The Florida Tech Website is user-first. It exists to deliver content that users need to complete an action or be informed.
The Website serves various audiences, each with its own desires and expectations. All content should be created with both a primary audience and secondary audiences in mind. Typical audiences include but may not be limited to:
- Community Members/Partners
- Current Students
- Friends of the University
- HS Teachers
- HS Guidance Counselors
- Parents of Current Students
- Parents of Prospective Students
- Prospective Students
A webpage about admissions would be targeted toward the prospective student audience first, and parents and guidance counselors second, for example. A page about student services, on the other hand, would likely be targeted to current students first, and interested prospective students second. If you’re unsure, consult with University Marketing to determine your primary and secondary audiences and how best to serve them.
Length / Word Count
With some exceptions (such as Contact Us or Forms and Documents pages), consider every web page a space to house an “article” or “entry,” the purpose of which is to inform, educate or engage your user and be readily findable via search engines. As such, every page’s web content should strike a balance between containing enough information and detail to be useful and being overly lengthy and having extraneous information. As a rule, most web pages should have a demonstrable intrinsic value (vital information on how to apply, for example) or quantifiable marketing value (as indicated by web-based analytics and determined by University Marketing). A typical, substantive webpage should have between 500 and 1000 words. While there is no strict minimum word count, web pages with fewer than 300 words will be subject to evaluation and changes by University Marketing. University Marketing will address such pages on a case-by-case basis with the appropriate Web Editor or department supervisor. When required and in accordance with the best practices, University Marketing may edit, combine or otherwise alter the content of departmental web pages. Live pages that are empty or unfinished may be hidden or deleted.
When it comes to writing for the web, the most important style and usage requirement is consistency. You must adhere to the style you choose. AP Style is preferred, except in cases where it does not serve the best interests of the audience. At a minimum, web content must be clear, concise and correct, free of spelling and grammatical errors. Web Editors of websites that do not comply with content style guidelines or which contain errors may be asked to take corrective action. Websites failing to comply following such a request may be unlinked and/or removed.
Writing for the Web
Web content should adhere to University Marketing’s best practices regarding writing for the web, which are as follows:
- Use plain, conversational language. This increases user understanding.
- Be brief, specific and clear.
- Use an active voice.
- Keep paragraphs limited to a single idea or point.
- Avoid jargon, acronyms and abbreviations whenever possible.
- Use headers, subheads, bulleted lists and captions to make scanning easier.
- Provide text links to related information and additional detail.
- Create web content that is evergreen. For example, write “Since 1990…” instead of “For 27 years…”
- Do not use “Click here” for link text. Instead, use an active verb that describes the action the user is taking such as “Download,” “Visit” or “View,” and specify the subject. For example, do not write, “Click here to download the guide.” Instead, write, “Download the Student Handbook.”
- It is not necessary to welcome people to your site or explain to them how to navigate it. Only provide information that is critical to the user.
Information Accuracy & Timeliness
Audiences will consider the Florida Tech Website to be the “document of record” when it comes to university information, assuming that its content is accurate and up-to-date. Out-of-date names, dates and other facts are detrimental to users’ interaction with the Website, and thus the reputation of the university as a whole. If the content of your webpage is subject to change, incorporate disclaimer language that (1) indicates the possibility of change and (2) says when the page was last updated.
Official Academic/Catalog & Policy Content
Web Editors are prohibited from copying and pasting, whether in whole or in part, any content from the University Catalog or University Policy systems. To reference any such official information, Web Editors should link to the appropriate entry using a text link or script that “pulls” the information from one of the aforementioned systems into a webpage directly. Contact Web Services for assistance with this.
The Florida Tech Website has a look and feel that represents the university. It conforms to university graphic identity standards and branding guidelines. Design is overseen and maintained by the Office of Marketing & Communications.
The Website uses templates that contain the university signature and are branded for the university. Web Editors should not need to use the university logo separately or in addition to the branding that is already in place and are prohibited from doing so without written permission from University Marketing.
Colors & Typography
These design elements are determined by University Marketing and standardized through templates and style sheets embedded in the TerminalFour content management system.
For search engine optimization, web page URLs should not contain acronyms or abbreviations. They must use whole words and phrases whenever possible.
A URL redirect is a technique for making a web page available under more than one URL address. University Marketing uses redirect URLs to maintain continuity during website changes. In the past, redirect URLs have also been created for use in print materials. As of July 1, 2017, all redirect URLs that are in place are being evaluated to determine if they are essential.
FloridaTech.edu/ "Short" URLs
As of July 1, 2017, departments that request an abbreviated and/or print-appropriate URL will be given a URL that conforms to the following syntax: floridatech.edu/[_____].