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Web Policies and Guidelines

Fordham University Web Policy
Statement of Purpose
The Fordham website ( and its sanctioned online domains exist to advance the mission of the University by communicating with and serving the needs of the institution’s various audiences and stakeholders. As one of Fordham’s primary means of external communication, is a vehicle for student and faculty recruitment and a vital resource for alumni, parents, donors, as well as other members of the general public who are interested in learning more about the University and its academic community. As President of Fordham University, Joseph McShane, S.J. has requested that the institutional website share certain elements of communality that are easily recognized. The Web Policy Committee was charged to develop guidelines for such implementation.

I. Requirements for Fordham University Web Sites
A. Top Banner
B. Bottom Address Bar
C. Copyright issues
D. Web Liaisons
II. Web Design Support
A. Training, Resources, Consultation, and Design Support
B. Design Quality
1. Define Content
2. Develop Architecture
3. Create Design
C. Content Quality
1. Sensitive Information
2. Length of Text
3. Reading on the Web
D. Commonality
1. Main Identifiers
2. Use of University Marks & Branding
3. Navigation
4. Templates
5. Site Expectations
III. Standards, Tools & Tips
A. Web Guides to Styles and Standards
B. HTML Standards
IV. Downloading and Accessibility
A. Download Times
B. Contact Information
C. Browser and Platform Considerations
D. Accessible Web Pages
V. Security
A. Information on your Web Site
VI. Updating
A. Site Life Cycle
VII. Contacts and Support

I. Requirements for Fordham University web sites/pages: back to top
All top level pages of the University must conform to the approved format which includes the top and bottom banner as listed below. All department, school, and organization homepages fit into this category and except for the top banner, and University address bar at the bottom, exactly as here, everything in between is left up to the discretion of the individual unit:

A. Top Banner:
back to top

B. Bottom Address bar:
bottom frame

The dimensions of the top banner are 771 pixels X 77 pixels. The Maroon is hex #900028 back to top

An up-to-date template for the above banners may be downloaded from the Office of Internet Services.

C. Copyright back to top
Copyright laws apply to websites just as they apply to other published materials.

Do not use photos, text or graphics from printed material or web sites without obtaining permission since such material may be copyright protected.

Remember to obtain permission before using photographs. Both the subject of the photograph and the photographer must consent to the use of a photo; it is prudent to obtain written consent when using photographs of individuals, especially if the photos will appear in material that can be considered promotional. If in doubt about the need for formal permission to use material, contact Public Affairs or the office of Legal Counsel.

D. Liaisons back to top
We require that every unit of the University select a liaison/webmaster to consult with the Office of Internet Services, and gather the necessary resources to implement their unit’s pages and to assume responsibility for updating their site's content.

II. Support for Web Design:
A. Training, Resources, Consultation, and Design Support back to top
The Office of Internet Services conducts WAVES classes throughout the year at Rose Hill and Lincoln Center campuses; however, if the classes are not currently in session, you can request to have one-on-one training. Call or email the OIS at to request training. When you have completed your training class, you will then be assigned a user name and password to log on to your department's pages in WAVES.

B. Design Quality back to top
Graphic design is the first part of a site observed by online visitors. Effectively designed Web sites grab viewer attention and offer clear, consistent navigation. The Office of Internet Services provides templates (pre-formatted forms into which one drops their own content) to help design sites that are consistent with both the navigation procedures and the look and feel of the University’s homepage and second-level pages.

If a template is not suitable, contact the Office of Internet Services for help with a design. There are, however, some simple steps that can be followed to create a well-designed site:
1. Define Content back to top
a. Decide on the purpose and goals of your site

b. Identify the needs of your audience

c. Determine your audience's skill and Internet connection levels

2. Develop Architecture back to top
a. Create a flowchart that organizes and lays out your site

b. Prioritize and categorize information

c. Identify links within and outside the site

3. Create Design back to top
Consult with the Office of Internet Services to ensure that your site's design is consistent with the University’s design policies.

4. For more detailed Web design tips, refer to the following sites: back to top
a. Project Cool Developer Zone:

b. Web Page Design for Designers:

c. Web Design from

C. Content Quality
1. Sensitive Information back to top
Be mindful of posting sensitive information online. Though you may be posting it for a small, select audience (your employees, students, etc.) unless it is password protected, it is available for viewing by the world.

2. Length of Text back to top
Many Web sites that discuss style standards focus largely on design and coding with little information about actual content. Quality writing is quality writing regardless of the medium. However, the Web medium puts a premium on getting to the point and presenting content in an unambiguous manner; therefore, it is important to take your time when drafting text. Long pages of text can be tedious for viewers of Web pages. As an alternative to long sections of uninterrupted text you might consider a bullet list.

3. Reading on the Web back to top
People read differently on the web than on paper. For an example, view: How Users Read on the Web (at and consider that the Web version may need to be very different than the print version. In some cases, providing a print version, as a downloadable option is another approach to consider. For simple text, ordinary HTML is the ideal version but PDF files may be a good choice as they are platform independent, though they may take longer to download. A word processing file such as Microsoft Word can be considered but may present problems for some users.

