Web Style Guides

Please follow the following guidelines when creating or updating web pages on the official www.pvamu.edu domain.

Writing for the web
Web Style Guidelines
Required Elements (all pages)
Seal & Prairie View A&M University signature type
Standard Footer
Meta Tags
Title tag
Content Guidelines
Text Guidelines
Files Management
Use of Copyrighted material
Use of Graphics
10 Quick Tips to comply with Web Accessibility Initiative and ADA

Writing for the web

During the website content generation, care should be taken to present content on the website in a format that follows effective web content guidelines. Web content should be written clearly, should avoid internal language not well known to the audience consuming the information, and should be crafted for a particular audience segment (visitors, students, faculty & staff, etc). Each visitor should be guided through content, find clearly defined calls to action, and should feel the content was written specifically for them.

Content that is created for the website should seek to support one of the primary goals and objectives of the site, promote primary marketing goals and messages.

Tips for Writing Online Content

  • Less is more! Use clear, meaningful and concise wording when writing.
  • Keep content short, use lists and short paragraphs.
  • Avoid using background colors for emphasis.
  • Write for the audience first. What are they looking for?
  • Think of the main message you are trying to convey.
  • Use effective headings to grab attention and engage the reader.
  • Edit, edit, edit! If you feel the page doesn’t communicate your message, chances are it isn’t.
  • When using hyperlinks:
  • Limit each paragraph to one key concept.
  • Identify search engine key words and those keywords throughout your content.

Web Style Guidelines

Every page listed under the Prairie View A&M University’s website represents the professionalism of the PVAMU Community. Using official university header and footer content ensures a uniform presentation of PVAMU to both internal and external audiences. It ensures consistent look and feel of the web site.

In order to maintain a standard in the World Wide Web community, all the web pages on the PVAMU’s web site must adhere to the following rules and guidelines.


WordPress is the content management system used by PVAMU to maintain the content currently on the web site. The system is designed to give web developers tools that can be applied to web pages to give them a consistent look and feel throughout the university’s website. Using templates ensures that the content across all the pages is consistent and if changes are made, they are reflected on all pages.

For more information, contact Web Services at webservices@pvamu.edu.

By using templates, the following elements:

  • Header
  • Left Side Bar
  • Footer

are all preset and the users do not have to do modifications to be compliant. The items users are required to enter are the Meta tags, which are required for homepages and are optional for subpages.

Required Elements: (all pages)

Prairie View A&M University signature type

  • Standard footer
  • Meta tags (required on homepage – optional on others)
  • Title Tag

Seal & Prairie View A&M University signature type:

  • All pages are required to have View A&M University signature type (see below) on the header of every page.
  • The logo and signature type should be linked to PVAMU homepage (http://www.pvamu.edu)
  • Request the PVAMU logo and Prairie View A&M University signature type at webmaster@pvamu.edu
  • The logo and its background must be a high contrast combination.

PVAMU Signature Type

More information can be found in http://www.pvamu.edu/marcomm/toolkit/

Standard Footer:

  • Footer (see below) should be displayed on all web pages.
  • It provides consistent connection with the University and fulfills its legal requirements.

Meta Tags:

Meta Tags provide the following,

  • Brief description of the content on a particular page
  • Author name
  • Keyword used by search engines for indexing.

Meta tags are required for homepages (all departments) and are optional but strongly encouraged for any sub pages.

How to:
Site builder Toolkit:

  • Edit a page
  • Click on Search Engine tab
  • Insert name of the author, description of the page, and keywords related to the page
  • Click publish.

In the head section of the code, enter :

<META NAME="author" CONTENT="The author's name. Usually a dept. name">
<META NAME="description" CONTENT="Brief description of the page">
<META NAME="keywords" CONTENT="keywords separated by commas">

Title tag:

Title tag is the most important factor in achieving high search engine rankings. By default, the title of the page is used for the title tag.

Content Guidelines:

Every department’s webpage should comply with the following,

  • All Colleges and Schools web pages should have information on Degrees/programs offered.
  • All units should have a Contact Information page,
    • Mailing Address | Mail Stop # | P.O. Box 519 | Prairie View | TX | 77446
    • Physical Address
    • Telephone Number | Format (xxx)-xxx-xxxx
    • Fax Number | Format (xxx)-xxx-xxxx
    • Email Address
  • Links to any commercial sites are strongly discouraged. All external links should open in a new window
  • Departments will be responsible for updating and maintaining material in a timely manner.
  • Explore PVAMU’s web pages for existing university information rather than developing duplicate sets of data.
  • Avoid using pop-up windows, as most of the browser settings do not allow pop-ups.
  • Website should be treated like any other publication. The content should be checked for,
    • Spelling or Grammar errors
    • Official Titles for individuals
    • Office Names of programs
    • Spacing and alignment

Text Guidelines:

  • Do not use custom fonts. PVAMU website uses Arial, size 10, color: black for all text. Text CSS is in place to ensure the consistency of fonts. Do not alter fonts.
  • Using Heading 1 – Heading 6 (preset in the Editor) for all headings.
  • Use of color – avoid using red, yellow, green and other light colors. Black text on white background is considered industry norm for web publishing.
  • Avoid underlined text, as it may be mistaken as hyperlink.
  • Do not use blinking text.
  • Specify the expansion of each abbreviation or acronym in a document where it first occurs.

Files Management:

  • Do not use spaces in file names. Use underscore “-” to separate words.
  • Do not use Special Characters in file names such as !@#$%^&*()
  • Word Press will not allow uploading files larger than 10 MB.
  • Files larger than 1 MB should have a text warning about the size of the file.
  • Avoid using file extensions (types) that are not common, such as .pub (Microsoft Publisher), .vsd (Visio).

Use of Copyrighted material:

  • Do NOT use any Copyrighted material for your content without permission. Written permission should be obtained for any Copyrighted material use.
  • Copyrighted material includes
    • Text
    • Pictures
    • Drawings
    • Video clips
    • Sound clips
    • And any other material with a copyright.

Use of Graphics:

  • GIF and JPEG are most common formats for web graphics.
  • Graphic size should ideally not exceed 75K.
  • Any graphic with text should have ALT attribute.
  • Use Alt attribute for all hotspots on a graphic
  • Meaningful images such as charts, should be used with “longdesc” attribute to provide link to a full description page.
  • Avoid animated images.
  • Do not use graphic for as webpage background

10 Quick Tips to comply with Web Accessibility Initiative and ADA:

  1. Images & animations: Use the alt attribute to describe the function of each visual.
  2. Image maps. Use the client-side map and text for hotspots.
  3. Multimedia. Provide captioning and transcripts of audio, and descriptions of video.
  4. Hypertext links. Use text that makes sense when read out of context. For example, avoid “click here.”
  5. Page organization. Use headings, lists, and consistent structure. Use CSS for layout and style where possible.
  6. Graphs & charts. Summarize or use the longdesc attribute.
  7. Scripts, applets, & plug-ins. Provide alternative content in case active features are inaccessible or unsupported.
  8. Frames. Use the noframes element and meaningful titles.
  9. Tables. Make line-by-line reading sensible. Summarize.
  10. Check your work. Validate. Use tools, checklist, and guidelines at http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG