Friday, April 10, 2015

What is our "Go Live" Process?

To maintain a professional presence that is also consistent with our brand and messaging for all our electronic content, Marketing and Communications uses various branding guidelines to check materials. You can see our main list on the University Branding Guide page. Web Services uses a lot of these guidelines due to the variety of media we connect to or embed on our websites, including Graphic Identity Standards, including logos, Social Media Standards, Web Communications Guide, Web Technical Guide, and Video Guidelines from The Texas A&M University System.

In general, we review the following before launching a website (and periodically afterwards to maintain standards):

Web Page Semantics

  • Appropriate usage of tables
    • defined table headings
    • tables only used to display tabular data
    • tables to provide content lists are not sufficient enough to display
  • Appropriate usage of headings versus paragraphs
    •  avoid the usage of bold or italics for entire paragraphs
  • Appropriate usage of lists versus paragraphs
    • avoid the usage of symbols or characters to look like list item bullets
  • Appropriate hierarchical usage of headings
    • avoid skipping heading levels for aesthetic purposes
  • Appropriate usage of images
    • avoid usage in place of text and fonts that are part of the official template
    • avoid usage of posters/flyers
    • avoid usage of Tarleton logo graphics as they duplicate the one on the official templates
  • Appropriate usage of links
    • avoid usage of an URL address as text for the link
    • avoid usage of text for the link that does not clearly identify the purpose or call-to-action of the link if seen outside of the context of the content surrounding the link 
[Guidelines mainly found in Web Technical Guide]

Web Page Styles

  • Color 
    • avoid low color contrast issues
    • avoid red against black
  • Text
    • avoid busy/over-styling issues
    • avoid extra spaces used for aesthetics*
    • keep all text left aligned (no justified allowed)
*As we convert our current pages to responsive pages that are visible to all manner of devices and sizes, content will not look exactly the same on each device.

[Guidelines mainly found in Web Technical Guide]


  • Image
    • quality
      • content should be professionally captured and decent to high quality (no pixelation, stretching, or squeezing to fit)
    • copyright
      • check that we have the right to use any portion or all of the image
    • alternative text
      • must have appropriate alternative text that describes the image for an individual that cannot see or load the original image
      • no use of “image of”, “symbol of”, etc.
      • if a logo, no need to describe the contents except what the logo represents and any relevant text (i.e., “Tarleton State University – Member of The Texas A&M University System”)
    • color
      • avoid low color contrast issues, including usage of the Tarleton purple directly against black
      • avoid red against black
    • text
      • avoid heavy usage of text (exceeding 140 characters)
  • Audio
    • quality
      •  content should be professionally captured or easy to understand
    • copyright
      • check that we have the right to use any portion or all of the audio content
    • transcript
      • provide a transcript of all sounds and dialogue pertinent to the context of the message
  • Video
    • quality
    • copyright
      • check that we have the right to use any portion or all of the video and audio content
    • closed captions
      • provide a transcript that is or can be synched with the video of sounds and dialogue pertinent to the context of the message
  • Applets, Plug-ins, Widgets, Scripts
    • review for the same issues as above
    • review for functionality with our template
    • review for security issues
    [Guidelines mainly found in Web Technical Guide]


    •  Forms
      • Check for HIPAA (i.e., medical information) and FERPA (i.e., name and DOB together, SSN, DL) exceptions
        • PDF documents should not be emailable if they contain secure content
        • Wufoo forms should not contain HIPAA or FERPA exceptions
    • Files/Folders
      • Make sure Web Services is aware of any permissions that should be placed on a folder, and all content that needs to be secure is in that folder
    [Concerns about scripts, database access, and other web content is available in our Terms of Service]

    Web Template Standards*

    • Currency/Accuracy
      • Check that relevant content is on all pages, not placeholder images or text
      • Check that content is as current as we can provide upon launch and remove any old content that can confuse our audiences
      • Check that content is accurate for our audiences' usage
    • Footer
      • Check the footer for appropriate information per the technical guide
    • Left hand navigation**
      • Check that academic colleges and departments have their specific consistent set of links
      • No more than 3 large buttons
      • Home link is at the bottom with Contact Us link right above it
      • Official social media button graphics used below the main left hand navigation with social media sites approved per Social Media Standards
    • Site architecture
      • Page and file names 
        • have no spaces or other special characters (only use hyphens to separate words for SEO, or Search Engine Optimization)
        • do not contain dates, “revised” nomenclature, or numbers at the end denoting a page was duplicated
        • have appropriate file extensions (for files, specifically)
      • Folder names have no spaces (only use hyphens)
      • File locations
        • Forms are all located in a “forms” folder
        • Documents are all located in a “documents” folder
        • Images are all located in an “images” folder
        • "Side Images" are named numerically, in consecutive order, as JPGs in the “sideimages” folder
    • Links
      • Check for broken links or links that need to be redirected when the website is launched
    *As we convert our current pages to responsive pages, these standards will change for the new templates. All websites created in the old template will follow the current technical guide.

    **Navigation on the page will be moved to the right for all responsive pages using the "Right Navigation" template (the homepage and degree pages are using the "Stacked" template), and some of these standards will change from our current technical guide when we finish the responsive page technical guide.

    [Guidelines mainly found in Web Technical Guide]

    After the Review

    The review of the website is pretty intensive, so we try to assist as much as we can in resolving issues and ask questions where content may be missing or confusing. It is important to us that website maintainers keep an open and steady dialogue with us, so we can consult where questions may occur on both sides and speed up the launch of the website. Delays push well intended publish dates behind deadlines, so we want to hear from you!

    Once all is reviewed, we
    • publish your website
    • set up security (when necessary)
    • set up indexing for our site directories
    • set up a virtual directory (when necessary)
    • redirect links on other websites
    • set up any requested SEO changes to reduce the amount of time the new site is low on the search result rankings
    • archive your old website (when necessary)