If you run into a problem, have questions about how something works, or have questions about functionality that is not covered, email firstname.lastname@example.org to ask for assistance.
When designing content for your website, it is important to consider how it will be viewed and navigated by your users. First and foremost, focus on your audiences and their primary needs. Then create your content to serve those needs.
For example, you might focus on the services your unit provides instead of an organizational chart. In most cases, users visit your website in search of answers, and most often, those answers are more easily found when a website is structured around what you do rather than to whom you report.
Creating your Site
A deep understanding of the needs of your primary audience will enable you to make strategic, data-driven decisions about your website content, navigation, and design. We follow a user-centered design process that seeks to answer the following questions:
- Who is your primary target audience?
- Why are they visiting your website? What are they trying to accomplish?
- How do their environment, attitudes, and prior experiences impact their expectations of your site?
- How do users refer to and think about your content?
Writing for the Web
Writing for the web demands brevity, simplicity, and accessibility. It's a unique skill that requires training, even for a communications expert. Writing for the web is unique because people read differently online than they do when they read print materials.
Visit our Writing for the Web page to learn how to craft user-friendly text for your website.
Web Style Guidelines and Tips
- Special type styles (bold, italic, ALL CAPS) should be used sparingly.
- Don't underline text because underlined text is widely used to indicate the presence of a link.
- Align paragraphs to the left rather than center because it is easier for site visitors to read.
- Use only one space between words and sentences.
- Use section headers to break up large amounts of text (more than 2‐3 paragraphs). This allows site visitors to quickly skim the page to find information they are interested in.
- Avoid using “Here” or "Click Here" or “Read More” to label your links.
- Avoid using raw URLs as link text.
- Use concise, descriptive, and unique link text. Site visitors should be able to understand where the link will lead them by reading the link text only. This helps with accessibility and saves site visitors from having to read the surrounding text to understand where the link leads.
- Links that stand alone or which are placed at the beginning or end of paragraphs are more likely to be clicked on than links in the middle of a block of text.
- Set your links to open in the same tab rather than in a new tab or new window.
- When linking to a PDF, make sure the PDF is accessible.
- Always include descriptive alt text for web accessibility and search engine optimization.
- Use descriptive file names to make files easier to find in the media library and to improve search engine results.
- Keep file sizes small so that your images will load quickly and use less data on mobile devices.
Audio and Video
- Add captions/transcripts to all video/audio to meet accessibility requirements.
Clearing Your Cache
Caching is the process of saving data temporarily so a website, browser, or app doesn't need to download it each time. Most web browsers cache data by default to increase speed and decrease data usage.
For example, when you visit a webpage, the browser may cache the images and HTML code on that page. When you browse through other pages on the site that use the same images or code, or return to the site later, your browser will not have to re-download that information. Instead, the browser can simply load this information from the cache.
However, if you or others have made updates to the site's images or HTML code, you may not see those changes if your web browser is still pulling the data from the cached information. Therefore, you would need to clear your cache to see those updates.
How to clear your cache: