Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

Web Guidelines

Category Marketing and Communication
Type Guideline
Approved by the Vice-Chancellor, September 2001
Date Guideline Took Effect 5 September 2011
Last Approved Revision 2 September 2011
Sponsor Deputy Vice-Chancellor (External Engagement)
Responsible Officer Head, Web Services
Review Date 5 September 2016

Purpose

 

The Guidelines underpin the Web Policy and provide the practical, ‘how to’ information that staff require.

Organisational Scope

University-wide

Definitions

Web presence: The University’s web presence includes any online information or service purporting to represent all or part of the University of Otago including, but not limited to, websites, blogs, microblogs, social networks, virtual worlds, media sharing and portals.

Heads of Departments refers to Heads of Departments, Directors of Centres and Research Groups, and Directors of Service Divisions.

Web Contact Person: To assist with the ongoing support and monitoring of the many University web based resources, Heads of Departments should designate a single contact person who can direct queries on content and technical issues to the appropriate person for action.

Te Reo Māori refers to the Māori language.

Te Ao Māori means the Māori world or a Māori worldview.

Kaupapa Māori means any particular plan of action created by Māori, expressing Māori aspirations and expressing certain Māori values and principles.

Social media is the creation, dissemination and exchange of user-generated content in an electronic and online setting using (but not limited to) blogging, microblogging, media sharing, social networks and virtual worlds.

Policy Content

1 Scope

The University Web Guidelines are framed within the University of Otago Strategic Direction, the Web Strategic Plan, the Web Policy, and the Māori Strategic Framework and apply to the University of Otago’s web presence.

The Web Guidelines apply to a Unit, Group, Centre or Department that is a part of, or owned, managed and staffed by the University, or run by funding won under the auspices of the University, irrespective of whether the website is hosted on University servers or otherwise.

Joint venture collaborators are strongly encouraged to use these Web Guidelines as a reference from which to develop their own web guidelines.

The Web Guidelines support the implementation of the Web Policy by providing information on current best practice and identifying resources and support to assist those responsible for maintaining the quality and integrity of the University’s web presence. The Web Guidelines will be subject to regular, frequent review initiated by the Head of Web Services.

2 Governance

The Web Guidelines, sponsored by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (External Engagement), are developed by the Web Advisory Committee, which has representatives from:

  • School of Business/Division of Commerce
  • Division of Health Sciences
  • Division of Humanities
  • Division of Sciences
  • Academic Services
  • Information Technology Services
  • Marketing and Communications Division
  • University Library

Heads of Departments, through their designated Web Contact Person, manage compliance with the principles of the Web Policy to maintain the integrity of the University’s web presence. To facilitate the interpretation and application of these principles, Web Services provides services to assist Heads of Departments and their Web Contact Persons.

Policy    
   
Head of Department Advice and assistance
 
Web Contact   Web Services
 
Web Presence Monitor

3 Principles

The University of Otago’s purpose for its web presence is to provide a usable, informative, and up-to-date online presence that represents and promotes the teaching, research, values, and culture of the University of Otago to all our students, staff, colleagues and external users.

3.1 Content

Heads of Department are responsible for maintaining a high standard of communication through the University’s web presence, and managing the publishing, monitoring and maintenance of content and functionality, and the appropriate archiving of content.

3.1.1 Content will be up-to-date, accurate, and appropriately archived.

Content needs to be managed throughout its lifecycle, from creation through to archival. Content needs to be of high quality, updated whenever necessary, and formally reviewed at least annually to ensure that it remains accurate and current.

Snapshots of web sites should be taken at least twice yearly in such a way that the web sites can be reconstructed to establish the content and context of the website to an adequate level for record keeping purposes. In addition, a snapshot of websites should be taken immediately before implementing a major change to the look, feel, content or structure of the web site—a major change would be a new information architecture that resulted in the merging and replacement of numerous pages, a change in the scope of the web site or a new graphic design.

The following additional metadata should also be recorded for web site snapshots, where applicable:

  • date and time of capture
  • technical details about the website design
  • details about the software used to create the content
  • details of the applications (including search engines) that supplement the web resources
  • details about the client software needed for viewing the web resources
Support

Developers/Programmers, Designers and Content Administrators need to familiarise themselves with the University’s Records Management Policy, the Guide to Managing Web Records, and are required to complete the “Oracle CMS: University Website Editing” training course available through ITS Training.

3.1.2 Where practical, content will be sourced from primary authoritative sources.

Wherever practical content displayed on web pages should be dynamically sourced from a single authoritative data source. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Paper and Course information held by Academic Services
  • Publications information held by the Research Office
  • Staff contact information lists held by ITS/HR
  • Central identity and access information held by ITS Security
Support

Developers/Programmers need to familiarise themselves with the primary authoritative sources of data.

