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Best Practices for Web Communications, Presentation, and Site Management

Information for web content creators and OmniUpdate web editors to assist them in their site's support of proper web communication standards.

Using Copyrighted Information

When displaying content on your website which is not your own, please follow copyright law. If you have questions, resources are available through the Dartmouth College Library and on the Dartmouth copyright website.

Downloadable Documents

.pdf, .doc, .xls, .ppt, Similar File Types (Not HTML Files)

  • Include a simple notation after the link to let the user know what type of file they are about to download (Excel, PowerPoint). For example: OmniUpdate Quick Tips (PDF) or OmniUpdate Quick Tips (pdf). Be consistent throughout your website (PDF or pdf).
  • All of the above file types should reside in the /docs/ folder at the top level of your website. If you need to have a /docs/ folder created for your website, please contact Web Services.

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Media Files

Audio, video (larger than 10 MBs)

Any www.dartmouth.edu account with more than one occurrence of a file larger than 10 MBs should have a companion account on media.dartmouth.edu to house those large files.

Two servers are available to Dartmouth website account holders for storing media files:

  • streaming.dartmouth.edu- Not downloadable, but streamed (plays instead of downloads to a local computer)
    • For .mov files only
  • media.dartmouth.edu- Downloadable
    • For .ppt, .wmv, .mp3 and similar files

For Copyrighted Files That Are Not Downloadable

Streaming.dartmouth.edu hosts audio and video files in the QuickTime format that are not downloadable, but stream directly from the server. To establish an account on this server, please contact Webmaster. To get the file(s) established and linked properly on the server or if you need assistance, please contact Web Services.

For Non-Copyrighted, Downloadable Files, Including Podcasts

Media.dartmouth.edu hosts audio, video, Microsoft PowerPoint presentations, and large files, in addition to any file that is larger than 10 MB. All are downloadable to the user's computer. Depending on the user's connection, downloads of larger files (greater than 2 MB) may take as long as eight minutes.

To establish an account on this server, please contact Webmaster.

Podcasts

Podcasts are handled via download, not by streaming.

You will need a way to generate the RSS feed, as well as offer users a way to subscribe. For assistance, please contact Web Services.

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Images for the Web

Sizing

  • Images: Less than 450 pixels wide.
  • File sizes: Less than 40KB for larger files; less than 12KB for small files.

For Graphics (Not Photos)

  • Save as a .gif.
    Examples: Line drawings, graphs; uses fewer colors (not photos).

For Photos

  • Save as a .jpg (not .jpeg).
    Examples include: Photos of faculty, buildings, students, landscapes, etc.

Image Editing Tools

Free Tools on the Web for Working with Image Files

Requires the latest version of Flash.

* These online tools are not supported by Dartmouth Computing Services, and therefore, we do not troubleshoot issues for these.

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File Naming and Directories

.jpg, .pdf, .html, .gif, .doc, Etc.

  • Only characters allowed in filenames or directory/folder names: Lower-case characters, hyphens, underscores, and numbers. If you attempt to use any other character, spaces, or extra decimals (for example, green.apple.jpg), you will not be allowed to create the page. You will receive an error message. 
  • Be consistent when naming files.
  • All HTML files must use the extension .html (not .htm).
  • When creating directories (folders), use the New Section/Folder template. You will be asked to name the Directory (Folder), enter the Breadcrumb Text (section path), and enter the section Index Page Title. The Breadcrumb text file (_section-path.html file) will automatically be published for you when it is created. It is the breadcrumb trail that appears at the top of the page that will be used for all sub-directories of that directory and is a very important part of the page creation process.
  • Additional inside (content) pages can be named using the standard specified above, i.e., flower.html, smith.html.

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Styling Page Content

Using Headings Instead of Bold Text

  • Use the predefined "headings" from the Format pull-down menu (Heading 2 - Heading 6). Do not apply additional formatting to these headings.
  • Do not use a colon at the end of a heading.
  • Do not use the "heading" options to style a paragraph.

Body Text

  • All text that does not appear in a heading, a bulleted or numbered list, or a table cell must be placed in paragraph tags to retain styling. The paragraph styling is available from the Format pull-down menu in the Page Editor as Paragraph.

