Web Style Guide

Geneseo's web style guide is designed to help ensure consistency in the College's online brand and identity. If you have questions about website strategy, social media strategy or geneseo.edu's style, please email web@geneseo.edu.

Want to improve your Geneseo website? Start with the How to Improve Your Website guide.

Looking for some help working in Drupal, Geneseo's content management system? Visit the Drupal training site for self-paced learning, or request in-person Drupal training from a CIT web assistant.

Department Homepages

Banner Images

If you would like to change the banner image on your department or group homepage, select a new photo from SmugMug and contact CIT with your request to update the photo. Please note that the dimensions of the homepage banner is 1920x500 pixels - so make sure the photo you select will still look good when cropped narrowly.

It is also possible for sites to opt for a simpler landing page without a banner image. For sites that utilitarian in nature (providing quick access to frequently-sought information), a bannerless landing page may actually be preferable. If you would like to remove the banner from your site landing page, please contact CIT.

Titles and Intro Paragraph

Departments should have a title (your department's name) and a short paragraph telling visitors what your department or office does. Use "normal" style for your welcome text.

Left Navigation Bar

The easiest way of sorting content in your navigation bar is to do so alphabetically. In some cases, however, it makes sense to organize the listing differently - there may be content to which users require easy and obvious access.

Top & Bottom Links

The top link in your left navigation bar should always read "Home" and link to your homepage. This will allow users to easily navigate back to your homepage no matter where they are on your site. The bottom link in your left navigation bar should read "Contact Us," "[Department] Faculty," "[Department] Faculty & Staff," or something along those lines.

Text Styles

  • To change text, highlight the text and then select a format from the format drop-down menu.
  • Use the normal font style for the vast majority of the text on your pages, separated by headings when necessary.
  • Both headings and paragraph text should be aligned left (not centered or aligned to the right).
  • All text should be title case or sentence case, never all caps. Many headings have transferred over from the old website as all caps. Please update any instances of this, as screen readers will read all caps text as an acronym, making it very difficult for users with disabilities to understand.
  • Only use heading styling for section headings on a page. Please don't use them for decorative accent or emphasis; text that is labeled as a heading but is not will confuse screen readers and other assistive devices.
  • Please don't skip heading levels; go from 2 to 3 to 4, and so on. If you skip heading levels, assistive devices will not be able to properly parse the order of information on the page, presenting a problem for users with disabilities.

Below are examples of what each text style looks like when selected in Drupal.

Heading 1

Use heading 1 for the title line of every page, which should be the first line on every page. This is very important for accessibility and search engine optimization. Please do not use the heading 1 style anywhere else on a page.

Heading 2

Use heading two to style the descriptive title above top-level sections of information on a page.

Heading 3

Use heading three for sections of information within heading two sections.

Heading 4

Use heading four for sections of information within heading three sections.

Heading 5

Use heading five for sections of information within heading four sections.

Heading 6

Use heading six for sections of information within heading five sections.

Writing for the Web

People don't read the web in the same way they read print. On a website, users want to get the information they need quickly. If they can't find it quickly or easily, they'll leave a site frustrated.

Make your web copy user-friendly

Compared to print, the web is an informal and friendly medium. Use an informal, conversational style of writing. Use contractions. Keep your information accurate and up-to-date. To maintain credibility, be objective and avoid exaggerated claims and superlatives.

  • Be concise; avoid large blocks of text
  • Write in the active voice
  • Write meaningful subheadings so information is easy to find
  • Use bulleted lists
  • Include captions for photos
  • Use left justification for your text
  • Use the default setting for fonts
  • Review the college's editorial style guide