Guidelines for developing web sites

Please review these guidelines and outline your plan for the site (purpose of the site, target audience, proposed content). To address any questions about design requirements, please make an appointment with the Web Manager to discuss your plans. NOTE: The Public Information Office is currently developing a campus wide template that will be launched June 2012. ALL SITES will have to adopt this template branding.

Per college web standards (PDF), any web site created for a college department or employee (excluding faculty), should be reviewed by the Public Information Office before being published.

  • Webmasters are responsible for assuring the continuity, the navigation, and the design standards of the colleges are being adhered to by every web page which in any way represents the colleges on the internet.
  • PIOs or The Public Information Offices have the ultimate responsibility and authority regarding the appropriateness of all content on the web.
  • Departments whose programs and services are represented on the web, have the ultimate responsibility for the accuracy of information specific to that department.

At South, your point of contact is the Web Manager. If you want to maintain your own site to represent South Seattle Community College, you will need to follow these guidelines.

All college supplemental sites must:

  • Supplement information on a program or service in a manner that can't be done on the official South Seattle Community College web site.
  • The site must have a specific focus and maintain that focus. (If the site is 1/2 about your program, and 1/2 pictures of your new kitten and your hobbies then it cannot be linked as a supplement to a program page.)
  • Have realistic maintenance requirements. Providing accurate, up-to-date information is a high priority. Sites that are not maintained will lose their links to the college web site and eventually be removed from the servers.
  • Meet with the Design Guidelines below.
  • Meet with all State Ethics and District Server Policies at ALL times.

Design guidelines

Required components

Any web site created for the college must adhere to the design standards that represent the branding of the college. To address any questions about design requirements, please make an appointment with the Web Manager to discuss your plans.

The SSCC logo bar linked to the main page of the SSCC site must appear on the top of every page. This page you are viewing now is actually a template itself and could be used to create your web pages although we are now moving to a newer version. Code for this component is available in this template for instance. All CSS, and XHTML in this page can be used and content/copy and navigation can be altered to represent your pages. You may not alter the colors or any of the template images themselves.

Each page should have a footer that includes Faculty & Staff Directory | Operating Hours | Site Search | Disclaimer | Privacy Notice | Equal Opportunity Statement of Accommodation
Emergency Closure Report | Contact Us, and the following disclaimer that has been appropriately completed:

  • This web site was developed for and is being maintained by the xxxx department. If you have questions or concerns about the content, please contact XXXXX at (phone) or (email).
  • To contact the South Seattle Community College Web Manager please email:
  • The South logo must appear as a favicon showing in every page on your site.
    Example of favicon logo: Favicon example photo

Content Material

  • Do NOT use any content material that is available on the official SSCC web site, in the printed quarterly schedule, in a brochure created by the college or in the catalog printed by the District every other year.
  • If you wish to include any material found on the SSCC web site or the District web site (calendar, maps and directions, specific course information etc.), create a link to the appropriate pages, DO NOT copy and paste the material into your site. If you have any questions about content material, contact the Web Manager.
  • Links that go outside of your site should not open in a blank or pop up window. This breaks the back button which is a Level 2 Priority in W3C standards.
  • Be prepared to discuss management of details (e.g. office hours which can change frequently) with the college Web Manager. They will either be maintained by the department on their site, and linked to from the official SSCC site or vice versa. Duplicate sources of the same information assure inconsistencies resulting in confusion. This is to be avoided as much as possible.

Screen Size

You may require a printing stylesheet if your site is larger than 800 X 600. If your site will be larger than 800 X 600, web sites must be no wider than 960 pixels without horizontal scrolling and a style sheet for page printing. A site can be designed for optimal viewing, but must still work for viewing and printing purposes.

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  • Must be usable with styles without the use of data tables and must follow college standards. To be 100% compliant you may use the navigation from this page or one that is approved by the web manager and inquire to change the terms and links.
  • If you use images for navigation in your pages, be sure the "alt" ("alternate text") tag clearly defines the button name and what it links to. This is a W3C guideline as a Priority 1. The "alt" text is also useful if an image does not appear.
  • Accessing navigation links should not require scrolling. Your interface navigation must be at the top and/or the left side of your page.
  • Use of "mouseovers" is an accepted component of navigation, but animated gifs cannot be used.

