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Web Content Management

All sites and university URLs must be approved by University Communications and Web Services. Designated web editors within campus units use Cascade, our primary content management system (CMS), to manage content on their websites. Although University Communications reserves the ability to edit some elements of websites, such as design and navigation, Cascade editors are able to edit content within the body copy and promo regions of most pages on approved sites.

Cohesive content management not only contributes to consistency across the University of Richmond's Web presence, it also plays a role in search engine optimization (the process by which search engines more effectively direct users to the correct content).

The following guidelines are provided as a resource for Web editors as they edit existing content and add new pages. Feel free to contact the Web Team with any questions. 

General Content Management
Campus Unit Responsibilities

Campus units collaborate with University Communications and Web Services to create departmental websites, develop content, and organize information architecture. As part of this process, Web Services provides training on using the University's content management systems, Cascade Server, and University Communications provides content training.

Designated staff members within campus units are responsible for managing all content on secondary pages within their sites and for seeking consultation or assistance from University Communications when needed. To update department home page content, images, or site architecture, campus units should work with University Communications by submitting a change request.

Remember:

  • Department sites are all part of the larger University Web ecosystem
  • All sites and university URLs must be approved by University Communications and Web Services
  • Know your audience and your purpose
  • Know where you are on the wayfinding continuum (are users browsing, or looking to deep-dive into content?)
  • Be concise
  • Write for "scannability"
Images

To request a new secondary or promo image, or a change to an existing secondary or promo image, please submit the Web change request form.

Before adding images to the content area, use photo editing software to ensure they follow these standards:

  • Resolution of 72 dpi
  • Dimensions are no greater than 320 pixels by 320 pixels; head shots should be 121 pixels by 121 pixels
  • Optimized for the Web

Do not use Cascade to set the height and width of the image. Doing so will distort the image and may delay page loading.

Information Architecture

All sites and university URLs must be approved by University Communications and Web Services. University Communications works with each campus unit to establish sites' information architecture (IA), or the overall hierarchy, organization, and layout of the site's content. Key components of IA include:

  • Top (horizontal) site navigation, typically 5–7 major sections
  • Site taxonomy (the organization of all site content within the top navigation)
  • Home page content and structure

To update a site's information architecture, please work with University Communications.

Writing for the Web
Body Copy: Paragraphs and Lists

Web copy should be direct and easy to scan. Use clear headlines and chunks of copy, such as short paragraphs or bulleted lists, to break up content.

  • Other than headings, all text should be in paragraph style. This includes text in any related content region.
  • Do not put a word or a name in all caps except for recognized acronyms and abbreviations, such as CCE. These abbreviations should be spelled out on first reference.
  • Do not bold words or phrases within a paragraph or list. Bold may only be used for paragraph-style headings.
  • Do not underline text; underlining in Web copy indicates hyperlinks.
  • Do not apply any alignment rules to the text. All text should be left-aligned.
  • When listing items, use a bulleted list rather than a paragraph. Numbered lists should not be used unless the order is important, as in a series of steps. Refer to the Writing Style Guide for more information on punctuation in bulleted lists.
Links

Avoid using generic links such as "click here." Instead, describe the subject of the link's destination. Descriptive links help the user quickly scan page content.

Embedded hyperlinks should adhere to these guidelines, which are used throughout the Richmond domain:

  • Any link that directs users to content within your site should be created as an internal link, and the target should be "same window."
  • Any link that directs users to content within another University site should be created as an external link, and the target should be "same window." Some exceptions may be made for heavy reference sites.
  • Any link that directs users to a site outside the University of Richmond domain should be created as an external link, and the target should be "new window."
Tables

Tables should only be used for rendering data that belongs naturally in a grid. Other uses of tables are discouraged because they can cause problems with accessibility devices and mobile browsers. Please submit a Web Change Request Form if you have unique layout needs — University Communications will then consult with you.

By default, your tables will have a 1-pixel gray border around the outside of the table, with no border on the table cells. Optionally, there are three CSS classes you can apply to your table in Cascade's HTML editor. These classes are:

  • "ruled" - adds top and bottom borders to each row of your table
  • "gridlines" - adds borders to the top, bottom, and sides of all table cells
  • "noBorders" - eliminates all borders in the table

To apply one of the classes, your HTML for the table tag should look like:
 <table class="ruled">

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Headings: Creating Content Hierarchy

Heading 1 (H1)

Use for the main headline at the top of the content area; this should capture the main theme of the page. Use only once per page.

Bold
Use for subsequent paragraph headings within a page. Do not bold any red (H1, H2, etc.) headings.

Heading 2 (H2)

Use only when beginning a secondary section of content on the page. Use only once per page, if at all.

Heading 3, 4, etc.

Use only when website or page is based on documentation with a hierarchy structure that cannot be altered for the Web (example: facultyhandbook.richmond.edu). Do not use on normal content pages.

Asset Naming Conventions

When naming new assets — including pages, folders, and uploaded files (images, PDFs, etc.) — follow these conventions:

  • Use semantically meaningful language; names should make sense beyond the context of the site
  • Do not use abbreviations or acronyms unless they represent common usage
  • Use all lowercase letters
  • Separate words with a hyphen
  • Do not use dates, except when the asset is archival

Examples:

  • Acceptable: student-application, newsletter-spring-2008, new-spiders
  • Avoid: stud-app-2010, NwsltrSP08, ns

Remember, these names create page URLs and help search engines find content.

Page Metadata Titles

Every page must have a page title. When users view the page in Web browsers, the page title displays as the tab name and in the window's title bar. It also helps search engines find appropriate content for search terms. For information on how to edit the page name in Cascade, refer to the Tech Tip on creating a new page.

Page titles must follow this convention:

Page subject - Office or unit name - University of Richmond

Examples:

  • Apply to Ambassador Program - International Education - University of Richmond
  • Peer Advisors - New Spiders - University of Richmond
Alternative Text

When you place new images in a page, Cascade will prompt you to create alternative text (<alt>). This text will display if the image does not load, and it also provides an alternative to the image for search engines. A simple description is best. For example, "student throwing football."