College Web Standards

Please note: The following is derived from Federal law; State law; University Policy; and/or College Policy.

Below is a list of guidelines that must be followed on all web pages associated with the College. Many of them are required by the University and Federal law (the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973). All of them are good practice when developing web pages. A complete list of all guidelines and standards outlined by Federal law is available at The use of these standards within CHASS is to ensure web pages are accessible, easy to navigate, content is easy to find, and that the pages are accessible across different browsers and platforms.

  • All pages must validate against the Section 508/ADA standard.
  • The pages must also contain valid HTML code.
  • NCSU Accessibility Information
  • NCSU IT Accessibility Information
  • All pages must have a meaningful title.
  • Pages must have a link to the NCSU home page using the NCSU logo (the "brick"), as well as internal links back to the appropriate departments/colleges and the Web site's own home page. These links should appear toward the top of the page, and should be viewable without any form of scrolling.
  • The pages should be fully viewable at 1024x768 resolution without any form of horizontal scrolling. Fixed width pages should not exceed 720px in order to satisfy this requirement.
  • Headings must be used appropriately (for each page or section) as well as all other HTML tags.
  • CSS positioning should be used whenever possible for page layout. Avoid using tables for layout. Tables are used when displaying tabular data. Frames are not to be used on any page.
  • If a background color or image is used, it should be defined using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). Link colors should also be defined using CSS. Neither background nor link colors should be defined in the HTML coding.
  • Ensure that foreground and background color combinations provide sufficient contrast when viewed by someone having color deficits.
  • Font size and style should remain consistent among all site pages. The font size should be defined using relative size. Do not use pixel or point based sizes. Font size and style should be defined using CSS. Do not use <font> tags. To keep a universal look, please use a web-safe font.
  • A "mailto" link should be included as part of the contact information of the site.
  • Provide meaningful and descriptive text for hyperlinks. Do not use "click here", instead use a longer description, such as "Follow this link to our News Page". A rule of thumb is that the link text should be meaningful even if seen outside of its context.
  • All images must have alt tags. Screen readers read these alt tags making the Web page more usable to a greater audience. Without alt tags, users with special needs may not be able to fully access your page. If image files are used for graphical bullets instead of standard HTML, it needs to be defined in CSS.
  • GIF, JPG, and PNG formats should be used appropriately. Use the format that will minimize download time, while still maintaining image quality. A basic guideline is to use GIF for logos, and JPG or PNG for photos.
  • The web page must be published to an appropriate URL. The use of the College’s web environment is strongly encouraged. Consult the CHASS IT Web Group to create the necessary space and access on the server.
  • The web page can not have any missing images.
  • The web page can not have any broken links.
  • All pages must contain a correct document type declaration (DOCTYPE). This assists the browser in rendering your page correctly. See a list of available doctypes.
  • Maintain standard page layout and navigation throughout the site. Do not use frames for this.
  • Avoid movement in pages, like animated gif's, blinking text or dynamic javascript.
  • Ensure that the web site is rendered correctly and fully functional in different web browsers and on different platforms (Mac/PC).
  • Downloadable content, such as PDF documents, must also adhere to W3C and U.S. Section 508 accessibility guidelines. Such content should be provided in platform independent formats. The use of multiple formats is strongly suggested. Platform independent formats include PDF, rtf, and plain text. Microsoft Office formats, such as Word documents or PowerPoint presentations are not platform independent, but can be provided alongside a PDF document or other platform independent formats.
  • If audio or video is used on the web page, a link to the appropriate browser plug-in must be provided. Also, use a format that is available across multiple platforms. The recommended format is MP4.
  • Minimize the file size and number of images you display on any one page.