This documents is definitive!
These regulations do not apply to vanity publishing (personal sites or project sites hosted on our users.bathspa.ac.uk web-server) or sites for outside organisations, which may be hosted on our servers.
Web Page Creation
All publicly facing web-pages with a bathspa.ac.uk domain name must be built around templates created by Planning Support. Templates may be designed in consultation with an outside design agency, but they must be coded in house to ensure that the pages meet these regulations. Any School or Service wishing to use an outside design agency should contact the Web Manager prior to signing a contract (This enables us to work with the agency from the outset and explain these regulations, our hosting restrictions and our processes to them). Where an outside agency is used, the layout of pages hosted on the main server must fit into the corporate style, but colour scheme, additional design devices and image content is left to the designer. The content of pages, once the templates have been produced, is entirely up to the School or Service, so long as they adhere to these regulations. Pages for a new website must be approved before going live, and any discrepancies with these regulations will be reviewed on issue by issue, case by case basis.
The content of web-pages may not be duplicated at any time. This prevents conflicting information being hosted in two or more locations across our servers. In particular, all staff profiles (including named staff contact details) should only be stored within the profiles area of the main website. School and Service websites may not contain any staff profiles, and instead should link to the profile entries on the main website.
Where any other information may replicate material on the main website, authors should liaise with the webmaster to come to a consensus regarding the location of said information.
Domain Names and Servers
No new bathspa.ac.uk website domain names will be created without the approval of Computing Services, Planning Support or Marketing and Communications. Domain names containing bathspa.ac.uk are only available to Schools, and not to Services, departments or groups. Existing website domains will be reviewed on a year by year basis by the VC's group, and some sub-sites may be merged with the main institution website.
All websites in the public domain must be hosted on servers maintained by Computing Services and Planning Support. All websites will be hosted on servers running Microsoft Windows and all backend databases should be Microsoft SQL Services driven.
Our main website (www.bathspa.ac.uk) is for public facing web-pages: pages advertising courses; our prospectus; information about Schools and Services; news articles; statutory documents; and material that the public (including staff and student applicants) will find useful or interesting. The website should not be used to host any documents for internal distribution, only of interest to staff and students; these should be hosted on our Virtual Learning Environment, Wiki, The Hub, or SharePoint Collaboration server instead. No page on our public facing website should be password protected.
When placing a page or document onto our website, you should ask yourself "who is the audience for this?"
Planning Support will routinely monitor newly created web-pages for compliance with these regulations. If the team discover that a site or page does not comply with the regulations, the team will:
- in the first instance refer the author to the appropriate regulation and, if requested, recommend a course of training.
- in the second instance report the author of the site/pages to Jonathan Sebright, Head of Planning Support, or Tessa Griffiths, Head of Marketing and Communication.
Any web-page officially created on behalf of a School is the responsibility of the Head of School. Any page officially created on behalf of a Service is the responsibility of the immediate Head of Service.
Copyrights and Disclaimers
A disclaimer does not remove the responsibility of the University in law, but authors must take particular care to ensure that no personal opinion may be taken by a reader as an official opinion of the University.
Accessibility And Usability Regulations
The Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 (SENDA) removes the exemptions from the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) which gave colleges and universities more time to make their campuses and teaching facilities compliant with the accessibility legislation.
The Disability Discrimination Act 2005 (DDA) builds on and extends earlier disability discrimination legislation, principally the DDA 1995.
The SENDA and the DDA state that we must make:
- provision of accessible institutional services, including departmental, faculty and institutional web sites,
- provision of accessible educational services, such as Virtual and Managed Learning Environments (VLEs and MLEs), digital resources, online teaching material and handbooks etc.
Usability is a separate but linked aspect of accessibility. A site can be technically accessible to users with disabilities, but may fail to do its job of providing information if it has been poorly designed. Web authors need to ensure that their site has a coherent and easily understood structure embedded within a well designed user interface (We recommend that web authors take some time out to familiarise themselves with the writings of Jakob Nielsen).
It is with these things in mind that we have put together the following set of accessibility and usability regulations for web authors to use.
Wherever reasonably possible you must make sure that:
- pages comply with all priority 1 checkpoints of the W3Cs Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0. This gives web-sites a conformance level of "A", which is the most basic level for an accessible site.
- the minimum font size is 10point.
- the text colour has a high contrast against its background colour, and that you do not use an excessively patterned background for web-pages.
- you break text down into easy to read sections. A wall of text is deadly for an interactive experience; intimidating, boring, and painful to read. Write for online, not print. Break long pages down into separate short pages with a table of contents on an introduction page. Long pages take a long time to download, and users hate to scroll. If you must have a long page, use well placed target or bookmark points. To draw users into the text and support scan-ability, use well-documented tricks such as:
- bulleted lists,
- highlighted keywords,
- short paragraphs,
- a simple writing style.
- follow our editorial guidelines.
- you keep URLs short and to the point.
- table based layouts are not to be used in any web-pages. Tables are only to be used for tabular data.
- multimedia files such as video, animation and audio should have a text based transcript or alternative HTML content available alongside them.
- you don't assume that everyone accessing the site will be using a mouse to navigate. Some people can only use a keyboard to select links.
- in navigation, the link target area is significantly large enough that someone with reduced mobility will be able to click the link.
We suggest that:
- pages comply with all priority 2 checkpoints of the W3Cs Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0. This gives web-sites a conformance level of "AA", which is the recommended level for an accessible site.
- we recommend that 12point text is used whenever possible.
- you avoid PDF for on-screen reading. Only use PDF for documents that users are likely to print often.
- you avoid putting non standard or proprietary formatted files on our web-servers. These file-types include (but are not limited to) MS Word (.doc), MS Excel (.xls), and MS Access (.mdb) documents. If you must put a file on the server you should place an HTML version of the document online alongside it describing (and where possible reproducing) its content. Not all users have the software to play or load every type of document, so you should put it online in its most basic format - HTML.