Introduction and Purpose

1.1 Providing the Best Content Possible

NIU's website is the face of NIU, often the first impression visitors have of the university, and we want their experience to be a positive one. To help provide a positive user-experience, we have the following standards and best practice guidelines in place to assist you and to ensure a consistent and unified user experience for our visitors. The standards were collaboratively written by members of the NIU Web Team, approved by the Web Steering Committee and president of the university and grounded in thorough research of industry standards and best practices for usability and lawful accessibility compliance.

Our guiding principles for web governance of the domain are:

  • All pages should be audience-centered (student first) and consistently use the NIU brand.
  • All pages should have a content strategy, featuring an intuitive navigation and relevant (audience focused) and current content that is optimized for search engines.

1.2 Content Ownership, User Access Rights and Responsibilities

All subdomains and sub-sites within the domain belong to, and are representative of, the university. Colleges and divisions serve as caretakers of their websites, experts in their content and stewards of NIU's brand.

The university's central Office of Web and Internal Communications (Web Team) has access to all areas of the website and, to ensure quality control, will edit/alter content as needed for clarity, grammar, spelling, usage and style, as well as to conform with university naming conventions and branding. The university reserves the right to revise or delete content housed either on university IT resources or external resources that does not meet acceptable use guidelines or the standards outlined in this policy.

For each site on the domain, a primary (and in some cases a secondary) page manager will be identified. Access to the Web Content Management System (CMS) will only be granted to and retained by users who have completed Level 1 Web Training and/or the annual refresher training (FY18 and beyond) offered by the Office of Web and Internal Communications. If a site's content director and/or page manager has not completed – or does not wish to complete – the required training, the Web Team will maintain the web property in collaboration with the department, college or division.

If it is determined that a page manager is making updates to their site that do not align with web standards, the director of web strategy and services, web manager and/or college communicator will meet with them to review the standards. Continued updates that do not align with web standards may result in additional training requirements or suspension of access to the CMS.

1.3 Governance and Collaboration

Web governance is defined as a system for managing an online presence in an orderly way.

At NIU, web governance is facilitated through the Web Steering Committee. The committee's objective is to provide collaborative centralized governance for the ongoing development, deployment, delivery and maintenance of the domain and to consistently represent the Northern Illinois University brand online through standard processes, roles, responsibilities and practices.

Primary support for and associated sites is led by the Office of Web and Internal Communications (Web Team) in the Division of Enrollment Management, Marketing and Communications. The senior director for Web and Internal Communications provides oversight and strategic direction for the university's web presence. The director of web strategy and services reviews requests from academic and administrative stakeholders, sets priorities and apprises the Web Steering Committee of projects and plans.

The Web Team also provides training for page managers, support for all web pages, maintains the Web Standards document and provides administrative support for the Web Steering Committee.

1.4 Support

We support web pages for compatibility with the current version and previous major release of the following browsers:

  • Chrome
  • Firefox
  • Safari
  • Internet Explorer
  • Edge

Older browser versions may work, but not all web applications may be compatible. For this reason, we recommend that users update to the most recent version of their preferred browser. We also recommend that any web applications utilized meet the same criteria as stated above.

To request an update to a website, visit

To request a new website, contact our office at