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 websites.
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.
Once 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 designated 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
In order to maintain the visual and content integrity of the web site and ensure Union is always putting its "best face" forward, the creation of additional or new web pages within the site is subject to approval by the Office of Communication and Marketing.
In creating content, please keep in mind that web pages should not be used as "content archives," nor should they duplicate information that is already accessible on other parts of www.union.edu. For example, do not include a list of events on your web page; instead, add events to the central campus calendar and use your web site to link to that information if necessary.
It may be helpful to think of a web site as an online brochure of sorts. Content on most pages should be "evergreen," concise and pruned of extraneous material. If users need to sort through superfluous pages, long lists 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, access-restricted intranets and tools such as Blackboard-- not www.union.edu-- should be used to share meeting notes, room schedules, student abstracts, conference summaries, lab fees, lesson assignments, employee announcements, etc.
Formatting and Readability
In the interest of improving web page readability and reducing 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, and overly academic or complex language. Avoid exclamation points. The best way to think of web writing is to imagine how you would make your point quickly to a person sitting across from you, then write with that same tone and style.
Use of Multimedia
For most web site designees and content creators, video, photography, flash elements, graphics 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. They can also interfere with the visual integrity of the site. Social media is a better alternative for hosting user-created media content, and offers the added benefit of greater interaction with the user. (But, prior to testing the social media waters, please consult with us for tips and best practices.)
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, web site designees should not publish Word documents to www.union.edu. Instead, 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 for the sole purpose of allowing 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, in its role as a steward of the Union brand, 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 reserve the right to 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.