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Web Communication

All University of Virginia Web pages must adhere to the guidelines set forth in the U.Va. Copyright/Disclaimer Statement, the U.Va. Privacy Notice, and the U.Va. Advertising Policy.

Each site's Home Page should display information about the office or unit, including contact information, phone numbers, etc.

Navigation should be vertical, located on the left side, or horizontal, located on the top under the banner of the Home page and interior pages. Use of JavaScript "flyout" navigation menus should be avoided due to accessibility concerns.

Navigation on secondary pages should indicate the current page by designating that page's button/link as "off" or "active." See our samples page for a suggested implementation.

The last link in the navigation should be a "Home" button that is not visible on the home page. The second to last link should be "Contact/Location." If there is an "About" page, it should be one of the first links in the navigation.

Writing for the Web

Users read differently on the Web then they do print pieces. To improve your sites readability and usability follow these guidelines:

  • Summarize first. Put the main points of your document in the first paragraph, so that readers scanning your pages will not miss your point.
  • Be concise. Use lists rather than paragraphs, but only when your prose lends itself to such treatment. Readers can pick out information more easily from a list than from within a paragraph.
  • Write for scanning. Most Web readers scan pages for relevant materials rather than reading through a document word by word. Guide the reader by highlighting the salient points in your document using headings, lists, and typographical emphasis.
  • Link smartly. Do not a put link around an entire sentence or a general phrase like "click here" or "read more," instead put the link around what it is specifically going to, for example the title of the page or document. This helps the Web reader scan for where they want to go next.