Last revised: 4/17/2017
Our digital presence is the public face of Union College. For many, it is their very first interaction with our institution. We want all of our digital visitors to have a pleasing, easy-to-use experience consistent with the Union brand and values.
These guidelines and policies will ensure a consistent level of quality for Union’s digital presence through standard processes, roles, responsibilities and practices.
Contact information must be readily available on sites for visitors to reach someone responsible for the content.
Quality Assurance Reports
When possible, reports will be provided to users that cover topics such as links, spelling, accessibility, security, performance and other best practices.
You may request such reports by contacting the Web Communications Help Desk
Highly visible digital presences such as www.union.edu will be held to higher standards. The Office of Communications and Marketing strives to provide a consistent look, feel and voice to our external audiences. Content may be edited/altered as needed for clarity, grammar, spelling, usage, and style, as well as to conform with college naming conventions and branding. Pages, documents and sites may be unpublished or removed from search engines if content errors remain after 2 weeks from notification. Any significant alterations will be discussed with the responsible office.
Sites that give the immediate impression of being out-of-date or abandoned may be “hidden” from search engines.
Sustained Content Maintenance
Users are expected to maintain the content within their respective sites. If there is an expected interruption in support for a site due to such things as a staff departure or leave of absence the current user should make arrangements with a colleague to transition maintenance duties (include social media sites in this transition). This ensures that content can remain current.
Contact the Web Communications Help Desk for a new user account or to grant permission to an existing user and indicate the reason for the request.
Sites that are abandoned by an office because there is no user transition will become the responsibility of the appropriate Responsibility Center for the College and a corresponding existing user within that Responsibility Center. If an abandoned site cannot be assigned to an existing user within 1 week of notice from Web Communications the site will be unpublished, locked or hidden from search engines. Web Communications will notify the individual in charge of the office or department responsible for the site.
Links and Search Result Inclusion on www.union.edu
Before a site representing an official Union department or program is linked out to or included in the site search on www.union.edu:
Site will be reviewed by Communications for content and design to determine if it reflects the professionalism and identity of Union College (ie, the correct logo, proper spelling and punctuation, current/timeless content, consistent design/fonts, legible and accessible design/fonts/content, successfully tested across multiple browsers).
Site will be subject to an annual review by Communications
Out of date content, broken links and any changes inconsistent with the needs outlined above will be flagged and the responsible party contacted to rectify/justify (Siteimprove emails are considered as notifications). If no action is taken within 2 weeks the link to the site and it’s inclusion in the site search on www.union.edu will be removed for the time being until the problem is corrected.
Communications may remove the link to any site that breaks during routine maintenance of www.union.edu.
Third party links
Links on www.union.edu are an endorsement from the College to visitors and search engines. Links to sites that have content quality, security, or accessibility problems may be removed.
Secure (https) connections are strongly preferred for all pages/sites. Browsers are evolving to highlight insecure (http) connections to visitors.
Security warnings/errors from browsers should be rectified as soon as possible. Browsers and devices can present these errors in various ways and users should check multiple options including Windows/Mac, Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge, as well as mobile device browsers. A padlock icon is generally used by a browser to show a valid secure (https) connection. If the padlock is missing on a page using https the connection is not secure.
Mobile versions of sites can introduce new security issues. Make sure to check your site on mobile devices (iOS/Android).
Financial, authentication and other highly personal data
Sites that request financial or other highly personal data such as username/password or health information will require a higher presentation standard. They must look legitimate, professional and current so as not to give doubt to any visitor as to whether their data is safe and secure.
Union College strives to meet WCAG 2.0 Level AA accessibility guidelines with public content representing an official office or department. This is not only an affirmation of Union’s mission and strategic goals but also a legal obligation.
Posting Documents Online
Due to web accessibility, security and compatibility issues, Word/Office documents should not be posted online. Instead, convert them to pdfs. Keep in mind that PDFs need to be accessible. Reference material for making documents accessible is available here.
Third Party Services and Applications
There are many existing tools to solve problems and improve services that departments and offices want to provide to their visitors. These tools may also come with a variety of problems such as security, accessibility and privacy concerns that could harm the visitor and the college. Before committing to any new service, tool or application please contact the ITS Help Desk. This extra step can provide a critical layer of protection for our digital visitors and the College..