Web Standards Guide

Overview

The website, www.untdallas.edu, is the sole property of the University of North Texas at Dallas. While certain employees may have access to edit certain portions of the site, all its content remains the property of the university and not any individual. 

The website provides a platform to showcase the university’s best qualities and project a positive image solely concerning university business. As we have several dozen personnel managing portions of the site, some essential guidelines will encourage clarity, accuracy and consistency in protecting the university’s online image.

Objectives

  • Develop a user-centric web structure based on visitor needs as opposed to university department and office organization, incorporating user-friendly, ADA-compliant content, information architecture and navigation
  • Build sites based on function and need, providing the end user with a one-stop shop for a given topic by organizing content from several resources or departments
  • Improved user experience and functionality with the use of quickly readable, mobile-friendly content written specifically for the web, avoiding institutional jargon
  • Organize content to display the strongest qualities of the school and best serve the needs of the primary audience, including a mobile-optimized design
  • Enhance the reputation of UNT Dallas and illustrate the brand objectives
  • Cohesive and appealing visual design incorporating consistency in structure, navigation and content
  • Outline roles for website governance and content contribution; detailing web workflows, training and compliance
  • Build a system of continuous improvement organized around measurable website goals, analytics, experimentation, and a firm understanding of website advancements and best practices

 

Roles and Workflow

In general, control of text content is delegated to those best positioned to ensuring its timeliness and accuracy. The Office of Marketing & Communications is available to help provide new pages, sites, and modules to meet specific needs, and to consult on web strategy, but the responsibility for maintaining accuracy and completeness of information rests on those within a department, unit, or division.

The division of web roles across the university is as follows:

  • Content Expert: Subject matter experts who have a stake in website content; this is most employees. They do not have access to the CMS but submit changes as needed to their Contributor. They are possibly a Site Owner, see below.
  • Contributor: Trained in the CMS and responsible for making changes requested by various content experts in compliance with the web governance standards. They have some editing ability on the site but not publishing permissions.
  • Approver: Trained in the CMS and responsible for reviewing edits for accuracy, in accordance with web governance, possibly from multiple Contributors, and may publish them to the site. They also might have some higher level editing options not available to Contributors. 
  • Site Owner: A division leader or similar executive position who is ultimately the owner for their area’s content. Typically they do not access the CMS but may have access in some circumstances, usually as a reviewer with only publishing permissions, not editing. Usually they name their areas Contributors/Approvers with approval from the Web Administrator
  • Web Administrator: Serves as last-line Approver for all sites and institutional pages. Oversees site design, navigation, user management, and web standards compliance.

 

Training and Access

The Office of Marketing and Communications will grant CMS access only to those who have completed approved training modules. Ownership of content does not imply permission to directly edit it; the number of editors will be held to a manageable amount in order to ensure the most well-versed users are handling updates. Criteria will be based on factors such as:

  • Frequency of edits 
  • Quantity of pages
  • The number of editors already in an area
    • Every division should name at least one Contributor and Approver, with the Approver serving as backup in the Contributors absence.
    • Additional editors will be granted access as determined by the Web Administrator.

Omni CMS tutorials are centrally hosted by Modern Campus. The full training library is available at all times and live orientations/refreshers are offered monthly. Custom tutorials will be supplied by the Web Administrator as required.

 

Accessibility

All new or revised web pages and other web resources -- published, hosted, or otherwise provided by the university -- must comply with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1

Editors are responsible for implementing accessible content on their site. An overview of effective strategies can be found by visiting  WebAIM.

Utilize the tools in the CMS to present your information, it provides a built-in accessibility check. If your page fails the accessibility check, your edits will not publish. 

Do not upload PDFs unless it is impossible to present your information in web page format. Non-compliant or non-essential PDFs may be removed from a site at any time without notice. 

 

Archiving

Offices requiring official archiving will need to have a primary records retention plan that follows records schedules outlined in Policy 4.003 - Records and Information Management. The website is not a records management/retention tool. General web retention guidelines include:

  • 2 years or less: Tuition & Fee charts, academic calendar, university newsletter, faculty senate minutes, and faculty syllabi
  • 5 years or less: Financial reports and annual reports; except where legal requirements dictate longer

Departments are encouraged to indicate on a webpage when more archives are available, and include the contact information needed for obtaining those. In order to maintain content that meets this policy, all content should be reviewed by stakeholders annually. Expired content, or archives which haven’t been updated in 2 years or more, should be removed from the site.

