Indiana University's online presence promotes and enhances the university's image by providing current communications about IU's teaching, research, outreach, and service.
All IU Web pages must comply with local, state, and federal laws and with IU's policies and Visual Identity standards.
The purpose of these standards is to ensure that the university is represented with consistency and integrity on the Web sites of all of IU's departments, schools, facilities, organizations, and affiliates.
All portions of Indiana University's Web sites are required by Title 2 of the Americans with Disabilities Act to be fully accessible to everyone. For a thorough explanation of accessibility design guidelines, see W3C References on Web Accessibility. Online validators, as well as software packages or extensions can help establish accessibility during development and production.
To meet accessibility standards, all Indiana University Web pages must employ at least these general accessibility strategies:
- Provide alternative text for all photos and graphics.
- Provide text alternatives for multimedia (Flash, video, and audio).
- Provide a link to a longer description for graphics that present important information, such as charts, graphical tables, and diagrams.
- Provide a description for each link in an image map.
- Validate HTML, scripts, and CSS to be free of errors.
- Only use relative font sizes (percentages or ems).
- Make sure there is sufficient contrast between text and background colors.
- Whenever possible, use sans-serif fonts for body text with sufficient letter and line spacing.
For more information and assistance, visit the UITS Adaptive Technology and Accessibility Centers. Also the IU Web Accessibility Committee has available a Web Accessibility Administrative Practice document.
Visual Design Guidelines
- Avoid using animated images or blinking or scrolling text. These features present difficulties for individuals with visual impairments or cognitive disabilities that interfere with concentration.
- Avoid using background elements that compete with or obscure the page's information elements. Even a subtle background graphic can make content difficult to read, so the use of a graphic element as a background should be undertaken with discretion, if at all. The combination that has proven most readable and satisfying for users is black text on a white background.
- Ensure that all textual elements (and all essential graphical elements) are printable. Users who are reading a hard copy must be able to view all essential information on the printed page. Keep in mind that many users have browsers that don't print background images or colors by default (or this feature may be manually disabled).
- If possible, limit the total size of graphics to less than 40K. Long download times are a major deterrent to continued use of a Web page.
- Whenever possible, use a fluid page width. If a fixed width must be used, all vital information (such as navigation, content, and any search functionality) should be viewable within 800 pixels. When designing a fixed-width site, it is recommended that you set the minimum width to 760 pixels and the maximum width to 955. This takes into consideration the width of the browser's vertical scrollbar and keeps the horizontal scrollbar from appearing for users at or above 1024 pixels when the browser is maximized. Pages that will be viewed in OneStart should be no wider than 640 pixels.
- We recommend using the Web-safe hex value of IU Crimson (#990000) for all hypertext links in the main content area of Web pages. The links should appear without underlines and no other copy or headers within the main content area should appear red. This makes a clear distinction between links and text.
The primary content of any page should be developed to meet the needs of its users. In keeping with established usability practices and adopted Indiana University style, Web pages must also conform to the following conventions:
- Make sure every page includes the appropriate metadata.
- Use the page heading as the document title. It is important that the page heading accurately describes the content of the page. This will ensure the document appears at the highest possible level on search results pages. Accurate titles will also provide clear cues to those who bookmark the page.
- The page’s keywords meta tag must contain the full name of the university campus (e.g., Indiana University Northwest) and the geographic location (e.g., Gary, Indiana). Metadata helps search engines find the page and provides information on authorship, copyright, and the software used to create the page.
- The appropriate IU or campus banner must appear at the top of every page.
- The home page navigation should contain main category headings that clearly define what information is available on the site. Headings should be inclusive, definitive, and unambiguous. For an example, visit the IU Bloomington Web site.
- Every page should include the IU search engine. Place both a search link and a search box on the home page. For instructions on how to include the IU search engine, reference the IU search documentation.
- On campus home pages, an "emergency news" space is required to allow for a short announcement.
- If there is a permanent daily "news" area on the campus home page, it should contain a maximum of three news blurbs of 50 or fewer words each.
- All pages should be free of jargon and obscure or undefined acronyms.
- All content should be carefully proofread, spell-checked, and grammar-checked using the IU Style Guide. Technological language usage and terminology must conform to the UITS Standard Terms List.
- All campus and organizational home pages should have a clearly identifiable link back to the IU Gateway Web site, as well as to other appropriate campus or school pages.
All IU Web pages must include a footer that is set apart from the body of the page with a hard rule, paragraph separator, or other distinguishing method. At a minimum, the footer should contain:
- The Block IU: Available for download on this site.
- Indiana University trustee copyright statement: The word "copyright" should serve as a link to the Indiana University copyright statement page, followed by the copyright symbol and year the content of the page was developed and published to the Web. Directly following should be the phrase, “The Trustees of Indiana University,” with the words “Indiana University” linked to the IU gateway Web site.
- Copyright infringement link: The phrase "Copyright Complaints" should be linked to the Indiana University copyright infringement page. This link should follow the Indiana University trustee copyright statement and be separated with a comma.
Additionally, the footer might include:
- Comments link: A comments link may be included in the footer to provide an easy method for readers to ask a question or make a comment. The link should point to a simple form such as the comments form on the IU Gateway Web site. If you prefer to use an e-mail address, visit the Knowledge Base for directions on how to encode e-mail addresses to prevent e-mail harvesting.