Web Style Guide Quick List

Listed below are several of the most common issues and questions regarding styles and branding issues on the College of Charleston website.

Are hyperlinks the only text that is underlined?
It can become very confusing to the user when underlining is used for non-hyperlinked text. While browsing Web pages, it has become common for the user to expect all underlined text to be a hyperlink.

Do all folder and filenames contain only lowercase letters or hyphens?
Spaces, uppercase or other special characters should not be used.

Are all headers using h3-h5?
h1 and h2’s are utilized automatically by the page template.

Has bolding been overused?
Bolding too much text, makes the document harder to read and also confuses the reader as to what is important.

Have phone numbers used the following format 999.999.9999?
Use full phone numbers including area code (e.g. 843.953.5555), not extensions (e.g., 3-5555).

Is the area describing the purpose of your division, office, or department labeled as “About the Division, About the Office, or About the Department”?
This is to provide the user with a consistent experience across all divisions, offices and department while visiting the College’s website.

Are all hyperlinks using a descriptive word or phrase – not using Click Here, etc?
Hyperlinks should be written with descriptive text to assist with Web accessibility.

Are your dates formatted using February 01, 2010? Are times indicating using a.m. or A.M.? Are times zones indicated?
In many European countries, 01/02/01 means January 2, 2001 while in the United States it means February 1, 2001.

Are all images formatted and sized appropriately to decrease download times?

Other Guidelines

  1. Avoid the use of periods or colons at end of titles or subtitles.
  2. Use the word "and" instead of the ampersand (&).
  3. Photography should not contain frames, shadow, or other special treatments other than styles provided by the CMS.
  4. Instead of recreating hotel and travel information within your sub domain, direct the user to the College’s “Visit” page at cofc.edu/visit.
  5. External links should not be used within the left hand navigation UNLESS a link is provided for accessing the sub domain's governing division, school, department or office.
  6. “Quick Links” list should be reserved for pages that exist WITHIN the current sub domain.
  7. "Additional Resources" links should be reserved for links that will take the user OUTSIDE of the current sub domain.
  8. Avoid "Under Construction" pages. Technically, Web pages are always under construction. If you don't have information available, avoid posting a link.

Additional Tips

  • If possible, test your pages using various browsers. Check each link to be sure it goes where you planned.
  • Keep it simple. Web pages should be easy to navigate and direct the visitor to the information as clearly and quickly as possible.
  • If an idea requires making a strong point, bold it rather than underlining it.
  • A few options for any links residing OUTSIDE of your sub domain could be placement within
    • the main content area of a page
    • an “Other Resources” page and included in the left hand navigation menu
    • the bottom widget under the "Additional Resources" category

Helpful Links