  • Application Programming Interfaces
  • Further information and advice may be sought from Information Technology Services, or from Web Services who are able to provide assistance with mark-up and code development.
3.1.3 Content will be conveyed clearly and unambiguously in a tone appropriate to the audience and consistent with the image and reputation of the University.

All prose content published to the University’s web presence must be checked for accuracy, spelling and grammar.

Support

People who are writing web content are strongly encouraged to complete the “Writing for the Web” online course at contented.com, available at a substantial discount through ITS Training.

  • Writing for the Web
  • Further information and advice may be sought from the Information Technology Services Training, or from Web Services who are able to provide advice on writing web content.
3.1.4 Content will be delivered in an appropriate format for its intended audience.

All Otago sites will aim to meet the accessibility standards set out by the “New Zealand Government Web Standards 2.0”. These standards include meeting the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 AA requirement, and additional New Zealand-specific requirements. Otago sites need not comply with those directives that are clearly intended only for government departments, such as the requirement to contain a link to the newzealand.govt.nz web site.

Support

Developers/Programmers, Designers and Content Administrators need to familiarise themselves with the “New Zealand Government Web Standards 2.0” and are strongly encouraged to check their web pages with the WAVE Web accessibility evaluation tool and with HiSoftware’s CynthiaSays Portal.

  • Web standards
  • WAVE
  • CynthiaSays
  • Further information and advice may be sought from Disability Information and Support, or from Web Services who are able to provide advice and assistance with mark-up, style sheet and code development.
3.1.5 Te Reo Māori, and aspects of Te Ao Māori Kaupapa will be an integral part of the web presence.

The Māori Strategic Framework (MSF), adopted in 2007, aims to present a more cohesive approach to Māori strategy across all campuses of the University and provide a greater sense of responsibility and accountability among both staff and students for the support and progression of ‘things Māori’ at the University of Otago.

As well as the MSF, other resources are available to support the use of Te Reo Māori and which introduce staff and students, both existing and prospective, to aspects of Te Ao Māori (see http://maori.otago.ac.nz/maori-at-otago).

Support

Developers/Programmers, Designers and Content Administrators need to familiarise themselves with the Māori Strategic Framework.

  • Māori Strategic Framework (PDF document)
  • Translations
  • Further information and advice may be sought from the Office of Māori Development, which is able to facilitate translations of departmental names on behalf of departments at no cost to the department, as well as to help with other aspects of tikanga Māori.
3.1.6 Content of a confidential or sensitive nature will be restricted to the appropriate audience.

The University has a number of solutions for managing access to information and sharing documents across the institution.

Support

Developers/Programmers, Designers and Content Administrators need to familiarise themselves with the access management tools that are currently available at the University.

  • Further information may be sought from Information Technology Services who can advise on the suitability of proposed solutions, or from Web Services who are able to provide assistance with central authentication on websites.
3.1.7 Content should be hosted on, and served up through the University’s network.

All University of Otago web sites should be hosted by the University, and be accessible via the otago.ac.nz domain.

Support

Developers/Programmers, Designers and Content Administrators need to familiarise themselves with New Zealand legislation pertinent to web Developers/Programmers, Designers and Content Administrators:

3.2 Technical

Current and practically applicable web standards and syntactically correct code make it possible to create web sites and online applications that are accessible, sustainable, flexible and robust.

University of Otago web sites are expected to use syntactically correct HTML (ver 4.01 or higher) or XHTML (ver 1.0 or higher) and use the Strict DTD. Presentation and layout should be specified using CSS (ver 2.1 or higher). CSS for layout is strongly preferred over tables, due to advantages in accessibility and bandwidth.

Use of the Transitional DTD is discouraged, as it does not promote sufficient separation of structural markup from presentation and style. The Frameset DTD (frames in general) should no longer be used due to problems caused with accessibility, bookmarking, printing, and search engine indexing.

Client-side scripting languages such as JavaScript may be used as a form of progressive enhancement, but all site information and navigation should be accessible with scripting turned off. The web site “A List Apart” contains articles describing appropriately unobtrusive client-side scripting (e.g. http://www.alistapart.com/articles/behavioralseparation).

Responsibility

Heads of Departments are responsible for ensuring web sites and online applications commit to web standards that are current and practically applicable and for using syntactically correct code, to enable web sites and online applications to be accessible, sustainable, flexible and robust.

Support

Web Developers/Programmers are expected to use the W3C’s HTML validation service to check the technical correctness of markup and the W3C’s CSS validation service to check the technical correctness of style sheets.

3.3 Security

Security of the University web presence is of paramount concern in that insecure web sites and online applications can cause considerable damage to the University.

Web site and online application security is a broad and complex set of issues. Web Developers’/Programmers’ operational awareness of security concerns should include, but not be limited to:

  • Maintenance of appropriate access control on files and directories
  • Maintenance of appropriate access control on files, directories and resources such as databases
  • The potential for cross-site scripting and cross-site request forgery
  • The potential for session fixation and hijacking
  • The potential for SQL injection
  • The need for appropriate encryption during secure transactions and data storage
  • The appropriate use of existing authentication frameworks
Responsibility

Heads of Departments are responsible for reporting any apparent risk to the University to the Manager, Information Security Office, and for ensuring web sites and online applications adopt best practice security.

