5.1 Content Management
Content published to NIU websites should be geared primarily toward recruitment and retention of students. Content for which the audience is inter-office would be better suited offline or on an intranet system (see Document Retention and Storage, below).
5.1.2 Official University Content
Do not recreate content that exists elsewhere on the NIU website. Always link to the official online source. For example, link to the official, current catalog using GoURLs established and maintained by the Web Team for course descriptions and degree requirements; link to the Office of the Bursar for current tuition and fees information; link to Housing and Residential Services for current room and board rates.
5.1.3 Outdated Content
Content should be reviewed every six months to ensure information is accurate. The Web Team and page managers will periodically perform content assessments, working with the subject matter expert (SME) to determine a plan for updating outdated content. If the SME is unresponsive, the page manager will update or delete the content as necessary.
If a web property has not been updated in 12 months, the Web Team may send out a notification to the user associated with the subdomain. If the user does not respond within 10 business days, the Web Team will delete the site from the server.
5.1.4 Archival Content
Archival content should be stored outside of Cascade CMS. For example, if past course syllabi need to be archived, they should be maintained by the professor or the department in O365 or, in some cases, University Archives. Another option for archiving work created by the NIU community is Huskie Commons.
5.1.5 Content Readability Updated
Website content should be written for a fifth through eighth grade reading level. This is not to “dumb down” the content. Rather, it acknowledges that the majority of website visitors are scanning pages quickly for specific information.
Make content easy to scan by keeping sentences and paragraphs short, and by using relevant and descriptive headings. Use brand voice and avoid jargon and/or difficult-to-read words when less complex words can easily substitute.
Ordered and unordered lists should be used to make content easy to scan. An ordered list should be used only when the order of the information is important.
Bring the following items to class:
- Pen or pencil
How to log in to MyNIU:
- Visit MyNIU.
- Enter your user ID and password.
- Click the Sign In button.
Tables can also be used to organize and present related data. In general, tables shouldn’t be used for layout; instead, use Bootstrap’s grid system. Keep tables simple for best usability. The table title should be in title case. Capitalize the first word in each table cell.
Before creating a new table, please submit the data you plan to use through the web update request form. The Web Team will work with you to create an accessible table or layout that best matches your content.
Tables and Accessibility
Someone who can't see a table can't make the same quick connections between data in the columns and rows a sighted user can. To make your tables accessible, use the table caption tag to summarize table contents, and identify row and column headers. This allows a screen reader to read the information in the correct order.
Read more about creating accessible tables at WebAim.
5.1.6 Document Retention and Storage
Cascade is a web content management system, not a records management/retention tool. All offices should have an offline or intranet storage system, such as SharePoint, Blackboard, Dropbox or an O365 group and follow the Records Retention and Administration Guidelines. The type of storage system should be determined by the colleges, divisions, departments and/or schools managing the documents. Another option for archiving work created by the NIU community is Huskie Commons.
For current information on file sharing and linking internally or externally from a website, check the NIU web resources.
5.1.7 Event Listings and Event Pages
Information about NIU-sponsored events and events in the surrounding community must be published on the NIU Calendar instead of manually entered onto a webpage. Events may be subject to approval by Web and Internal Communications before they are added to the calendar.
The Web Team then installs a calendar widget on the appropriate webpage to pull in events related to the department, school or organization. When an event date has passed, the event is automatically removed from the calendar, eliminating the need to manually update webpages.
Pages in Cascade may only be created for major annual events or event types (such as an information page about a conference or about a colloquium series). Event pages must be kept up to date. Once the date of an event has passed, information about the next date must replace it. Do not use placeholder text, such as "information coming soon."
5.1.8 Event Websites
Websites for conferences, symposiums and similar one-time or annual events will be built and maintained in Cascade using standard NIU templates only if all of the following criteria are met:
- The event is sponsored by NIU and/or takes place on an NIU campus.
- The website abides by the NIU Communication Standards and the NIU Web Standards.
- The website will remain live only until the next recurrence takes place (i.e., a conference held every two years will have its website live for 24 months) and then it will be updated or removed. If the event will not reoccur, the site will be removed after 12 months.
5.1.9 Faculty Profile Pages
If a department directory links to individual profile pages for faculty members, the profile pages should be consistent in aesthetic and type of information presented. Department directories may link to a faculty site in lieu of a profile page as long as the faculty site is in the same NIU template as the department site and meets web standards.
Profile pages may be created for emeriti who are actively teaching at NIU or working in the scholarly community.
Do not post "In Memoriam" pages for deceased staff or faculty members.
5.1.10 Faculty, Lab and Student Organization Websites Updated
All lab websites that are not part of faculty sites must comply with the NIU Web Standards and the NIU Editorial Style Guide (PDF), as well as with any additional standards determined by their related department or college.
Lab websites should be maintained by the Web Team or their division or college’s Cascade user and linked to/from their department’s primary website.
Websites for student organizations formally recognized and/or funded by the Student Association (SA) are maintained on Huskie Link, not through Cascade.
5.1.11 Tutorials and Modules
Tutorials and learning modules can be hosted in Blackboard, SharePoint, MOOC, Cascade CMS or another third-party service. Tutorials hosted in Cascade CMS must meet all web and brand standards and should be submitted to the Clearinghouse for QA review prior to launch. Work with the associate director of Website Development and Support to determine the best hosting solution for your module.
5.1.12 Forms and Fillable PDFs
Labels for fields in online forms and fillable PDFs should be brief and in title case. Field labels that need to be formatted as sentences should be in sentence case.
- First Name
- How did you hear about this event?
Fillable Forms and Accessibility
If you need an online form for your site, contact us at email@example.com. We will create it for you, ensuring it is accessible to all users. Alternatively, you may use Qualtrics to create a survey and link to it from your site. If you would like to embed a Qualtrics survey on your webpage, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
If you are creating a fillable PDF for your site, please learn how to create an accessible PDF form (WebAim).
It's not necessary to include colons after field labels, as long as the field and the label are on separate lines or are otherwise visually distinct.