Best Practices Guide

Worried that visitors to your website aren’t finding what they’re looking for? Or that your site feels too busy – or maybe not busy enough? ITS and the Communications Office have assembled a short guide to help ensure you use best practices and avoid common pitfalls of website development.

Please send any questions to web-update@swarthmore

  1. Page Title

    All pages should have a title.

  2. Text
    • Headings 1 – 6 should be used consistently to organize and format headings on pages.
    • Body text should be tagged as “paragraph.”
  3. Images

    All department homepages should have one or more images that convey something meaningful about the department. Descriptive text MUST be included when images are added to a page (how-to documentation for adding image descriptive text). The top pages of your navigation should include a lead image as well. Be sure to follow the Recommended Image Size Guide when including images on your pages.

    Images of people should always include their name in the <alt> tag field. Please include brief descriptions in the <alt> tag fields of other types of images. More information on describing images

  4. Links

    Links to sites not on the swarthmore.edu domain should always open in a new window [when adding a link, select “new window” from the drop down target field to indicate this; in the “title” field, indicate “new window, [site name]”  More information on writing meaningful link text

  5. Avoid These Terms

    Several terms - "click here", "quick links" – are dated and we strongly advise against using them. Use words like “view” or “read” instead. If those don’t seem to work for you, ask us for alternative ideas.

  6. Navigation and Contact Us

    All departmental sites should include a Primary Navigation and Contact Us module on every page. These should only be located in the right column. The primary navigation should always appear at the top and Contact Us should always appear at the bottom right.

  7. News and Events

    All departmental homepages should include a news pane and an events/calendar pane. 

  8. Swarthmore College Style Guide

    Be sure to follow the Swarthmore College Style Guide when writing text for your site.

  9. Student Workers

    Always provide student workers with specific instructions for site updates and double-check their work. You are responsible for their work as it appears on the Swarthmore website.

  10. Questions