Styles, Standards & Guidelines
Web styles, standards and guidelines apply to all Montgomery College Web sites to ensure:
- navigability and accessibility by all users
- accuracy and currency of content
- accurate representation of the College’s identity and brand
Quality check your site in these five areas to ensure your site is compliant:
- Use relative links to link to content on the Montgomery College site.
Example: /edu/tertiary1.aspx?urlid=67 instead of http://cms.montgomerycollege.edu/edu/tertiary1.aspx?urlid=67
- Clearly identify the target of each link. Link text should be meaningful when read out of context.
Example: “Schedule your tour of the Germantown Campus” instead of “Click here to schedule a tour of the Germantown Campus.”
- Open all links that point to non-MC content in new windows, using target=_blank.*
- Label links that open a downloadable file (e.g., files other than Web pages – Word documents, Excel files). Place the label at the end of the link and indicate the type of file, followed by the size.*
Example: Style Guide (PDF – 623 KB)
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- Ensure that content on your pages functions in commonly used Internet browsers – Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari.
- Apply the standard styles for images, headings, bullets, borders, and tables, as specified in the .edu Style Guide.
- Do not underline text solely for emphasis (users may mistake underlined text for a link).*
- Avoid using background images. If you use a background image, be sure the text is legible against the background.*
- Do not boldface or italicize your entire text; it decreases readability.*
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- If content you would like to include on your page (e.g., academic calendar, course descriptions, calendar) has already been posted to the CMS (even if posted by another college unit), link directly to it instead of posting another copy of the content. This will prevent duplication of content and version control issues.
- Review your content frequently to ensure it is accurate and current.
- Refer to the Montgomery College Style Guide (Word - 417 KB) and the Chicago Manual of Style for standards on abbreviation, capitalization, and spelling.
Examples of commonly used words and their standard spellings:
e-mail instead of email or Email
Web instead of web
World Wide Web instead of world wide web
Web site instead of website or web site
Web-based instead of web-based
Web-related instead of web-related
- Add metadata to content.*
- Upload audio and video content to the MC Podcast Directory and embed the multimedia in your content. Do not upload multimedia content directly to the CMS.*
- Consider the characteristics, goals, and needs of the intended users when writing content.*
- Use short, descriptive headings and bullets to chunk content so users can find what they need by scanning the page.*
- Provide complete phone numbers in the following format: XXX-XXX-XXXX. Do not list only the extension.*
Example: 240-567-7222 instead of x77222 or (240) 567-7222
- Provide e-mail links in one of two formats: firstname.lastname@example.org or name (where “name” represents the functional name of the e-mail address that is hyperlinked).*
Example: email@example.com or OIT Web Team instead of e-mail us
*Items marked with an * are guidelines.
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Montgomery College supports accessibility of College Web sites to all users, including people with disabilities using assistive technology. To promote accessibility, the College will use Federal Section 508 Standards for Electronic and Information Technology (36 CFR §1194.21-.22).
The 508 standards are listed below with links to a tutorial to assist developers in applying the Standards.
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- A text equivalent for every non-text element shall be provided (e.g., via "alt", "longdesc", or in element content).
- Equivalent alternatives for any multimedia presentation shall be synchronized with the presentation.
- Web pages shall be designed so that all information conveyed with color is also available without color, for example from context or markup.
- Documents shall be organized so they are readable without requiring an associated style sheet.
- Redundant text links shall be provided for each active region of a server-side image map. (Note: Montgomery College Web sites do not use server-side image maps.)
- Client-side image maps shall be provided instead of server-side image maps except where the regions cannot be defined with an available geometric shape.
- Row and column headers shall be identified for data tables.
- Markup shall be used to associate data cells and header cells for data tables that have two or more logical levels of row or column headers.
- Frames shall be titled with text that facilitates frame identification and navigation.
- Pages shall be designed to avoid causing the screen to flicker with a frequency greater than 2 Hz and lower than 55 Hz (2 to 55 flashes per second).
- A text-only page, with equivalent information or functionality, shall be provided to make a web site comply with the provisions of this part, when compliance cannot be accomplished in any other way. The content of the text-only page shall be updated whenever the primary page changes.
- When pages utilize scripting languages to display content, or to create interface elements, the information provided by the script shall be identified with functional text that can be read by assistive technology.
- When a web page requires that an applet, plug-in or other application be present on the client system to interpret page content, the page must provide a link to a plug-in or applet that complies with §1194.21(a) through (l).
- When electronic forms are designed to be completed on-line, the form shall allow people using assistive technology to access the information, field elements, and functionality required for completion and submission of the form, including all directions and cues.
- A method shall be provided that permits users to skip repetitive navigation links.
- When a timed response is required, the user shall be alerted and given sufficient time to indicate more time is required.
- Videos and sound recordings on Montgomery College web pages must be captioned. YouTube and MAGpie are among the many free tools designed to make it easy for you to add captions to your video and sound recordings. You can also use Montgomery College's own podcast server.