Best Practices

Here are some recommendations for building a professional and accessible web site. Here we will list some best practices for web content management and usability.

Errors

Broken Links

Routinely check your site by clicking all links for potential broken links.

Moving Pages to New URLs

Anytime a page moves, you break any incoming links from other sites. Try to avoid deleting or changing the links to established pages. If you change the date on a blog post, you also change the URL dynamically, which could also break links.

Formatting

Text Colors

Link and heading colors are preset. Try avoiding manually changing the color of your site’s text.

Image Titles

Ensure that all images are accessible for users with disabilities by filling out an Image Description on every image you add to your site.

Menu

Keep your site’s menu items clear and brief, one to two words is best. The site menu should be easy to read and understand. Try not to let the wording on an individual menu item extend beyond a single row of text. As a general rule, try to write straightforward and simple headlines on blog posts and page titles. Make sure that they clearly explain what the page is about and that will make sense when read out-of-context in a search engine results listing.

General Formatting

Structure the page to facilitate scanning and help users ignore large chunks of the page in a single glance: for example, use grouping and subheadings to break a long list into several smaller units.

Contact Pages

If you have a contact list or staff listing, try to list people in alphabetical order, so that your user can find the appropriate person quickly. If you are including photos, crop the photos to a consistent size. 100px x100px or 120px by 120px is recommended.

Avoid using “Click Here” to instruct a user where to click

A link has emphasis. Link too much, and soon everything has emphasis—so nothing does. Also, make sure you are emphasizing useful text.

For example:

Worst: The committee has many excellent resources on their website.
Bad: The committee has many excellent resources on their website.
Better: The committee has many excellent resources on their website.
Better still: There are many excellent resources available on the committee’s website.

Don’t: Click here for a complete listing of upcoming events.
Do: Upcoming events.

Media & File Types

PDFs

Use of PDFs should be limited to the occasions where a page or document is to be printed. Users often prefer to print documents that are too long to easily read online. Never dump a user directly into a PDF file without fair warning. “Fair warning” means presenting the user with a gateway page in front of the PDF that provides the following information about the document. Be sure to indicate that the link will lead to a PDF with a small icon or by putting (PDF) after the link.

Video & Audio

Avoid adding video and audio to your site that automatically plays. The user should be allowed to start the video and audio by choice.