General Web Guidelines
The Digital Strategy & Web Services Team requires that all Howard sites follow established industry standard best practices in site development, hosting, and post-launch maintenance.
In order for a Howard constituent website to be approved for use as a Howard subdomain, and therefore become an official part of the Howard web family, the following criteria must be met. Contact Digital Strategy & Web Services with questions/concerns.
Howard Sites Requirements
- Browser compatibility with our list of recommended browsers
- Baseline SEO (page titles, automatic page names, semantic HTML/CSS, meta-data, etc.) which will improve search engine placement
- Compliance with the most recent iteration of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 (WCAG) guidelines
- Optimization for fast download (images, code, etc.)
- Responsive design tuned for browsers running on 16:9 mega-screens, smaller desktops/laptops, and in the most popular tablet and mobile platforms—iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod) and Android
- Information architecture is well thought out, which facilitates as few clicks as possible to get to desired information
- Use of an SSL certificate to force https rendering of all pages for a site is highly recommended
- If a site uses any webforms or allows for user input to be passed through the site, then use of an SSL certificate to force https rendering of those particular pages is required
- Site speed: initial homepage load time should be < 5 seconds (as measured by webpagetest.org)
- Site caching for dynamic websites is highly recommended
- The developers and site owners of a new site must conduct thorough testing of the originally outlined site requirements to be sure that the site functions as expected, meets the standards listed on this page, as well as meets Howard's web style guidelines.
- Please request a site review to ensure that your site or site-to-be-launched meets the requirements. (Site review can take up to 7-10 business days to complete after a request is received)
- Meet Enterprise Technology Services' (ETS) site and hosting security guidelines.
- Contact Web Services at Howard to request a security audit.
- Must be hosted in a hosting environment or cloud hosting account that is owned by a Howard University entity, and not a personal one
- Enterprise Technology Services (ETS) Security Team has signed off on site launch
- For Howard stakeholders, we provide recommendations on how to correspond with 3rd party vendors hired to build a university website.
- Site built in Drupal or otherwise agreed-upon CMS and meets Drupal requirements as provided by the Web Services at Howard Team
- Unless permission is obtained directly from DSWS, the use of a public-facing webform to collect information from users is limited to information common to basic "contact" forms, which can include name, phone number, email address, and a the submitter's message. A form should never ask for sensitive information, unless explicitly approved by the Office of University Communications.