The Manager, Information Security Office, is responsible for managing the process (in conjunction with the relevant Head of Department or senior University officer), or taking appropriate steps to restrict access to, or take down, web sites or online applications where those web sites or online applications pose considerable risk to the University.

Support

Web Developers/Programmers are expected to become familiar with the University’s Computer Regulations, any relevant University policies and the web application security issues outlined by industry specific initiatives such as the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP).

3.4 Accessibility

The University has a moral and legal obligation to make appropriate information and services available to all web users, including those with disabilities or impairments.

The University’s web presence will aim to meet the accessibility standards set out by the “New Zealand Government Web Standards 2.0”. These standards include meeting the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 AA requirement, and additional New Zealand-specific requirements. Otago sites need not comply with those directives that are clearly intended only for government departments, such as the requirement to contain a link to the newzealand.govt.nz web site.

Responsibility

Heads of Departments are responsible for committing to a high standard of accessibility, and meeting the goals set by the New Zealand Government Web Standards, in order to make appropriate information and services available to all web users, including those with disabilities or impairments.

Support

Developers/Programmers, Designers and Content Administrators need to familiarise themselves with the “New Zealand Government Web Standards 2.0” and are strongly encouraged to check their web pages with the WAVE Web accessibility evaluation tool and with HiSoftware’s CynthiaSays Portal.

  • Web standards
  • WAVE
  • CynthiaSays
  • Further information and advice may be sought from Disability Information and Support, or Web Services who are able to provide advice and assistance with mark-up, style sheet and code development.

3.5 Social Media

The creation, dissemination and exchange of user-generated content in an online setting, presents special challenges to the University’s web presence. Collaboration is the basis of social media and key to its success. It is important that the University is represented professionally and respectfully, and replies to complaints in a timely manner.

Sufficient time needs to be allocated to maintaining the social media presence daily, and when engaging with the audience through social media, it is crucial for the University to gain credibility by the person responsible for posting feedback in an official capacity self identifying as a member of staff.

Responsibility

Heads of Departments are responsible for managing the monitoring, moderating and maintenance of their social media to ensure the reputation and standards of the University are maintained.

Support

Developers/Programmers, Designers and Content Administrators need to familiarise themselves with the Social Media Guide, and the policy for managing news media enquiries.

3.6 Legal

Participants in the University’s web presence must comply with the laws of New Zealand, and all University of Otago web sites and online applications need to include links to the University’s privacy, disclaimer, and copyright notices.

Responsibility

Heads of Departments are responsible for reporting any apparent risk to the University to the Head of Web Services, and for ensuring that links to the University’s legal notices are included on each web page.

Support

Developers/Programmers, Designers and Content Administrators need to familiarise themselves with the University’s Disclaimer and Copyright Notice and the Website Privacy Policy.

3.7 Branding

The University of Otago is made up of many smaller entities, each with their own unique characteristics. It is however important that in communicating with our communities we project ourselves as members of a strong, efficient, professional and integrated organisation. Every interaction between the University and any organisation or member of the public has impact on how we are perceived.

Control over the visual expression of the University of Otago brand is vested in the Vice-Chancellor. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (External Engagement) manages the use of the Brand on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor.

The web presence will convey the visual and structural elements of the University of Otago's brand to draw from the University's long-standing reputation and further enhance its image. Use of the University of Otago brand is described in the Brand Policy and the Brand Guide.

Responsibility

Heads of Departments are responsible for adhering to the stylistic and structural brand guidelines to ensure the web presence conveys the University’s values and culture, and shall be clearly identifiable as part of the University.

Support

Developers/Programmers, Designers and Content Administrators need to familiarise themselves with the Brand Policy and the Brand Guide.

  • Brand Policy
  • Brand Guide
  • Further information and advice may be sought from Marketing Services, or from Web Services who are able to provide advice and assistance with mark-up and style sheet development.

4 Monitoring and Compliance

4.1 Heads of Departments are responsible for managing compliance with the principles of the Web Policy to maintain the integrity of the University’s web presence.

4.2 Web Services is responsible for providing services to assist Heads of Departments to comply with the Web Policy.

4.3 The Head of Web Services (in conjunction with the relevant Head of Department or senior University officer) is responsible for taking appropriate steps to remove content and/or functionality that may result in legal liability or damage to the reputation of the University.

4.4 The Manager, Information Security Office (in conjunction with the relevant Head of Department or senior University officer where appropriate) is responsible for managing the process of taking appropriate steps to restrict access to or take down web sites or online applications where those web sites or online applications pose considerable risk to the University.

Related Policies, Procedures and Forms