Design Standards and Recommendations

This page is intended to serve as a practical guide for designing web sites in accordance with the UA Web Policy and institutional best practices.

Minimum Requirements

The University of Alabama World Wide Web Policy is the official document that governs all Web sites representing the University*. It defines minimum requirements that must be adhered to by all UA sites. It makes an important distinction between Official University Web Sites and Unofficial University Web Sites and defines standards accordingly.

  • Official University Web Sites are Web sites or Web pages created by University of Alabama entities including, but not limited to, its colleges, schools, departments, research centers, and administrative offices and purporting to represent the University of Alabama.
  • Unofficial University Web Sites are Web sites or Web pages created by University of Alabama entities including, but not limited to, individual University employees, faculty, staff, students, and student organizations to represent individuals, groups, or organizations.

UA Identification

Visitors to Official University Web Sites must be able to determine at all times that they are visiting a portion of the UA site. Clear identification of The University of Alabama should be included on all top-level pages of official UA websites.

The University nameplate or wordmark is the preferred means of identification. These items are available for download from the UA Web Images page.

School Colors

Designers are encouraged to employ prominent use of the school colors on their Web pages.

  • UA crimson is Web color #990000.
  • UA "warm gray" is Web color #eeeeee or #cccccc.

Links to UA Home Page

Visitors to Official University Web Sites must be afforded the convenience of being a click away from accessing the UA home page (www.ua.edu). A clearly labeled link to the UA home page should be included on each page of all official UA sites.

Ownership Information

Visitors to Official University Web Sites must be able to contact the page maintainer and receive a response within a reasonable period of time. A contact e-mail address, link to contact form, or name/phone number should be included on each Web page. The footer, near the bottom of a web site, is a common place for this information to reside.

Copywriting

UA web content should be presented using editorial standards appropriate for an institute of higher learning. While the level of formality may vary depending on the focus and audience of your site, proper spelling, punctuation, and style, make our sites more credible and more meaningful to our users.

Refer to the UA Editorial Style Manual for further assistance.

When writing for the web, text should be kept as short as possible without sacrificing meaning or clarity. Also, keep in mind that most readers scan pages rather than reading each word from top to bottom. For more information on writing fo the web, please refer to Writing for the Web by Jakob Nielsen.

Timeliness

Visitors expect and deserve valid, up-to-date information on our Web pages. A site with fresh and timely information encourages return visits and increases the overall effectiveness of the Web site.

Please account for site maintenance in the early phases of your website design or redesign and allocate resources accordingly. At the very least, a site should not contain outdated, inaccurate information. Ideally, the site will evolve over time according to the needs of your unit and the needs of your website's visitors.

Required Disclaimers for UA Web Sites

Official University Web Sites

A clearly labeled disclaimer, link to a disclaimer, or link to the official UA disclaimer at www.ua.edu/disclaimer.html must be displayed on the home page of all Official University Web Sites. The following language is recommended:

"Although the authors of this Web site have made every reasonable effort to be factually accurate, no responsibility is assumed for editorial or clerical errors or error occasioned by honest mistake. All information contained on this Web site is subject to change by the appropriate officials of The University of Alabama without prior notice. Material on this Web site does not serve as a contract between The University of Alabama and any other party."

Unofficial University Web Sites

A clearly labeled disclaimer or link to a disclaimer must be displayed on the home page of all Unofficial University Web Sites. The following language is recommended:

"The views, opinions, and conclusions expressed in this page are those of the author or organization and not necessarily those of The University of Alabama or its officers and trustees. The content of this page has not been reviewed or approved by the University of Alabama, and the author or organization is solely responsible for its content."

*Other important policy-related material is presented on the Office of Information Technology Policies page.

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