World Wide Web Policies and Philosophy

Fort Hays State University Web publishers 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 publishers, whether colleges, departments, 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, and be appropriate for the university.

Web page publishers 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. See http://www.fhsu.edu/is/World-Wide-Web/#Accessibility.
  • Control and maintenance of Web page content is the responsibility of the page creator/designated maintainer.

General Guidelines: When creating pages, from both design and content considerations, focus on the needs of your viewers. 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.

The content of pages is the responsibility of the page maintainer. When designing a page, the following items should be considered:

  • Each link should be descriptive (unlike: Click Here).
  • Graphics and illustrations should follow university identity standards and policies and have alt tags.
  • It is helpful to identify file size on downloadable files in kilobytes (e.g., 3K).
  • All accessibility guidelines must be followed. See http://www.fhsu.edu/is/World-Wide-Web/#Accessibility.
  • Web page creators are strongly encouraged to label university-owned images and resources.
  • Navigational tools (e.g., a table of contents) are helpful when a page gets lengthy.

College, Administrative, Departmental and Office Sites: Since the FHSU Web site was redesigned in 2002, all college, administrative, departmental and office sites must use the template that was provided. There is much to be said about having a consistent look throughout a university Web site and we have had very positive responses from our various audiences regarding our new 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 and footer are not to be changed; however, each unit should add its own contact information. This can be done as a link on the nav bar at the left 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 provided with type specifications and background colors. Again, these are not to 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.

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.

Individuals using FHSU computers to house their pages, who are using an "fhsu.edu" address for their pages, or if other contents of the page will cause it 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, individuals need to think very carefully about their Web pages. The net 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 individuals may wish to think twice about the personal risks versus the benefits associated with how they present themselves to the world through their site. Once done, it can't really be taken back.

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.

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 that 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 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 government Web sites including educational institutions that were established in 2000. Basically, what they mean is that all Web sites should be device independent. 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, people 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 of people the accessibility guidelines apply to is 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 why it is important to give your links meaningful names as I mentioned above.

We have a Web site that includes accessibility guidelines - http://www.fhsu.edu/is/World-Wide-Web/#Accessibility. It contains links to the state and federal information sites.

Advertising on the Web: University Web sites are designed principally for the purpose of informing current students, prospective students, parents, alumni and other interested persons about the University and its courses of study and activities. The Web sites are primarily for educational and informative purposes. Allowing the advertising of private business on University Web sites has the potential to distract the user and confuse the purposes for which the sites were designed. Therefore, advertising on any of the University Web sites which may include, but are not limited to, the official Fort Hays State University Web site, the Fort Hays State University Athletic Association Web site, and other related or affiliated Web sites is prohibited unless approved by the President of the University or his designee.

In determining whether advertising in any given case should be allowed, the following principles and considerations should be followed:

  • Any method of advertising having the potential to annoy, confuse or disrupt the user is prohibited. The University President or his designee has the discretion to determine whether any such method of advertising falls under this general prohibition.
  • Permissible advertising is that which promotes goods or services that relate directly to any of the University’s activities, overall mission, and/or services provided by vendors under contract with the University.
  • Any logos used in advertising should be subtle, tasteful and not allowed to distract the user.
  • Advertisements which support or endorse any political official, candidate, party and/or view should not be allowed, unless the advertisement relates to an issue of relevance or significance to any of the University’s activities, services or mission.
  • Any advertisement containing any indecent, offensive, derogatory or discriminatory content is prohibited.