Use of Photos

Stock photos are strongly discouraged because of their cost and noticeable misrepresentation of the college campus and atmosphere.

If you use photos of identifiable people on your web site, you must use a Model Release (PDF). Once the form is completed, please give it to someone in the Public Information Office where the form will be retained. (Robert Smith Building, room 154, see map).

Accessibility for Users with Disabilities

  • Sites should be created without frames and use tables only to display table data, not for layout.
  • Use descriptive "Alt" ("alternate text") tags on all images, sounds, and video. The text is necessary if an image does not appear and is used with screen readers utilized by the blind. When an image is used for a link, the "alt" should describe the link. For example: "Link to South Seattle Community College home page."
  • The actual linked words should describe where the link will take users.
        Wrong: To learn more about financial aid, click here.
        Right: Learn more about financial aid.
  • 1 out of 12 visitors to our site are colorblind. Colorblind users must be considered when addressing content in which colors will be used with a background. Visit this article to learn more about colorblind users.
  • To determine whether your site is accessible, visit the site and submit your site web address for analysis. A report will alert you to any areas needing attention.

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Use of Plug-ins

If site requires plug-ins (like Flash) to view site content, an alternative must be provided for those who do not have the plug-in. Whenever possible, site visitors should be given the choice for viewing or not viewing the file. Sound or video should not automatically load for site visitors. Alternate text must be provided as stated in the W3C guidelines as a Priority 1.

Use of PDF Files

If you decide to use PDF files, please link to "PDF Help" page on the South site. Alternate text should be provided when inaccessible technologies (proprietary or not) must be used, equivalent accessible pages should be provided.

Use of Pop Up Windows

Are not not allowed. Please see the the Educause or web site for more information on standards and accessibility. Open all pages in the same window and don't break the back button.

Contact Information

Contact information must be included in the footer on every page of the web site. I suggest creating a "contact us" page with appropriate information ( for example: names, address, office location, office hours, phone, fax, emails etc.) At the bottom of each page include a "contact us" link to this page. This system allows ease of maintenance.

I encourage you to use the tool at this web site to encode email prior to including on web pages (Encoding is the process of turning letters and numbers into ASCII code. Ultimately, encoding email helps prevent additional SPAM. You can see an example of an encoded email address in the footer code of the template.)

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You are strongly urged to limit required updates. The site owner will be responsible for site maintenance. Site owners are encouraged to use an HTML Template supplied by the PIO and attend a workshop offered through the SSCC Teaching and Learning Center. If you do not have the skills to use this template and the required software, you shouldn't be trying. Please leave it to the people who are already assigned to this task in the assigned departments until you learn your way around these skills and standards.

Responsible Parties

Identify who is responsible for the content of the site and who will maintain the site (if different). The Web Manager must have on file the name, email address and phone number of these individuals.

Link Procedures

For a link from the official South Seattle Community College web site, you must have a site that represents an official program or service at South that cannot done on the official South Seattle Community College web site. A campus employee must contact the web manager regarding the web site.

  • Have the site available in the permanent account it will be maintained in, and give the full web address.
  • Go over your site to make sure it meets with the design guidelines. If you have any questions about design elements of your web site, then include them in your e-mail to the Web Manager. If you have hired someone to work on your site, make sure they are still available to make final changes to the site.
  • Be prepared to go over the sections of the site that will need regular maintenance, and detail your plan for maintaining the web site.
  • Links will be made at the discretion of the Web Manager. If you would like to request a link from a particular page or pages, you may do so, but be aware that more links may add more requirements. Please ask as far in advance as possible so those requirements can be included in the site design.

If you have a deadline for the site's debut, make sure that you give the Web Manager at least 2 weeks to review the site and request changes. Deadlines will not exempt anyone from having to meet the design and maintenance requirements. If you have an important deadline that cannot be missed (the site is for a one-day event, and the site must be available prior to the event) make sure that you work with the Web Manager during the site construction process so the review can be ongoing and help avoid delays in the final link.

Server Space

Any web site created for a college department can have free server space. Following are your options:

  • To make a request through the PIO via the Web Manager and your server space will be requested and created on your behalf.
Web sites of the Seattle Community College District:
District | Georgetown Campus | Central | North | SccTV | South | SVI

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