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FMU WEB SITE POLICY

Approved November 14, 2011

Contents

 


l. PURPOSE

The purpose of the Francis Marion University web site is to provide external and internal communication, administrative processes, and marketing/promotional efforts.

2. SCOPE

The policy applies to all FMU employees, students, alumni, and organizations officially associated with the University, and all other users of FMU network computing resources; Web pages using the fmarion.edu domain name, stored on University computers, or delivered through University data networks.

3. OBJECTIVE

The objective of this policy is to establish and maintain compliance with the requirements, procedures and standards of publishing information on the World Wide Web. This is desired in order to assure the editorial content and design of web pages be current and reflect favorably on the University and present a consistent message through style, quality and content. The web is a global medium and reaches a far greater audience than many think about.

4. ADMINISTRATION

A. The Web Group will:

1. Have final authority over all Web material
2. Administer Web procedures and guidelines
3. Review and correct web content to ensure it is accurate, timely, effective, and engaging.
4. Ensure content managers acquire adequate training to accomplish their Web responsibilities.
5. Research and recommend web practices and trends for consideration and implementation.
6. Be comprised of one or more representatives, designated by those at the Vice-Presidential level, from the following areas: Academic Affairs and Enrollment Management, Administration, Business Affairs, Education Foundation and Alumni Affairs, Public and Community Affairs, and Student Affairs. Others may serve on the committee at the discretion of Administration.

B. Campus Technology will:

1. Manage relationships with those providing web server services
2. Provide technical support to assist university departments with web development
3. Provide appropriate level of access to information on the University web for students, faculty and staff

C. The Public and Community Affairs Office will:

1. Decide upon the look and feel of the Website
2. Provide style guidelines
3. Maintain a database of web-useable photos and
4. Consult and help design graphics


5. PROCEDURES FOR PUBLISHING

department.fmarion.edu server for department pages:

Must have permission from the Department Chair. Once permission is granted, then request an account under the Department for the web pages. Once the account is setup, the faculty member can use a web development software to create the pages and post them on the server.

people.fmarion.edu server:

All faculty and staff have access to this server once they are connected to the domain. They will see it as their “w” drive. Once they create their web pages, they should be able to post them to the server where they will then be public. The link will be people.fmarion.edu/username.

6. SITE STRUCTURE & FUNCTION

In order to maximize the consistency and professional appearance of the site while encouraging creative publishing by both official units of the University and any of its members desiring to publish a personal page, the University web site is divided into three categories.

Category 1. From the initial home page through third level pages and to many below, the pages of the first category conform to a rigid set of rules having them appear the same except for informational content and slight variation within a limited set of backgrounds. These pages are maintained on the Content Management System (CMS) and therefore should adhere to the Style Sheet provided within that framework. An example of a third level page would have the following path Homepage → Academics → College of Liberal Arts. These pages begin with the URL: www.fmarion.edu

Category 2. The second category provides official units of the University the opportunity to both design their own pages and to continually maintain the accuracy and currency of the information provided. Official departmental information about staff members and instructors' course materials may be located here. While these pages conform to a less limiting set of guidelines than Category 1, they must continue the best presentation of the University's story. These pages may be located on the department.fmarion.edu server, the official university CMS, or a third-party server.

Category 3. Any faculty, staff or student group may have their personal/organization’s page/site linked to the University site, either from a Category 1 or Category 2 page. Such approved links from the linking page will state this to be a "Link to Unofficial Page". Personal pages linking from the official site have a unique set of guidelines. The web group does not monitor the content of personal pages linked from the official site. However, there are policies for all pages published within the University domain.

7. POLICIES FOR ALL WEB PAGES

Please use discretion in whatever you publish and abide by all University policies concerning information technology. Special attention should be given by Web developers to the policy on Acceptable Uses of the Internet at Francis Marion University. Highlights of this policy which Web developers as users of internet resources should be especially aware of include:

We expect that:

• Users will obey local laws regarding the possession and use of pornography and obscenity.
• A user will protect sensitive information so that a casual user will not "stumble" upon it.
• A user will not display sensitive information in a public manner that is offensive.
• Users will use information obtained on the Internet in a scholarly and responsible manner.
• Users will represent the University well and do nothing to bring dishonor to the University.
• Users who are interested in commercial business use of the Internet will secure their own personal connection via an Internet Provider.

Users will not:

• Engage in any behavior that is libelous or malicious.
• Use the Internet to harass others.
• Steal software.
• Copy electronic property without permission.
• Make commercial/business use of the University's resources.

All pages are subject to federal, state, local laws and University policies and procedures. Pages which are in violation of the law or do not follow University policy, may be unlinked or have the account revoked. The author of the page will be notified immediately when pages are removed or when changes are deemed necessary to comply with laws and policies. And when appropriate, the sponsoring organization will be notified.

Visitors should be able to find the following information quickly and easily:

• Contact information for your department/office/school on each page
• A summary of the department or organization
• Physical location of the main office
• Copyright notice


8. SUGGESTIONS FOR PUBLISHERS

Training
Campus Technology offers classes each semester on Web techniques and use of the CMS. These classes are open to content creators and managers.

Disk Space
Finite disk space exists on our servers. Because of this, best practices should be used when uploading media for use on sites. Care should be given before upload to ensure the file is at its smallest size given the application of the file. A search of the site should occur before uploading to see if a file already exists from a previous upload.

Templates and Tools
As it pertains to the Extend CMS, three layouts are available for Web pages. One layout contains a banner and side navigation; one has only side navigation; one has only the top banner; and one is blank except for the top navigation. Extend offers tools such as calendar, photo album, and slide show. Additional tools utilize third party code. These tools will need to be inserted by content creators/managers. Campus Technology will help in whatever capacity they can to assist users.

