed based on consultation with web site experts and benchmarking of other institutional web sites.
Use of the Content Management System
To request the ability to publish content to www.union.edu via the CMS, please complete and submit the Online Project Request Form. Once it has been submitted, we will work with department leadership to assess whether your department's/office's publishing needs and workflow require access to the Content Management System. Because the Content Management System allows users to publish content directly to Union's live web site-- the public digital face of the College-- requests for access will be carefully evaluated.
If access is granted, a primary web content author must then be designated from within the requesting department/office. Student interns or temporary workers are not eligible to be web content authors. The Office of Communications and Marketing will then provide all the required CMS training for the designee. Web content authors must attend at least two CMS "open houses" yearly. All content authors will receive monthly e-mail reminders listing the dates and times of the next available session(s).
For security purposes, any user account within the CMS that has been inactive for at least six months will be deleted.
Creating New Pages
The creation of additional or new web pages within the site is subject to the approval of the Office of Communication and Marketing.
Web pages should not be used as a comprehensive "content archive," or to duplicate information that is already accessible on other parts of www.union.edu. (Do not list events on your web site, add them to the central campus calendar and link out to the information.)
It's helpful to think of a Web site as an online brochure: content on most pages should be "evergreen" (not likely to go out of date quickly) and pruned of extraneous material. If users need to sort through superfluous pages and redundant content, they will inevitably miss the key messages the site is trying to communicate. When in doubt, keep it simple.
External (public) vs. Internal Content
All content authors should use discretion over what kind of internal content is publicly shared on www.union.edu. Remember that most pages on the site can be accessed by anyone at any time once they are published live. In general, department file servers or access-restricted intranets, not www.union.edu, should be used to share meeting notes, room schedules, student abstracts, lab fees, lesson assignments, employee announcements, etc.
Formatting and Readability
In the interest of improving web page readability and to reduce formatting problems, please use formatted text (bold, italics, etc.) sparingly.
Punctuation and Tone
Writing for the web should be clear, concise and matter-of-fact. Avoid long sentences, cliches, overly academic or complex language and exclamation points. The best way to think of web writing is to imagine how you would most clearly make your point to a person sitting across from you, and write with that same tone and style.
Use of Multimedia
Video, photography, flash and other multimedia elements are strongly discouraged. These elements, especially if poorly executed, risk not only obscuring the primary message but rendering the page inaccessible or unreadable. Social media is a better alternative for hosting user-created media content, with the added benefit of greater interactivity. (But prior to testing the social media waters, please consult with us.)
File Naming Conventions Within the CMS
Individual web page and directory names should never contain numbers, uppercase letters, or (with the exception of dashes) punctuation and special symbols. In most cases, pages are to be named "index" and hosted within an individual folder that denotes the topic.
If long directory names are unavoidable, make them search engine accessible by separating key words with hyphens.
.php is the default extension for Web pages hosted on www.union.edu. The use of Web pages with alternative extensions (.html for example) is subject to approval.
Posting Documents Online
Due to Web accessibility and compatibility issues, do not publish Word Documents to www.union.edu. Convert them to pdfs and upload them to a directory folder. All pdfs should be stored in one directory within your area of the site. Observe the following naming convention in the text so it is obvious to the user that the link goes to a pdf document and not another Web page: Name of Document (pdf)
Creating Online Forms
Web pages designed simply for users to enter and submit data ("Web Forms") will be created only if no other practical means exist to efficiently collect that information. Requests for Web forms will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Periodically, the Office of Communications and Marketing will thoroughly audit and assess content, CMS usage and web analytics. The results of the review and, if required, a site-improvement plan, will then be shared with the appropriate department/office supervisors and web content authors.
The Office of Communications and Marketing bears ultimate responsibility for all content publicly accessible on www.union.edu. As a result, we will remove material that is inaccurate or outdated, does not comply with basic Web accessibility standards or in other ways violates content and style guidelines and standard web best practices.