The CER digital team has recommendations for building a professional and accessible website. Listed below are best practices for web content management and usability.
Accessibility has been moved to its own page.
Routinely check your site by clicking all links for potential broken links.
Moving Pages to New URLs
Anytime a page moves, you break any incoming links from other sites. Try to avoid deleting or changing the links to established pages. If you change the date on a blog post, you also change the URL dynamically, which could also break links. If removing pages is necessary then you should implement a redirect.
Link and heading colors are preset to University-approved colors. Try avoiding manually changing the color of your site’s text. See Color Contrast above.
Keep your site’s menu items clear and brief – one to two words is best. The site menu should be easy to read and understand. As a general rule, try to write straightforward and simple headlines on blog posts and page titles. Make sure that they clearly explain what the page is about, and that headlines will make sense when read out of context in a search engine results listing.
Structure the page to facilitate scanning and help users ignore large chunks of the page in a single glance. For example, use grouping and subheadings to break a long list into several smaller units. Using Accordions is also helpful in making your content more scannable.
If you have a contact list or staff listing, try to list people in alphabetical order, so that your user can find the appropriate person quickly.
Avoid using “Click Here” to instruct a user where to click
A link has emphasis. Link too much, and soon everything has emphasis — so nothing does. Also, make sure you are emphasizing useful text.
Worst: The committee has many excellent resources on their website.
Bad: The committee has many excellent resources on their website.
Better: The committee has many excellent resources on their website.
Better still: There are many excellent resources available on the committee’s website.
Media & File Types
PDFs are often extremely problematic for users who navigate using a keyboard or screen reader. Please consider building your PDF content in a web page or Google Doc if possible. Contact Wake Forest’s Technology Accessibility team for help in creating more accessible PDFs if your project requires them.
Never dump a user directly into a PDF file without fair warning. “Fair warning” means presenting the user with a gateway page in front of the PDF that provides information about the document they can elect to open.
Video & Audio
Avoid adding video and audio to your site that automatically plays. The user should be allowed to start the video and audio by choice.