Standards and Guidelines

The following are basic guidelines and standards to familiarize yourself with. By no means is this an exhaustive list, but more a “tips and tricks” when working on the web.


  • Think about what you put on your page, keep your audience in mind; and be clear and concise in your meaning.


  • Publish images and documents after uploading them. If you see them in Edit but not Preview mode, they probably didn't get published. Publish them. 
  • Images must be the same size within a snippet or asset.


  • Look at your web page on multiple devices (phone, tablet, computer and TV). Design for mobile size to ensure layout remains good for all other devices. 
  • All pages on the website should have a consistent look to maintain a consistent brand.


  • When deleting pages; update the first (remove the page link before deleting the page itself). Publish the after updating it.
  • When adding new pages; publish the page before publishing the updated 
  • Preview pages before Publishing them until page is finished. Don’t forget to Publish when done.
  • Check pages back in before logging out via Dashboard or Gadgets


  • Use complete email addresses (e.g. for email links instead of names without the actual address.
    • This method is accessible-friendly for those who do not have their email client setup to automatically open, they would have no way of knowing the address.
  • When inserting a website link, use the full  URL and provide user-friendly 'Text to Display' field.  For example:
    • URL would be
    • 'Text to Display' field Google (e.g. Google)   


  • Think about what you are putting on your Web page. Include only important information and be clear and concise. Minimize different content formats: if you have a PDF or document, can it just live on the website as an actual page, or does it need to be a linked-PDF or linked-document, uploaded to the website?
  • Use Gender/Pronoun Neutral Language. Omitting the use of gender labels and pronouns neutralizes written text. The phrasing he/she could assume specific roles on the reader. This could alter how the information is received. Use phrasing such as, “the reader” or “the student” provides a gender-neutral text. Pronouns can detract viewers from reading a text. A common practice is to use the pronoun, “you” in written text. However, information with pronouns could unintentionally place blame and/or point fingers at the reader.
  • If it’s not ready, don’t include it or don’t publish it. Don’t use “Coming soon...,” “Under Construction,” or any other similar wording.
  • Any content added to the website may be changed by Campus Web Services at any time, if it fails to meet basic writing style guidelines, visual style guidelines or accessibility guidelines.
  • If any user fails to meet these standards, their access to edit pages may be revoked.
  • When copying and pasting content from another source (e.g. Word or PDF), use the 'Clear Formatting' icon Clear Formatting in OU or the ‘Paste as Text’ icon Paste as Text icon. (From Edit mode see the ‘?’ icon OU Help Icon to open up the Toolbar Help window for specifics between both options.)
  • Make sure to proofread all text and perform spell check.
  • Be clear, concise and simple in your copy. Get to the point.
  • Make sure the most important information takes precedence.
  • Put yourself in the shoes of someone coming to your page for the first time — identify your audience.
  • Speak to your audience, don’t dumb-down your content, but make it simple and easy to understand.
  • Don’t change the font face.
  • Don’t change the font color.
  • Don’t change the font size outside of the predefined size options within Styles and Formatting.
  • Don’t add background colors to text unless it is specified within the Styles menu.
  • Don’t bold, underline or italicize text — if it’s all bold, italicized or underlined, none of it will stand out.
  • Don’t add additional space between characters.
  • Don’t use excessive exclamation points or all caps — your audience will think you’re yelling at them.