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Web standards

Policy 505

The University of Montana has adopted formal standards for development of official University Web sites. The standards fall into two categories: content, style, and graphics; and accessibility.

Departments are responsible for adhering to these standards on all official University Web sites.

The Information Technology Office is responsible for coordinating with other campus organizations to implement the standards and to outline a system by which the standards shall be adopted across campus.


Discussion & Procedures

The Information Technology Office recommended the official University Web standards in conjunction with a number of other campus entities, including University Relations, Printing and Graphics Services, Disability Services for Students, Empower Fusion, the ADA Team, the Web Committee, and the Marketing Committee.

Recognizing that achieving campus wide compliance with the standards will need to be a multi-year process, involving every official office of the University, a phased implementation plan is being developed. The forthcoming plan will define any terminology or concepts necessary for clarifying the standards. It will also establish a schedule for University sector managers to identify priorities and any exceptions for compliance to the standards within their divisions.


Content, Style, and Graphics Requirements

  1. Copyright Information

    Web developers must adhere to all federal and state copyright laws when developing official campus web sites.

  2. Page Titles

    All pages must include an HTML title (defined within the <title></title> tags).

  3. Official UM Logo

    An official UM logo must appear in the upper-left hand portion of every program home page. Use of the logo must be consistent with the guidelines identified in the Official Graphic Standards Manual (available online at http://www.umt.edu/urelations/standards/).

  4. UM Home Page Links

    A graphic link (in the form of an official UM logo) and text link to the UM home page must appear on the home page of a program web site. The graphic must appear in the upper-left hand corner.

    On every other page of a program Web site, a graphic link (in the form of an official UM logo) or a text link to the UM home page must appear somewhere on the page.

    When referring to the UM home page in a text link, developers must make clear that the link is to the UM home page and not to the program home page (i.e. use "UM Home" in lieu of "Home").

  5. Upper-Level UM Navigation

    A link to the University search engine and A-Z index must appear at the top of every program's home page. Links to these tools must appear somewhere on every page in a web site. The text for these links must make clear that they link to UM navigation tools and not program navigation tools. (i.e. use "Search UM" in lieu of "Search")

  6. Program Home Page Links

    Within a program's Web site, every page should have links to that site's home page.

  7. Contact Information

    The following contact information must be available from every program's home page:

    • Mailing address

    • Phone/Fax Numbers and TTY Numbers (if available)

    • Name and linked email address that is received by an individual who can respond to inquiries. (The address can be a generic department address or one for a specific person.)

Accessibility requirements

The following standards are based upon the guidelines outlined by the U.S. Government in Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (as amended by the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998). One additional standard (having to do with tagging content in different languages appropriately) has been added from the World Wide Web Consortium's Priority One checkpoints for Web Content Accessibility.

  1. Provide a text equivalent for every non-text element.(e.g., via "alt", "longdesc", or in element content).

  2. Synchronize equivalent alternatives for any multimedia presentation with the presentation.

  3. Design Web pages so that all information conveyed with color is also available without color, for example from context or markup.

  4. Organize documents so they are readable without requiring an associated style sheet.

  5. Provide redundant text links for each active region of a server-side image map.

  6. Provide client-side image maps instead of server-side image maps except where the regions cannot be defined with an available geometric shape.

  7. Identify row and column headers for data tables.

  8. Use markup to associate data cells and header cells for data tables that have two or more logical levels of row or column headers.

  9. Title frames with text that facilitates frame identification and navigation.

  10. Design pages to avoid causing the screen to flicker with a frequency greater than 2 Hz and lower than 55 Hz.

  11. Provide a text-only page, with equivalent information or functionality, 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.

  12. When pages utilize scripting languages to display content, or to create interface elements, identify the information provided by the script with functional text that can be read by assistive technology.

  13. When a web page requires that an applet, plug-in or other application be present on the client system to interpret page content, provide a link to a plug-in or applet that complies with Section 508 guidelines.

  14. 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.

  15. Provide a method that permits users to skip repetitive navigation links.

  16. When a timed response is required, alert the user and give sufficient time to indicate more time is required.

  17. Clearly identify changes in the natural language of a document's text and any text equivalents.

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