Images
Official images for use on the website can be found at http://www.fmarion.edu/news/universityimages. You may link to these and other images through Extend’s media manager by doing a network search. Other sites can link to these photos through their URLs or by downloading them and then uploading to their sites. Another place to find official university images is fmuphotos.com. Username and password information can be obtained from the Public and Community Affairs office. Those images (in their smaller forms) can be downloaded and directly uploaded to the Extend server. The largest forms of the images would have to be resized to a web-friendly size before uploading to Extend. Any questions regarding appropriate use of these images can be directed toward Public and Community Affairs.

Special Features
Be aware all web users do not have the same capabilities. You may want to consider limited use of graphics or other special features. It may also be a good idea to view your web page from several different browsers. While building your page, keep in mind those with accessibility issues. Colorblind, dyslexic, and the visually impaired cannot experience your page in the same way the average user can. Image tags are a required element when uploading and inserting images to your site. It is imperative that sites affiliated with Francis Marion maintain ADA compliance.

Web Writing Hints
According to a few studies, reading from computer screens is about 25 percent slower than reading from paper. There’s some evidence that suggests that people also feel uncomfortable reading from a screen. As a result, a number of Web writing “gurus” recommend writing 50 percent less text onscreen than you might for a printed piece.
Admittedly, this research reflects the general Internet user, so one might expect more latitude on the university site. On the other hand, it’s known that college applicants make snap decisions based on an institution’s Web site, and make those decisions in less than 90 seconds—which again argues for brief, Web-savvy copy. Accordingly, these guidelines are offered for writing college Web sites:

• Be succinct. If there’s a shorter, simpler way to say something, do it that way.
• Respect your interface. The interface that you’re working with may allow as few as 150 words of text before “the fold”—this means that the gist of the page should be apparent without requiring the visitor to scroll.
• Keep paragraphs short and the eye-swing narrow. This—especially if paragraphs have topic sentences—speeds scanning and alleviates fatigue.
• Make copy “scannable.” Bulleted lists, hyperlinks (links imbedded in text), and identifiable subsections bolster scanning of copy onscreen.
• Use common nomenclature. A clever, but somewhat obscure, link name can cause frustration and confusion. These should be used only on minor links (links not on the main grid).
• Hyperlinks should be phrased. By that, the gurus mean that a hyperlink should be more than one word. “International graduate students should apply early.” The reason: It’s easier to spot a phrase than a single word.
• Create “levels of information.” The most general level is on the top of the hierarchy: It answers the most basic questions. The most detailed information is at the bottom of the hierarchy. This hierarchy speeds reading: Users looking for the gist get it right away; users looking for details click downward, through links or hyperlinks. This structure allows for great Web-like structures of information that reverberate with connections and ideas.
• Guard against irrelevant hyperlinking. Just because you use a word that is the name of another page on your site doesn’t mean that it’s relevant. Be sure to check the content of the linked page to ensure that it is relevant and will help the reader.
• Avoid Web clichés. Early on, when the web was young and we were all a bit unsure of whether people would “get it,” we created a lot of unnecessary directions, introductions, and other embarrassing stuff that young users find cliché. These include:

"Welcome to the Florence College Weaving Department Web Page." This suggests that Web pages aren’t an everyday communication tool, such as a brochure or newspaper is. (“Welcome to the New York Times front page…” See the problem?)
"Click here to find out more!" The hyperlink should be imbedded in the text—young people know what a contextual link is and what it will do without being told to click. Frequently, we develop short paragraphs, which end with the word “more …” or, if necessary, “more about what students say about Francis Marion University”
"On this Web page you will find…" The only time you’ll need to explicitly state what is on the page is when the page is lengthy and dense.

• Use anchors. When you have tons of weighty stuff that belongs together on a single page, create internal links so that the reader can scan the list of internal clinks (called anchors), and then jump to the section of the page that’s of interest, rather than scrolling in a blind search.
• Remember you’re in a nonlinear medium. It’s possible for a visitor to reach your page from Google…which means top-level pages in particular should recognize that the visitor is likely to need context. This is why an “Admissions” page has introductory copy even though there’s an “About” page with introductory copy. (But of course we don’t want to restate everything, so...be brief.)


9. GUIDELINES FOR CATEGORY 1 PAGES

-have the FMU logo in the top banner of the page which links back to the FMU homepage (if using a top banner),
-have a clickable email address of the individual responsible for the page somewhere in that department’s site,
-have the FMU standard footing address information with link to FMU homepage,
-not use a linked target which launches a new browser window/tab if linking to another category 1 page,
-use a new window/tab if linking to a non-category 1 page
-use one of the designated official FMU web backgrounds,
-to comply with the style sheet, try not to adjust text color or font,
-an approved color guide is available through the Public and Community Affairs office.

You should note the section POLICIES FOR ALL WEB PAGES of this policy document.


10. GUIDELINES FOR CATEGORY 2 PAGES

Category 2 pages are officially linked from Category 1 pages and are designed and maintained by official units of the University including schools, departments, programs, instruction, and student organizations. Visitors should be able to determine at all times that they are visiting a Francis Marion-related site.

All Category 2 pages must:

-display the name of the department or organization on the front page,
-have a link back to the main FMU page or transition page and
-have a clickable email address of the individual responsible for the page,
-use only university-approved university and departmental logos

You should note the section POLICIES FOR ALL WEB PAGES of this policy document.

11. GUIDELINES FOR CATEGORY 3 PAGES

All category 3 pages must (if possible):

-have a disclaimer appearing on all pages, for example, "The opinions expressed on this page are strictly those of the author. The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by FMU. ",
-have a clickable email address of the individual responsible for the page.

You should note the section POLICIES FOR ALL WEB PAGES of this policy document.

Last Published: February 6, 2012 2:25 PM
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