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These policies are designed to maintain consistency and promote best practices in web development and content creation. By adhering to these standards and recommendations, we aim to create a user-friendly, inclusive and reliable digital platform that effectively communicates the University's mission, values, and services. Whether you are a web content creator, or simply interested in understanding how our website operates, this resource will serve as a comprehensive guide to fostering excellence in our online presence. See also, Web Branding and Style Guide for information on training, content management, writing, official information, photos, videos, analytics and tools. 

Governance

The website, USI.edu, is the property of the University of Southern Indiana. 

University Web and Digital Content has access to all areas of the public USI website for quality control purposes and will intervene, when necessary, to ensure the website is up to date and meets accessibility requirements. 

Editing permissions are granted to designated "content editors" responsible for specific areas of the website. Content editors are responsible for maintaining the accuracy, quality, and compliance of their respective site's content. 

Requests for access or designating a content editor can be made using the provided form

Web editing permissions may be rescinded if responsibilities are neglected, standards are not adhered to, inappropriate content is published, or violation of University policy. Permissions are regularly assessed, and editing access may be withdrawn for prolonged inactivity.


Accessibility

University Web and Digital Content is dedicated to web accessibility standards and complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. The team ensures equal access and inclusivity by following the current WCAG conformance guidelines. The university conducts audits, provides training, and implements accessibility features to remove barriers and enhance the user experience. 

If you are looking for faculty/student accessibility resources for course content, please contact the Disability Resources office.


Employee Directory

University Marketing and Communications department manages the online employee directory that relies on official Banner data entered by Human Resources. This directory presents employee information, including names, photos, job titles, and contact details, in a standardized and pre-formatted layout on webpages. Any updates or modifications to personnel, job titles, or contact information are automatically reflected throughout the system, ensuring consistency wherever the directory is utilized.

Faculty and staff who have a compelling privacy or security concern that warrants exclusion from the directory, or wishes to exclude their photo may submit a request for consideration or contact Penny White at 812-464-1774.

Faculty Listings on College Webpages
It is important faculty/staff listings are easy to use for our audience. By direction of the Provost Office, the recommended listing format for Faculty pages is an A-Z list of the department. It is discouraged to list/group faculty by rank, since our primary audience may not know the official title of a particular faculty member. Often times, students refer to all faculty as "professor". The department listing format has a built-in search function for name or title, adding an additional help aid for site visitors.


External Websites for Official University Use

External websites or blogs (sites hosted outside of the usi.edu domain) to be used for official University business, including those created for marketing purposes, will not be permitted. Please direct all inquiries to University Web and Digital Content.


Faculty Websites

Faculty websites can be requested and are edited using the Umbraco CMS. The faculty member's homepage automatically incorporates directory information and photo. The CMS is built for ease of use, with data entry prompts to complete basic content information for the homepage. It is essential that all published content on faculty websites adheres to a professional standard. Faculty members are responsible for creating and regularly maintaining their individual webpages. More information about Faculty websites, including requests and training.


Language Translation

After carefully evaluating the current technology available, University Web and Digital Content has made the decision not to offer on-page language translations for our content. We recognize modern browsers incorporate reliable and regularly updated translation services. By relying on these built-in features, we can ensure language accessibility for a wider audience, encompassing a broader library of languages instead of being limited to just one or a few.


Opt for Web Pages Over PDFs: Convert PDF Content into Website Format

PDFs are great at preserving content and layouts intended for print, but they are optimized for paper sizes, not browser windows or modern device viewports. Consequently, they aren't ideal for sharing content on websites. Unlike responsive websites that adapt content to fit various devices and browsers, PDFs can make the content challenging to read, especially on mobile devices.

PDFs negatively impact user experience.

  • PDFs are often not prepared with ADA accessibility in mind, hindering their compatibility with assistive devices or software.
  • They create a disruptive user experience, opening abruptly without warning, causing a jarring transition.
  • Lack of navigation or a clickable table of contents in PDFs makes it challenging for users to locate specific information.
  • PDFs lack structured data, making it difficult for search engines to index and categorize their content effectively.
  • PDF file sizes are usually bulky and load slowly.
  • Unlike web pages, users can't easily scan and scroll within PDFs, hampering their ability to quickly find relevant content.
  • Outdated PDFs, even if replaced, can linger on web servers and in search engine results, potentially offering conflicting and obsolete information to users.

Public Content vs. Private/Secure Content

When determining how to present your content online, it is crucial to carefully consider its suitability for public access versus the need for a restricted login. Ask yourself whether it is appropriate to share this information with anyone on the internet, including those with malicious intent. Confidential or sensitive data, such as personal information, account details, financial records, or proprietary materials, should, at the very least, be protected behind a secure login. Ideally, such information should be shared offline through platforms like OneDrive or shared drives on the university network to enhance security.

By evaluating the appropriateness of public access versus restricted access, you can ensure that your content is disseminated appropriately while prioritizing privacy, security, and maintaining exclusivity for the intended audience.


Third-party Web Applications and Software 

Due to compatibility concerns among servers, software, programming languages and accessibility compliance, any web application or software to be used with University web sites, should be approved by the director of University Web and Digital Content.  

Online forms are created through Qualtrics and administered by the Institutional Analytics Office.  

Online financial transactions are created through TouchNet and administered by the Business Office