Aligning Text

  • Do not center a paragraph; makes it difficult to read.
  • Do not use the "heading" options to style a paragraph.
  • The default is left-aligned text.

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Linking to Web Pages

When linking to internal or external web pages, it's recommended you create "text" links, not "URL" links. For example:

is more informative to the user than

Text links are self explanatory.

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Working with Tables

Note: The default style for all tables is set to have borders. To turn off borders, select the table in the Path: at the left-hand bottom of the Page Editor in OmniUpdate, then select No Borders from the Styles pull-down menu.

Table and Table Cell Widths

Tables should not contain fixed widths, either in the table <table> tag itself or in the table cell <td> tag. You can have a percentage of width set to the table cell <td> tag (for example, <td width="50%">).

Forcing a width is not necessary; a table without a width set will automatically accommodate and expand based on the content within. Forcing a width creates issues with the right-hand column overlapping in Internet Explorer, and possibly other browsers.

Using a Table for a Photo With Caption

The best way to properly display a photo with a caption is to put the photo and caption in a 1 column by 2 row table with a width equal to that of your image (say, 250 pixels if your image is 250 pixels wide). Setting the width in pixels for the table will help to retain the width when viewing the page in various browsers and when you have a caption.

Once the table is created, insert your image and caption in the table cells.

Removing Borders on Tables

Example: To display a photo with a caption without a border.

All tables default to having a border. So if you want to remove the border, on the left-hand bottom of the Page Editor window, you'll see Path:. Select the table you'd like to have the borders removed from, then click table next to Path:. From the Styles pull-down menu, select one of the No border options.

Aligning Tables Left or Right

After creating the table, select it. In the Path: location of the window, click table. From the Styles pull-down menu, select one of the Left or Right No Border options (including No borders as an option).

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Important Functions

Version Control System

The version control system automatically creates a new version of a page any time the page is published. It also creates a new version when you use the Backup function to make a backup of a page. The only difference between the two is that backing up a page does not publish the page to the Production server, but it still creates a version of the page for you in the version control system.

If you want a version of the page as it exists today, simply make a Backup of the file (before making any edits).

If a page is deleted from the Staging and Production servers, it will also be removed from the version control system.

Backup

Every time you publish a page, a unique version of a page is saved in OmniUpdate’s automatic version control system. You can also create a version or “backup” of a page at any time by clicking on the Backup button. For example, let’s say you edit and save a page several times, and you want to create a permanent version, or backup, of that page before making more edits. This function is used for that purpose.

Revert

Revert allows you to restore any previously published version of a page. Every time you publish a page, OmniUpdate creates a special copy of the page (version) that is stored in a way that allows you to “revert” back to a previous version should you need to. All versions are numbered, dated, and if a message was entered at the time the page was published, this message is also listed.

Click on the Revert button and select one of the revisions to revert back to. The selected version will become the current version of the page on the Staging server, which you can then edit or publish to make it the live version.

Note: If you revert to a file, you must publish it to make it live on the Production server; simply reverting the file does not publish it.

Spellchecking

To check spelling, click on the Toggle spellchecker button. Each misspelled word will appear with a red line under it. Click on the red underlined word and select one of the Suggestions if any are provided, click on Ignore word, or on Ignore all (this will ignore this word throughout this page).

Link Checking

To check links on a site outside of OmniUpdate, or for site wide link checking of your site, use the W3 validator.

Link Checking will scan a page for all URLs and test them to see if they are valid.

Once you have edited a page and saved it, a links button will appear above the displayed page. Click on this button; a “Link Check Results” box will appear. Click the Check Now button in the top-right corner of the box. OmniUpdate will check all links on the page and list the URLs that were found. The Legend at the bottom of the page explains the meaning of each icon.

You must click on the Check Now button to invoke the link check function. The link check function can work in the background while you do other things, like edit the page properties for the page, view the page, etc.

Format Pull-down Menu

The Format drop-down menu provides pre-defined formatting options in OU set by the system administrator for structured page markup.

Styles

The Styles drop-down menu provides a few additional formatting options in OU not found in the Format drop-down menu.

Note: Available in the “new” template only.

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Tools to Help Manage Your Site

If you have additions or comments, please contact Web Services.

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Last Updated: 10/9/13