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.
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 headers give the eyes something to rest on.
- Don't use Headings 1-4, but do use Heading 6 and Heading 5 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). Convert documents to PDFs when possible.