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Pocket Guide

A few best practices to keep your site on track.

For use after you've reviewed all of the topics covered in the Writing & Style Guide, we offer the following as an everyday quick reference guide.

Craft Quality Web Content
  • Keep it simple. Use short words, sentences and paragraphs.
  • Use a more conversational tone. Administrative speak can be difficult to digest on the web.
  • Don't use poor quality or oversized images. Edit your images offline before you upload to Cascade.
  • Organize what you're saying. Write to keep important info near the top.
  • Provide links within your content to help users find additional info.
  • Avoid web clichés. Don't use terms like "click here," "welcome to our page" or "in the menu to your left."
  • Provide good alt text and ensure documents are accessible to those using assistive technologies — or better yet, move the content from your document to a webpage.
Arrange Your Content for Usability
  • Give every page a title. Teasers are a great way to elaborate the purpose of the page.
  • Left align your text.
  • Don't overuse bold and italics.
  • Break content up into skimmable sections. Bullets and headings give the eyes something to rest on.
  • Use Heading 5 and Heading 6 to organize your content.
  • Don't paste content directly from sources containing external formatting, including Word.
  • Don't incorporate non-Cascade web elements (external widgets, animated images, etc.).
  • Keep the right-hand column clean and shorter than the content area. Don't overwhelm the page.
Keep Your Menus, Links and Other Navigation Usable
  • Keep your menu items down to 8 items or less (deeper menus may need to be longer).
  • Ensure menu links take you to a page with the same (or very similar) page title.
  • Turn on parents and siblings in menus unless doing so duplicates your site's banner title.
  • Use descriptive phrases for your content links — don't use "click here."
  • Indicate when linking to a document: a sample (pdf) and a sample (doc). Whenever possible, convert documents to PDFs — or better yet, move the content to a webpage for improved accessibility.