Web Best Practices

These best practices are subject to change to meet new trends and the evolving needs of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences.

Bulletins

A bulletin is a WordPress plugin that allows web editors to post temporary, often time-sensitive information, such as funding opportunities, jobs, and internships.

Bulletins can be very beneficial to a website, because they allow content to be easily added or removed. However, because the vast majority of bulletins are deadline driven, they can quickly become out of date. Inaccurate content and information that is out of date frustrates users, makes your website seem less credible, and can gravely affect an application.

To avoid these problems, instead of duplicating content, link directly to the original source whenever possible. (Primary-sourced information often changes without notice.) Also, set up an internal workflow to check deadlines, removing and reposting opportunities as necessary.

Courses

Course listings are often one of the most popular pages on the website. To keep a consistent user experience in line with the varying needs of our departments, programs, and centers, we support the following methods of presenting courses:

  • SIS Listings: This WordPress plugin accesses SIS’ API. It only displays courses that are specifically listed in your department. Course information provided includes: course number, course name, description, credits, instructor(s), term, meetings, and status. Courses are searchable and filterable by term.
  • HTML: This method is for mostly interdisciplinary and smaller major/minor offerings. The content can be displayed in a flat list or within accordions. At a minimum we require course number, course name, instructor, and meeting times.

Faculty Bio Pages

To provide users easy access to faculty contact information, the Office of Marketing and Communications requires faculty bio pages to list the following: name, title, email address, phone number, and office location. Research interests should also be listed if applicable. Faculty members can have their own website, hosted by themselves, JHU IT, or our office, either in addition to or in lieu of a faculty bio page.

The faculty biobpages are built in such a way to uniformly service over 400 Krieger School faculty (and other) members; while providing consistency for both the administrators that edit the pages and the users visiting the site. We provide tabs that highlight a faculty member’s biography, research, teaching, publications, and published books; along with two custom tabs. Due to the shared theme environment, the order of the tabs cannot be modified.

Forms

To add a form to your website, submit a service request to have Formidable, a WordPress plugin, installed. Formidable will allow you to create, edit, and manage forms directly in WordPress. Avoid using Google to create forms, as form submissions may not be secure, Google requires its own login (no JHED authentication), and forms don’t contain any JHU branding.

Home Page

See best practices for the home page.

Images

See best practices for images.

Inline Styles

Please do not use inline styles in your html (e.g., <h1 style=”font-size:30px;color:#A0A0A0;”>). Inline styles violate our theme’s style guide, are harmful for web accessibility, and do not follow best practices. Non-header text should be bolded only in rare circumstances. Underlines should not be used. Please consult the style guide for appropriate content guidelines.

Link Farms

Once a way to boost SEO, a link farm is essentially a web page containing a list of links to external websites.

External links aren’t inherently bad, they can be useful! But when providing external links, pick the 2-3 most relevant and unique links, rather than 10-20 links. Fewer links are actually more beneficial to the user and easier for you to maintain. Links should always be limited and closely related to the purpose of the site. The key is to concentrate on producing relevant original content.

Link farms that are not actively maintained lead to link ROT: Redundant, Outdated, or Trivial. In other words, links become broken, irrelevant, or superfluous. To avoid link ROT, check for and fix any broken links, and remove links with low traffic.

Logos

Johns Hopkins University branding standards do not allow any unauthorized logos. You can download the approved KSAS logo on the branding website.

News Posts

See best practices for news posts.

PDFs

Due to potential accessibility issues, we discourage uploading PDFs unless they provide an index of information (e.g., student handbook, departmental newsletter, essay, etc.). Please use images or HTML text instead of PDFs whenever possible.

PDFs of scanned book pages or posters, and other PDFS that are not machine-readable, are accessibility violations because a screen reader cannot read the words on the page. PDFs that are not machine-readable will be taken down without notice.

Making a document machine-readable allows users to search the contents of the PDF and copy and paste from it. It also enables screen-reader users to access the content.

Tips to create accessible PDFs:

Create Accessible PDFs from Microsoft Word Documents or PowerPoint

  • Save as an Adobe PDF
  • Identify the document language
  • Use the Touchup Reading Order feature

Create Accessible PDFs from Scanned Documents

  • This requires Adobe Acrobat X Pro, which is available on most computers.
  • Open your non-editable PDF document in Acrobat Pro and click on the “Tools” option. In the sidebar, select Text Recognition and then select “In This File”. Click ok on modal popup.
  • Save file and replace it on your website

Style Guide

All Krieger School websites must follow Johns Hopkins University branding standards, the PDF Document: JHU Editorial Style Guide, and the Krieger School’s Web Writing Style Guide. The Marketing and Communications team will correct sites that do not comply with these standards and guides.

Uploads

You are able to upload .doc and .pdf files, but we suggest they are used sparingly. Instead, considering creating a page or content out of these .doc and .pdf files. If you need to upload many .doc or .pdf files, we strongly encourage you to upload them to your JHBox, or 3rd party cloud hosting, and link where appropriate. Due to limited server space, file sizes larger than 2 MB may be taken down without notice.

This page was last updated on April 6, 2017.