D. Commonality back to top
Each section of should reflect Fordham University. It is not uncommon for a user to bypass a main directory homepage and link directly to a specific site. This is due largely to the use of Internet search engines. This type of direct linking can also cause users to question whether or not they are on an official or affiliated University site. Therefore, all University affiliated sites need to identify themselves as belonging to Fordham University.

1. Main Identifiers back to top
The main identifiers which are required are:

a. The word/graphic logos used currently on the University’s homepage and

b. The bottom bar menu also from the University’s homepage

2. Use of University Marks & Branding back to top
Fordham logos and word marks used on official University Web sites such as University departments, approved student groups and schools, are permitted as long as the logos are used correctly.

In addition:

c. Web sites not affiliated with the University but using Fordham insignia require authorization from the University Trademark and Licensing office .

d. Web sites that have a chat room are not allowed to use University insignia. Merchandise sites may use Fordham insignia for the express purpose of advertising licensed products for sale;

e. News sites that provide information about Fordham University are permitted to display University insignia.

3. Navigation back to top
a. Clear, easy navigation through every page of the Fordham Web site is a necessity. Every page must, at the very minimum, include (a) a link to the Fordham University homepage and (b) the homepage footer menu bar. Each page should also include a link to the appropriate department/division/school/etc. from which the page originates. URL links should be tested routinely to ensure that they are correct.

4. Templates back to top
Page templates are available online at the Office of Internet Services

5. Site Expectations back to top
Every page of the Fordham University Web site has at least one thing in common — it bears the Fordham name. Keeping that in mind, every page is to be held to a certain standard of content and design. Using University approved templates is required at all top level pages, however individuality is just as important as consistency of look and feel. Every page, particularly top-level pages, are held to a standard worthy of bearing the Fordham name. If a page does not meet that standard, the responsible office will be contacted by the Office of Internet Services to discuss improvement options.

III. Standards, Tools & Tips
A. Web Guides to Styles and Standards back to top
Many Web sites offer guides to styles and standards. Below is a selection of some of the guides:

1. Web Page Design for Designers ( offers advice on how to best put together Web sites; however, it assumes a knowledge of HTML. This site takes the users beyond just the basics.

2. The HTML Writers Guild ( provides online courses, mailing lists and other references for learning more about Web development.

3. Creating Killer Web Sites ( offers design tips, example sites and other information on Web design. This site will provide you with lots of creative input as well as technical information.

B. HTML Standards back to top
1. One attempt at addressing standards is being developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

IV. Downloading and Accessibility
A. Download Times back to top
Download times are dependent on many factors ranging from connection speed and the user's computer to the size of files the Web developer creates. Since a developer cannot control what hardware and software users have, it is important to be sensitive to the differences in user capabilities when placing items on a site for user download.

1. Keeping graphics files as small as possible while still maintaining quality is the main goal. Newer versions of graphics programs such as Abode Photoshop include tools that make this a simpler process than in the past.

2. Features like JavaScript add to the load time since it must be interpreted before the page loads. Therefore, to ensure quicker load times, avoid any unnecessary code.

3. Programs like Dreamweaver frequently put FONT tags around each individual section of text, which increases download times. Be sure to edit out any unneeded tags, and most importantly, use style sheets to control text appearance.

B. Contact Information back to top
1. Every University Web page must have contact information that is clearly shown. If there are questions concerning a particular page, a viewer should be able to easily contact someone to clear up the problem. The "homepage" for each responsible office’s Web site must contain complete contact information for the office, organization or school including mailing address, phone number and e-mail address. Subsequent pages should contain at least an email contact preferably in the form of a link of someone with direct knowledge of the page who can provide relevant information to the user.

C. Browser and Platform Considerations back to top
1. A developer's life would be much simpler if every user saw sites on the same type of computer and used the same type of browser. Unfortunately, life doesn't work that way. Visitors may view your site on Netscape 3.0 using a Macintosh Power PC, or they may view your site on Internet Explorer 5.0 using a Windows 98 machine. We strongly encourage Web developers to design their pages for all audiences. This means keeping accessibility in mind as you are coding and designing your site. While nothing ensures that your design will be the same under all browsers on all platforms because of differing display characteristics of systems as well as different screen resolutions and settings on monitors, the best option is to follow the W3C standards

D. Accessible Web Pages back to top
Given that Web accessibility is desirable, The Web Policy Group recognizes that the newest technologies and design considerations sometimes make the goal of total accessibility difficult to attain; however, the goal is to make all pages on fully accessible to people with disabilityes. The specific federal regulation that covers this is Sec 508B of the WORKFORCE INVESTMENT ACT OF 1998.

V. Security
A. Information on your Web Site back to top

Any information you put on the Web is essentially available for anyone, anywhere to read and copy. Therefore, most Web information is not secure. Any information you do not want made public should be placed on a secure server and password protected. If you need to have pages password protected, contact the Office of Internet Services.

VI. Updating
A. Site Life Cycle back to top

Information on Web pages should be updated regularly, reflecting its audience’s needs, whether that be daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc. Every office is encouraged to update or refresh the content and design of their pages twice a year, preferably every fall and every spring.

VII. Contacts and Support
A. The Office of Internet Services: exists to support with resources, training, and design. back to top

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