Addendum to Website Policy: Use of Links
This document is prepared by the Web Committee and intended for users who will be preparing, maintaining and updating Missouri Southern State University Official site pages. The language utilized may be necessarily technical, and any questions should be directed to University Relations and Marketing Department (URM). If the reader of this document are writing web pages and any of the terms in this document are unfamiliar to you, it is recommended that they attend the URM training courses. Material that is illegal or used in violation of copyright laws is prohibited on the University website. All Web pages included on the University website or being served from computers on the University network must conform to all University Web Policies, URM’s Dos and Don’ts and adhere to University Best Practices, Style Guides, and any Addendums to the University Policies.
Table of Contents:
Writing for the Web
Users read differently on the Web then they do print pieces. To improve your sites readability and usability follow these guidelines, in addendum to the URM Best Practices:
- Summarize first. Put the main points of your document in the first paragraph, so that readers scanning your pages will not miss your point.
- Be concise. Use lists rather than paragraphs, but only when your prose lends itself to such treatment. Readers can pick out information more easily from a list than from within a paragraph.
- Write for scanning. Most Web readers scan pages for relevant materials rather than reading through a document word by word. Guide the reader by highlighting the salient points in your document using headings, lists, and typographical emphasis.
- Link smartly. Do not a put link around an entire sentence or a general phrase like "click here" or "read more," instead put the link around what it is specifically going to, for example the title of the page or document. This helps the Web reader scan for where they want to go next.
Roles and Responsibility in Addendum to Web Policy
Menu headers and associated links must be approved by submitting Menu changes to the “Approver” designation within the Content Management System, Omni Update. To maintain efficiency, it is recommended by this committee that the user create and submit a flow chart illustrating the menu organization. Assistance for the creation of the flow chart can be provided by Web Committee representatives.
Independent Web Pages
Independent Web pages are defined as any Web page that is not managed or designed by the MSSU Web Committee including pages posted by: individuals; departments; organizations; clubs; committees.
Links to Independent Web Pages may be added to Official MSSU Web pages through a request from the Department Head to the Web Committee.
The MSSU Web Committee reserves the right to break links to sites if a site is in violation of these policies or if it is found to contain: an overabundance of outdated information; no information; numerous broken links, or other problems that render the site ineffective. Unless the link must be broken immediately, a good faith effort will be made by the Web Committee or Web Coordinator to contact the departmental contact of the site before the link is broken.
Core Site Pages
Core site pages from global navigation landing pages include, not an exhaustive list, this should be used as a guide:
Official landing pages from the organizational menu include (Maintained by Web Committee):
Required Footer Links (Maintained by Web Committee):
Find Us On..
Navigation and Links
A consistent navigation menu will be provided at the beginning / top of every webpage throughout the website constructed in the new templates. This allows easy access to all the major sections of the website through text links. In addition to this, each webpage will contain a classification path / 'breadcrumb trail' showing the location of the current webpage within the website architecture. A navigation menu (left-hand side column) is also provided throughout the website with standard content / section-specific navigation links and shortcut style navigation links.
Each Departmental Menu is unique to that department, academic program, or administrative office. It is to be developed and maintained through cooperation with the Web Committee. Direct communication lines and deliverables should be utilized.
Global Navigation Bars
- All sites must include the MSSU header and Footer, which includes two levels of navigation: Top Bar Navigation and Footer Quick Links and Find Us On..
- The header content and navigation cannot be customized. It is not acceptable to remove or reorder standard elements.
- These links highlight links that hold a university-wide appeal and a strong correspondence to the MSSU Strategic Plan and mission of the official MSSU site.
Menu and On-page Navigation
- Maximum of 9 items can appear on any menu list, unless specifically authorized, users can become put off when overwhelmed with choice. Instead, divide the navigation links into chunks. The use of a flow chart can maximize process of the menu organization.
- Left-hand navigation is used for Menu navigation.
- The Menu navigation area should include a "Main" link to the main page of the subsite. This link should not be labeled "Home" as it might be confused with the MSSU home page.
- All navigation elements must be clearly labeled with text. Although there are no photos allowed in the “Menu Navigation,” a textual description of the link should accompany any use of picture navigation from within the content area. The use of icons/picture only and a reliance on rollovers to reveal navigation details is not permitted. Note: the left-hand navigation is currently controlled by the MSSU CMS which outputs a consistent navigation menu. This requires an approval process, simply click “Send for Approval” once editing is completed.
- Investigate and review all external links for accuracy and validity.
- Anchored links to the top of the page should be provided wherever the content navigation bar is no longer visible. Please utilize MSSU’s “Top” style for top of page navigation. Note: Do not use “Back to Top”
- Right hand navigation (Specific Templates) can be used to input contact information and links that are consistent with content area
Link Appearance & Conventions
- Text links (and text accompanying linked elements) must be descriptive of the content that is linked. The phrase "click here" must not be used as a link. Text links should not be longer than a few words. Long sentences or paragraphs should not be linked in their entirety.
- Text links must be clearly and consistently differentiated from surrounding text by a visual indicator, this is done automatically by the Omni Update CSM, do not attempt to change the font or format of the link. It will produce an underline under the text and the color is specific to links. Note: Once it has been clicked on and utilized the font will change and the underline goes away. This shows the users they have navigated using that link before.
- All links to non-HTML pages (e.g. multimedia, PDF, e-mail) must open in a new window.
- Links that lead to any page within the MSSU new site must open in the current browser window.
Anchored Links (Links within a page)
- It is good practice to indicate Anchored links lead to other sections on the same page. For example use the header “On this page”
- A large amount of text (i.e. one that is several pages long) should be displayed on a single page with anchored links, much like a table of contents.
The following is a .PDF that may help with basic principles of the architecture of your department, academic program, or administrative office:
Cornell University: Structuring Your Website