Ag IT Advisory Group (AITAG)

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Web Policies and Guidelines

Rationale

NDSU Agriculture and University Extension (Ag) Web pages should have consistent look and feel to:

  • Promote NDSU’s identity
  • Provide easy and consistent navigation
  • Help visitors find related NDSU information
  • Include credit and contact information on every page
  • Make sure pages include legal information (copyright, how to get permission for copying, non-discrimination statement, etc.)
  • More easily transition to the NDSU content management system

Guidelines

To accomplish the consistent look and feel, and make Ag Web pages look professional, AITAG recommends these guidelines for Ag Web pages:

  • Be hosted on the www.ag.ndsu.edu server, which automatically includes consistent headers and footers
  • Use the www.ag.ndsu.edu or www.ndsu.edu URL, not a .com or other URL
  • Develop a consistent look and feel for the body of the pages
  • Place local navigation on the left side
  • Use a sans serif font, such as Arial or Helvetica, in at least 12 point type for easiest reading
  • Use standard links – blue type with underline unless in an obvious menu
  • Be developed without frames, which aren’t compatible with Ag headers and footers
  • Avoid blinking and scrolling text
  • Chunk information, keeping paragraphs and pages short – home pages should fit on one printed page and all pages should download quickly
  • Don’t include page counters – Ag Communication can provide use statistics
  • Don’t feature “under construction” signs since Web pages should be continually updated and always under construction
  • Use “go to” instead of “return to” links so pages aren’t orphans and since users may have arrived at the page by searching rather than going through the structure
  • Avoid graphics, words and designs that don’t add to the message
  • Link to other Web pages rather than copying the information into your own Web page, link to the source rather than duplicate
  • Check Web pages for bad links at least annually
  • Link to commercial sites to enhance education, not to promote products
  • On every page, include:
  • a link to one page back
  • a link to the home page for that site
  • author or contact name, address, phone number and clickable e-mail address
  • date the page was created or last modified

Policies

The following are policies beyond just guidelines since they have possible legal and ethical ramifications or are NDSU policy.

  • Faculty and staff are not to use NDSU-hosted Web pages to express personal opinions. This includes statements such as “God bless America” and “Support our troops.”  (Source: NDSU Vice President of Equity, Diversity and Global Outreach Evie Myers referring to NDSU Policy Section 158.2)
  • Pages may acknowledge sponsorship but may not advertise specific products, even with a disclaimer. NDSU Web pages may thank organizations and agencies for their support with words or logos. (Source: NDSU General Counsel Rick Johnson referring to NDUS Policy 1901.2)
  • Use only approved NDSU logos and NDSU Ag Comm logos
  • Make pages accessible to all users (Source: NDSU Web Advisory Board Policy 710.3)

 Added references to policies Nov. 1, 2010

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