Web content authors checklist
Please also see the checklist for publication approval and
Complying with ANU web style is not just about making your site look like it belongs at ANU. Many of the rules have been established to make life easier for our audiences - following the web style rules will help you to make sure your content is logically structured, easily scannable and well-indexed by search engines.
Always think first about what your audience needs from the page and arrange your content to allow them to achieve that as quickly and easily as possible.
1. Menus, links and other navigation
- Every webpage should have a menu highlight or a breadcrumb, or both.
- Main menu items cannot link offsite or to non-web files.
- Menu items should match page headings or be an abbreviated form.
- DO NOT use 'click here' for links. Link text should be descriptive - it is better for people and for search engines.
- Read more links should be used to link from summaries to more content or from lists to more detail. Read more links only make sense within this context.
- Include the file type and size as part of the link text if it is not a webpage, for example: 2010 Annual Report (PDF, 2MB).
- Use headings to break your page into scannable chunks.
- Apply heading levels for structure, not appearance.
h1= page title,
h2= section within page,
h3= sub-section within section.
Use sentence case and only capitalise proper nouns - sentence case is easier to read.
ANU print style uses upper case for headings. On the web, upper case letters are more difficult to read than lower case and are often interpreted as shouting. For this reason, minimal use of upper case is recommended. Some smaller heading styles, and the explore bar, use upper case. Headlines and subheaders on the web should be sentence case.
- Headings do not need to end in full stops.
See heading styles for more information.
3. Formatting text
- Underline is only for links.
- Italics are harder to read than bold and should be avoid for large blocks of text.
- Italics are usually reserved for citations.
- "Double quotes" are reserved for speech.
- 'Single quotes' can be used for emphasis, but bold is just as good.
See text styles for more information.
- Use lists to break your content into scannable chunks.
- If your preceding sentence ends in a colon or anything other than a full stop, your list items should start with lowercase and only have a full stop on the end.
For example, this sentence ends in a colon:
- so list item one starts with lower case
- so does list item two, but it ends in a full stop.
- If your preceding sentence ends in a full stop (or is a heading), you list items should start with a capital letter and have full stops on each.
This sentence ends in a full stop.
- This list item is a complete sentence.
- This list item is also a complete sentence.
Read list styles for more information.
5. Laying out content
- Consult your local web manager - these things need to be coded properly!
- DO NOT use tables for layout, tables are for tabular data.
- DO NOT use empty paragraphs or headings to add spacing, use padding and spacing classes.
- All elements (images, tables, columns) should line up with the ANU web grid using grid classes and width classes.
- All elements should use ANU colours.
- Use the style sampler to look at other options and the content area styles to see how to implement.
- Define table headings using table headers
- Set widths to percentages (%) rather than pixels (px) or use width classes on the relevant table cells
- Use classes to style the table.
See table styles for more information.
- Alt attributes should be used within
<img>tags to convey the meaning of the image. If there is no meaning use
alt = "". Convey the actual meaning, for example
alt="20% of staff prefer yellow cars"rather than
alt = "Car colour graph". Avoid using images alone to provide information.
- Images should be sized in line with the ANU grid.
- Images should:
- be relevant to the content and audience
- not clutter the page
- contain a single picture, not a collage
- be high quality imagery.
- Secondary logos (any logo in addition to the ANU logo) require the approval of the Director Marketing Office. This only applies to areas within ANU. External collaborator logos are permitted.
See images for more information.
- Only appear on the homepage.
- Content should change regularly.
- Features should link to ANU webpages.
- Images should fit the full area allowed, cannot be collages and the ANU window should not cover faces.
See features for more information.
9. Other checks
- Avoid PDFs, but if you can't avoid them make them accessible (see PDF accessible for information and how-to guides).
- Do not use special characters in filenames, only use numbers, letters, hyphens (-) or underscores (_).
- The University name is ANU or The Australian National University, not 'the ANU' or 'Australian National University'.
- Possessive form should be The Australian National University's or University's, not ANU's.
- Spell out acronyms on first use.
- Use Australian English, for example organise, not organize.
- If in doubt, follow the ANU writing style guide.