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Website Development

Introduction : Responsibility for page content : Writing for the web

Introduction

The ATSU website supports the University's academic mission, serves as an information system for the ATSU community, and promotes and strengthens the University and its schools and programs.

Since the launch of the University’s original site in 1994, the Internet has become one of the University’s most important and widely used tools for communicating with internal and external audiences.

Because the site plays an important role in ATSU’s success, and because it is such a valuable and visible medium for conveying the University brand and identity, the University has developed guidelines for writing for the web and strongly encourages page users/developers to follow the Identity Standards & Style Guide. By using a style guide, we help the University create a clear and consistent online identity that complements other branding activities.

Information Technology Services and Communications & Marketing have collaborated to create templates for ATSU web pages that use the elements of ATSU’s identity program according to official usage guidelines. Offices or individuals that have access to make changes to the site are strongly encouraged to follow the guidelines set forth in the style guide and graphics standards guide.

Responsibility for page content

C&M and ITS work with assigned contact people who are charged with updating their school and/or departmental web content. Those people have been assigned access keys, which means they are able to make changes directly to the University site through a program called Macromedia® Contribute™.

If no one in your school or department has been assigned a Contribute™ key, please submit to ITS the person's name in your area whom will be given Contribute™ access. Your Contribute™ person will be responsible for updating your area’s information. ITS and C&M will provide assistance in using Contribute™ through online instruction, phone, and/or email.

All individuals who wish to make changes to any portion of the ATSU web site must:

  • Create pages in accordance with the Identity Standards & Style Guide.
  • Observe copyright laws by ensuring that permission is received from copyright holders before including any material created by these copyright holders. Such material includes, but is not limited to, the following: text, photographs, graphics, audio and video clips, and multimedia.
  • Consult with Jeremy Andrews or Stephen Emlund in ITS (helpdesk@atsu.edu) or Greg Rubenstein in Communications & Marketing (webteam@atsu.edu) on the creation of new pages and/or ideas for the site..
  • Consult with Curt Law on the development of online applications and forms.
  • Before a department, office, or school may link its pages to the ATSU web server, it must designate a faculty or staff member who will be responsible for creating and maintaining the information in those pages. In the absence of a faculty or staff contact person, the department or office head will be considered the responsible person. Recognized student organizations must designate an ATSU student who will be responsible for maintaining the content of its pages.

Writing for the web

Following are tips for writing effectively for the web. If you would like additional information and/or training, contact Communications & Marketing.

Remember, be concise! People are impatient! Only 16 percent of web users read copy word-for-word.

  • Write in easy-to-scan copy blocks of 50 words or less. Keep each page to three to four chunks per page.
  • Make sentences and paragraphs short and avoid as much jargon as possible.
  • Motivate a response.
  • Write about benefits, not features.
  • Use action words, and motivate readers to the next section.
  • Identify a replacement contact person when appropriate.
  • Less is more! Get your point across quickly and with as little "fluff" language as possible. To help, put yourself in the readers' shoes and ask, "Would I find this relevant or interesting? What does this mean to me? What would I want to know about this subject?”
  • Use dot points or lists to keep copy scanable.
  • Link to other relevant site content, keeping your links for the end of copy to reduce the number of users “lost” to other sites and to help ensure readers are actually reading your message.
  • Use bolded sub-headings to break up the page.
  • Make copy friendly and conversational. It's OK to address the reader in second person.  “You” is fine.
  • Avoid directing readers to "click here."