Application styling

Web applications should follow the publication process for all websites (get a Site ID and seek approval before publishing). Where possible, the business owner of the application should be responsible for following this process through rather than the developer as the owner retains ongoing responsibility for the system.

Unlike a content site, the extent to which an application is styled as ANU can vary. Every effort should be made to comply with web style, but sometimes this is not possible due to technical, functional or practical limitations.

If you are having trouble complying with web style for an application we can negotiate an alternative. Some of the factors we consider when deciding on the extent of styling needed are:

  1. Audience – applications intended for large numbers of the ANU community or to deal with people external to ANU are a higher priority for styling than those used by only a few people for an administrative function
  2. Access – if the audience is directed straight to the application without encountering any other ANU pages or logins it is a higher priority for being styled as ANU
  3. Function – the type of function being performed by the application may mean that some items (such as a menu bar or a fixed width content area) are impractical for end-users
  4. Technology – some applications are on a platform for which we have no style templates yet or which are unable to interact with our server/styles
  5. Investment – the changes needed to restyle a third-party product should not cause undue hardship (financial, resources, upgrade paths)

Styling alternatives

There are many ways in which an application can comply with ANU styling rules. In general we try to get as close to web style as we can.

Login options

When a website or application includes a login, there are some rules around positioning for consistency and usability.

If the website is only for using an application, the login should be prominently displayed in the centre of the homepage.

If the login is used to sign up for a newsletter or become a member of something, but it isn't the only function performed by that site, the login may appear in the menu area underneath the main menu block.

Logins for site managers and editors should not appear on the main menu because they are not for the main viewing audience. These login options can appear on pages within the site (other than the homepage) or can be linked to from menu subitems.

Some of the possible styling options include:

  • using only the explore bar, banners and footers
  • including a banner, or banner graphic, only
  • adding just the ANU logo
  • using ANU colours
  • providing an ANU-styled entry point such as an introduction page or login screen
  • any combination of the above (a logo and colours for example)

Please contact us if you want to negotiate the style of an application.

Styling sources

Wherever possible, applications should draw elements from the stylesheets and code hosted at to ensure any updates to global items are automatically inherited by your application.

In situations where this is not possible, applications can download and cache the required elements on an update schedule that suits - nightly, weekly or in accordance with the release/development lifecycle for that system.

It is also possible for development or test environments to connect to the styles test environment to preview any style changes that might be coming up. Contact us if you want to explore this option.

If an application does not dynamically connect to styles, and needs to be manually updated, a commitment needs to be made by owner and developer to monitoring style changes and updating as needed (this is easy to do if you sign up to the Web Publishers Group and get on the mailing list).


If you are writing a web application, you may find it useful to use the JSON API to retrieve information from the central styles server.

You can retrieve a JSON object that contains all of the style pieces, some of the variables that we keep about each site, and an array of css and javascript files that need to be included. To get the JSON object, a call with 'part=json' with your site ID and other arguments should be used.

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Updated:  7 June 2021/ Responsible Officer:  Director Marketing/ Page Contact:  Webstyle