The University of Memphis web site is a major vehicle for presenting our campus to the world. It is part marketing tool, part information source, and is accessible to anyone in the world, anytime, anyplace. As such, official University web sites must present professional, relevant content in a consistently designed, easily navigable context.
Following the guidelines presented here will:
- Build a strong, unified image for the University;
- Ensure that the content provided on University web sites is relevant and appropriate;
- Assist in making the user experience pleasant; and
- Help campus web sites communicate more effectively with their audiences.
If you need additional assistance ensuring your University website best meets the needs of your target audience, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a meeting. During the meeting, a review of the site will be completed and suggestions will be made for content, design elements and user experience.
Content is the most important part of a web site — a site's reason for existing. Content on University of Memphis web sites should adhere to the following guidelines.
Content displayed on web sites should be written specifically for the web as a medium. Content that has been written for print does not always translate well to the web. The following are some ways to optimize your text for web:
- Keep it brief. Short sentences without extraneous words work best. If the topic warrants, use the pyramid structure by keeping summary information on primary pages, then linking to pages with in-depth information.
- "Chunk" content into categories, and display the different content chunks on separate pages or clearly separate them on one page.
- Make text scannable by breaking text out into bulleted lists, bolding important terms and using headings.
Web users are on a mission to find information. Make it as easy as possible for your users to find information on your site—keep content on an individual web page relevant to its page title. Avoid including additional information that is unrelated to a page's main topic—create a new page and link to it.
Do not include links to pages that have not yet been constructed or upload pages that are "under construction." Every page should contain useful information, and pages should be fully formed before they are uploaded and linked.
Keep your web pages up to date. Remove time sensitive information promptly after it expires. Where applicable, use a date of last update mark so users will know that content on your page is fresh.
Remember, your document will be accessible to anyone on the Internet. Your document represents you, your department and the University of Memphis, and it should be professional and consistent with the rest of the University's web sites.
On UofM web sites, do not post material that might be reasonably considered abusive, profane, harassing, or sexually offensive. Please see the violations section for information pertaining to consequences.
Multimedia (sound, video, animations, Flash)
Multimedia on University web sites should be used as a content element, not as a design element.
Examples of multimedia as content include:
- Sound files for instructional purposes
- Interactive training sites
- Instructional video
Examples of multimedia as design include:
- Introductory Flash "splash" pages
- Background music embedded in a page
UofM web developers are encouraged to use photography on their sites.
Optimize your photographs for web viewing by sizing them to the exact height and width at which they will be displayed. Setting size parameters within the HTML code or through a program like Dreamweaver will most likely distort the photograph, increase load time for the page, and could result in your page not displaying as expected.
Photography should be appropriate to the subject matter of your web site.
If you have photography needs, reference the University Photography website.
A web site's design can enhance or hinder the user experience. In addition, the design assists in bringing continuity across the entirety of the University's web sites.
Blue and gray are the official colors of the University of Memphis. The closest HTML code approximations for the official colors are #0D3182 for blue and #888C8F for gray.
When the University of Memphis wordmark appears on a web site, it must do so in accordance with Brand Standards.
The wordmark is the only official University mark approved for non-athletic and non-alumni web sites. The University seal and the secondary logo must not appear on any web site. The only exception is on the Brand Standards web sites where both marks are shown for illustrative purposes.
The fonts on the University's website have been predefined via our CSS guides. Do not alter fonts on University websites.
While content is the most important part of the web, visitors will not be able to easily access content if the site has poor navigation. To ensure a positive user experience, the following steps are recommended:
- Use a menu that directs users to the main topics of your site.
- Do not include every page on your site in the menu, unless your site has a small number of pages. Too many links can overwhelm users.
- Include clearly marked links to the unit's home page and to the University's home page.
View the UofM Social Media Handbook
Meta content is vitally important to web sites as this is a primary tool that search engines use to gather results.
Examples of meta content are:
- page title
- page description
- alt parameters within
<img>tags for images
Page titles are required for UofM web sites, and alt parameters within
<img> tags are an accessibility requirement. Use keywords and page descriptions in the
header sections of web pages to ensure proper indexing and classification by search
Widely accepted standards exist for making web content accessible, primarily for disabled users. Accessibility allows for people to visit your site with devices other than a web browser, such as a screen reader.
For a good summary of things you can do to ensure your site is accessible, visit the Tennessee.gov Accessibility Guidelines site or the web Accessibility Initiative's Quick Tips to Make Accessible Web Sites.
The University of Memphis has partnered with SiteImprove to ensure our website meets current standards. For more information and to create your SiteImprove account, submit a ticket via umhelpdesk.memphis.edu.
Web Content Security
Web pages containing or collecting sensitive or confidential information must be hosted on a secure web server (https). The content of web pages viewed on normal, unsecured web server URLs (http) transmit information in clear text and could be intercepted and read by an intermediate party. Examples of University information that must use secure, encrypted web URLs include student IDs, passwords, and credit card information.
If it comes to the University's attention that a web page violates University policy (see policies in resources section), then the page's webmaster or author will be notified and asked to remedy the problem. If the problem is not remedied, the University will attempt to remedy the problem on their own. If the problem persists, the University will sever the link between the problem page and the UofM main pages. In some instances, this may entail severing the complete unit link.
- TBR 1-08-00-00: Use of Technology Resources
- UofM Policy 1483: Use of Copyrighted Materials
- UofM Policy 1535: Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources
- UofM Policy 1419: Use of University Seal, Logos, and Indicia
- Brand Standards Guide
- Web Security Guidelines
- Important Notice
- World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
- Section 508 Accessibility Requirements
- IT6005 Data Security Policy