 

Links

Carefully consider what 3rd party website UNTD is endorsing by linking to that entity. Non-governmental, private organizations or businesses, unless under contract with the UNT System, should not be endorsed by UNTD without careful consideration.

Do not create lists of hyperlinks or repeated links to the same website. If a site contains multiple pages of resources, then link to its homepage or appropriate landing page. Do not recreate that site’s menu by linking to several pages within it. If there are many different resources for the same topic, choose the most reputable. (ie. Don’t try to be Google)

Do not link directly to documents on other websites (ie “hotlinking”); link to the webpage containing the document link.

Editors should use Omni CMS link check to monitor for broken links, and update all broken links within a week.  Broken links may be removed from a site at any time without notice.

 

Text

  • Text displayed on websites should be written specifically for the web as a medium. Web visitors are task-oriented; they skim and scan, getting just enough information to get to their next destination. 
  • Text that has been written for print or email does not always translate well to the web. Some ways to optimize your text for web are:
    • See the federal government's website on using plain language on the web.  Long paragraphs and complicated language are ineffective in web writing. 
    • Write minimal text, and write it at an 8th grade reading level.
    • “Chunk" content into categories, and display the different content chunks on separate pages or clearly separate them on one page.
    • Make text scannable by breaking text out into bulleted lists, bolding important terms and using headings.
  • Do not create sections that are “under construction" or “coming soon”. Every page should appear complete while published. If upcoming content is not ready, don’t mention it.
  • Keep your web pages up-to-date. Remove time sensitive information promptly after it expires. 

 

Calendars

  • The Omni CMS calendar should be the primary source of event advertisement on the website.
  • Avoid creating a table of events and dates on your webpage; these quickly become out of date without meticulous monitoring.
  • The primary contact for an event, if they have CMS access, is responsible for posting their events to the calendar. 
  • Those without CMS access should request an event be added by a calendar moderator and update them promptly if event details change.
  • Area-specific calendars may be created by the Web Administrator after considering:
    • Volume of events
    • Consistency of events
    • Size of audience

 

Directory

  • Directory information is not housed in Omni CMS
  • Our Employee Information System (EIS) houses employee contact information which is exported to the web server daily. This is the info you see on a directory listing webpage.
  • To change your directory information, contact your office admin.

Faculty Syllabi and CV

  • Faculty Syllabi and CV are stored in a searchable database per HB2504.
  • See the Academic Affairs site for more information on uploading these documents.

 

Navigation and Information Architecture

Marketing & Communications manages the information architecture, menu navigation, and page titles used across the website. 

Requests for updates to content managed by Marketing & Communications (e.g., navigation, templates, landing pages, homepage features, header and footer) may be submitted to the Web Administrator. The office is responsible for evaluating and prioritizing all change requests within five business days; and, as necessary, involving appropriate stakeholders or subject matter experts according to their role in the request. If the team cannot accommodate a request, it will share the reasoning behind the decision or offer alternative solutions.

 

Webforms

Omni CMS has limited web form capabilities. As an alternative, UNT World offers a number of solutions: 

  • Qualtrics: Best for surveys or opinions/reviews. Located in your MyUNTD portal under Employee Resources.
  • Microsoft Form: A versatile data collection solution. Can be public or internal-only. Allows file uploads (if used internally).
  • Dynamic Forms Dedicated web eforms; best for internal processes with many touchpoints
  • QuikPay: System-approved pay portal; if your form requires payment you must use QuikPay

 

Compliance

The Office of Marketing & Communications has access to all areas of the untdallas.edu website. To ensure quality control, OMC will edit/alter content as needed for clarity, grammar, spelling, usage, and style as well as to conform to UNTD’s branding, naming conventions, and this web standards guide. 

If content has been determined as outdated, inaccurate, or inconsistent with OMC guidelines, they will attempt to alert the appropriate content contributor or section head. If that step cannot be completed and the content is outdated, inaccurate, redundant or trivial, it may be removed by OMC.

Editors that violate these guidelines, including security and ADA compliance violations, will receive email notification from Marketing & Communications to address violations. If no attempt is made to address violations within five business days, the Site Owner will be contacted and will have five business days to address violations.

If three or more violations occur within a six- month period, the Site Owner will be contacted by the Assistant Vice President of Marketing & Communications, who will develop a corrective plan of action.

In the case of a security violation, the editor who shared a password will have access revoked and the person who used the password will not be granted access.

Marketing & Communications will make every effort to work with editors to address violations and assist in any necessary website updates.