World Wide Web Policies and Philosophy

Fort Hays State University Web content managers are responsible for the content of the pages they publish and are expected to abide by the highest standards of quality and responsibility. These responsibilities apply to all – whether colleges, departments, offices, student organizations or individuals. Each document on the FHSU Web site is considered part of the university’s public presentation. Each page linked to the FHSU page must contain accurate information, follow a clear and cohesive style, be 508 compliant (handicap accessible), and reflect positively on the university.

Content managers are required to comply with all university policies and rules and with state and federal laws concerning appropriate use of computers. Consideration must be given to the following when constructing Web pages:

  • Web resources should support the mission of the university.
  • Resources should be evaluated for authority and accuracy.
  • Restricted and/or copyrighted resources should be identified and secured.
  • All accessibility guidelines must be followed.
  • Control and maintenance of Web page content is the responsibility of the content manager.

 

General Guidelines

When creating pages, focus on the needs of your viewers in both design and content considerations. Determine if the information being presented is for internal viewers (and further, if it is for staff/faculty, students or both) or external viewers. Depending on the audience, the pages may require different information, priorities and presentation.

When designing a page, the following items should be considered:

  • Each link should be descriptive (e.g., DO NOT USE: Click Here).
  • Graphics and illustrations should follow university identity standards and policies and have alt tags (descriptions).
  • It is helpful to identify file size on downloadable files in kilobytes (e.g., 3K).
  • Web page creators are strongly encouraged to label university-owned images and resources.
  • Navigational tools (e.g., table of contents and anchors) are helpful when a page gets lengthy.

 

Writing for the Web

People who visit Web sites want information that is dynamic, easily accessible and engaging. Writing should be less formal, including uses of sentence fragments and short, declarative phrases. In addition it should have a personal feel, which can be achieved through use of second-person references. Please contact the Office of University Relations and the Brand Implementation Team for assistance on how to write effectively for the Web.

 

Social Media

Technological innovations have created more lively and interactive programs for communicating with target audiences. As we become more Web-centric it is important to use these new and various forms of communication to accomplish effective recruitment and other goals. Please contact the Office of University Relations and the Brand Implementation Team for assistance in creating social media.

 

Sub-unit Sites

Since the FHSU Web site was redesigned in 2009, all college, administrative, departmental and office sites must use the template provided. There is much to be said about having a consistent look throughout a university Web site, and since we began using a template in 2002, we have had very positive responses from our various audiences regarding our look and navigational system. Our viewers have commented that they always know if they are on the FHSU site as they go from page to page.

The header, footer and main navigational system are not to be changed; however, each unit should add its own contact information. This can be done as a link on the navigation bar or as text at the bottom of each page. Also, each unit should be sure to include its name at the top of every page on its site.

A style sheet was created with type specifications and background colors. Again, these cannot be changed. They provide much flexibility as far as size of type and use of bold and italicized type. The style we chose is very clean and readable on any browser or platform. This adds to the consistency throughout the site. It also ensures that viewers can see your pages correctly as the Web only supports a select group of fonts.

 

Individual Web Pages

Faculty members are encouraged to create individual Web pages in order to provide students with course information, syllabi and some biographical information. These pages should include the full name of the university and should link back to the departmental page and/or to other FHSU pages. Faculty members must use the FHSU template on their first page; however, on subsequent pages, use of the template is not required.

Individuals who use FHSU computers to house their pages, or who use an “fhsu.edu” address for their pages, or if the contents of their pages will cause them to be associated with FHSU, need to be aware of the Acceptable Use of Computing Resources policy of the university. The main concerns about these pages include the use of state/university equipment for purposes other than those for which they are intended and the use of “fhsu.edu” (sort of an “electronic letterhead”) which would cause an individual’s actions to be inappropriately associated with the university.

If, however, an individual uses an address from another information provider and his or her own computer to house the links/materials without any direct reference to the university, the university would probably have no grounds to interfere.

Most importantly, though, and legalities aside, you need to think very carefully about your Web page. The Internet offers unprecedented power for people to display and market themselves to the world instantaneously – not only to strangers, but to friends, family, prospective employers, virtually everyone. First impressions are hard to overcome, and you may wish to think twice about the personal risks versus the benefits associated with how you present yourself to the world through your site. Once done, it cannot be taken back. “You never have a second chance to make a first impression” rings especially true for the Internet.

The Web has created a powerful new opportunity for personal expression, and that is especially positive in the university setting where the free exchange of ideas is so highly valued. On the other hand, remember to keep a professional look while personalizing your pages.

 

Use of Identity Marks on the Web

University names, the logo and other university identity marks are reserved for official university use only. Personal Web pages may not display the logo, the university seal or other university identity marks. Personal pages should not lead Web readers to believe they are official university Web pages. In the case of student organizations or affiliated faculty/staff organizations, some exceptions may be made. Contact the FHSU Webmaster at ext. 5520 for prior approval. For approval to use any other university identity marks, contact the Office of University Relations.

 

Accessibility

Most of you have heard about the accessibility rules for governmental Web sites, including educational institutions, that were established in 2000 by the federal government and adopted by the state of Kansas. Basically, what they mean is that all Web sites should be “device independent” and “508 compliant.” In other words, you should not need to use a mouse; you should be able to pull up a given page on a PDA or a cell phone. Also, you should be able to go through a particular page from link to link using the tab key rather than having to click the mouse. One of the main groups to which the accessibility guidelines apply is the visually impaired. If they have to use a screen reader, it is imperative that you have designed the site with usability in mind. This is another reason it is important to give your links meaningful names, as previously mentioned. We have a Web site that includes accessibility guidelines and links to methods for testing your pages – http://www.fhsu.edu/accessibility/. It contains links to state and federal information sites.

 

Advertising on the Web

Advertising policy is determined at the state level. For information about advertising on the Web, contact Kristin Rupp, Web Content Manager, at 785-628-4747.