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Best Practices

NYU.edu is maintained by a content management system and a growing community of users that know the content they need to deliver to their various audiences, but may need some guidance in the fine tuning of that information.

Here are some of our suggestions for best practices when creating content on the web.

Accessibility

  • For longer texts with several headings, create a bulleted list with red links to add anchors to headers.
  • Itemized lists should be bulleted.
  • There should be no space under your headings.
  • Make a note that your links go to an external website. 
  • Links should not open in new windows. This is not good for screen readers and degrades usability and accessibility. Links should go to other pages in the same browser window.
  • URLs for PDFs: Any non-HTML links (PDFs, DOCs, etc.) are to be notified in brackets and add the memory size is also desirable.

    1. Example: Annual Report (PDF) or Annual Report (PDF: 30k)
    2. Image links to PDFs are not recommended – unless it's a PDF icon next to a link.
    3. Don't use headings as links to PDFs.

  • Add the "go to top" link to bottom right corner of a page. It would help site viewers when scrolling down longer pages. This can be done in CSS/JS.
  • Pages with "notes" should be bold with the rest of sentence italicized. Example: "Note: The deadline is next month."
  • Italics cause problems for people with dyslexia, and should be used sparingly.
  • Do not bold AND underline text. This confuses normal content with links.

Digital Rights

Digital rights are the protections, freedoms and responsibilities extended to individuals who use and create content for electronic and digital mediums, including the Internet.  "Digital citizens" have the right to privacy and freedom of expression, but also have the responsibility to use digital information and properties ethically and legally.

Incorporated in digital rights is data protection and privacy.  NYU.edu is diligent in creating original content or using content created by others only with their legal permission.

Plagiarism and copying someone else's intellectual property is not only unethical, but a violation of digital rights. This includes the borrowing of text, images and any multimedia. Likewise, authors and the content they produce are protected.  Click here to find out more about NYU’s specific policies and guidelines for information technology use.


Image: HTML Code

Web Standards

A site that has been built to web standards generally will be:

  • Less bandwidth intense and faster to load for site viewers
  • Easier to maintain and document
  • Compatible with newer & older browsers, including mobile devices
  • Accessible to all users, including the visually and hearing impaired
  • Given more relevant search placement in search engines such as Google

Tags and Keywords

When tagging your content:

  • Be specific - pick the most precise tags as possible.
  • Chose the appropriate tags!
  • Keywords - make sure your keywords are mirrored on the page to help improve the page's searchability.
  • Words in the page should mirror/repeat your headers and your titles.
  • Tags and keywords should be the same or similar to the title of the page


Photo: Man Writing Formula

File Naming

The University's content management system automatically names your pages so that they follow best practices for searchability and accessibility.

This is a filename that clearly defines for the site viewer the nature and purpose of the content on the page.

For example, a page containing information regarding financial aid for returning students should be named something like financial-aid-returning-students.html and not financialaidretstu.html or finaidretstu.html.

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