In order to create a satisfying user experience, all official Penn websites should follow best practices and accessibility standards. Here are a few guidelines that can help you in the creation of your site.

Best Practices

  • Keep navigation consistent throughout the site. Users should always be able to return easily to your homepage and to other major navigation points in the site, including the main Penn website.
  • Divide your information into clearly defined sections.
  • Use logical naming convention for page headers (H1, H2, H3, etc.), menu labels and web addresses. Always use proper semantic markup for your web content.
  • Ensure that all images include an "ALT" tag and height and width information, so that nonvisual users with screen reader software will have some indication of the presence and presence and nature of your visual content.
  • Provide contacts for site owners somewhere within your site.
  • Links should be created using text that makes sense when read out of context. For example, avoid "click here."
  • Understand the importance of search usability and search engine optimization (SEO) Learn more about SEO at http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=35291&cbid=-10m2zyovfbnmr&src=cb&lev=answer and http://www.seochat.com/.
  • Always check your work using a validator such as the W3C Markup Validation Service. Style sheets can be validated using the W3C CSS Validation Service

Additional tips can be found in the Google Webmaster Guidelines and in and the 3rd edition of the Web Style Guide Online.

Accessibility

The University of Pennsylvania website is frequented by a diverse group of people from around the globe. Some of our users have visual or motor skill impairments and utilize assistive technologies such as screen readers and text-only browsers; others view our pages using outmoded technologies and slow connection speeds. It is important that website creators be cognizant of these limitations and strive to make their websites accessible to the greatest number of people. As such, Penn websites should be compliant with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

More information on web accessibility and Section 508 compliance is available at: