Policy Compliance & Tiers

Policy Matrix | Policy Glossary

UAA has groupd Web sites into three tiers, based on various factors — association with the University identity, scope of influence, frequency and volume of use, expected lifetime and other factors. These tiers indicate which standards are required for your UAA site.

Tier 1: Budgeted Schools and Departments

  • Campus-wide and student/faculty/staff services
  • Major academic units

Tier 2: Institutes and Centers, Grant Funded Programs and Projects, Partners

  • Academic departments
  • Research centers and faculty research groups
  • Affiliated organizations
  • Course sites

Tier 3: Personal Sites and Clubs

  • Student organizations
  • Individual faculty member sites and pages
  • Miscellaneous

Policy & Tier Matrix

Your Web site's tier will determine which standards and policies you might need to comply with. The table below gives a summary of applicable standards. Click on the standard to read a detailed description from our guides and references section.

Site Elements Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 3
Page title Required Required Recommended
Home page link Required Required Recommended
Site navigation Required Required Recommended
Contact information Required Required Recommended
Overview landing page Required Required Recommended
Page Elements      
Header Required Required Recommended
Footer Required Required Recommended
Page title Required Required Recommended
Page navigation Required Required Recommended
Overview landing text Required Required Recommended
Image System Standards      
Lettermark in top left Required Required Optional
Wordmark on top Required optional Discouraged
Fonts Required Recommended Optional
Colors Required Recommended Optional
Skip navigation link Required Required Recommended
Text equivalents for images and sounds Required Required Recommended
Descriptive text based links Required Required Recommended
PDF documents pass accessibility check Required Required Recommended
Intuitive label and tab order on forms Required Required Recommended
Headings, list, and other tags in place Required Required Recommended
Keyboard Navigable Required Required Recommended
Doctype Required Recommended Recommended
Validatable HTML/XML Required Recommended Recommended
Validatable CSS Required Recommended Recommended
Security (if applicable)      
Authentication Required Required Recommended
Authorization Required Required Recommended
Auditable Recommended Recommended Recommended
Encryption Required Required Recommended
Grammar Required Recommended Recommended
Spelling Required Recommended Recommended
Web-centric Recommended Recommended Recommended
Factual Required Recommended Recommended
Best Practices      
Internal links are relative links Required Recommended Recommended
No browser scaled images Required Recommended Recommended
No broken links Required Recommended Recommended
Up to date Required Recommended Recommended
Copyright & credits Required Recommended Recommended
Searchable Recommended Recommended Recommended

Policy Glossary

This section gives detailed descriptions and examples of each policy line item

Site Elements

Site elements refer the components that ensure your site’s pages work together as a whole.

Page Title

The page title is relevant to the page and unique to your site. This is used by search engines as an indicator as to what the page is about.

Example: Contact Information & Locations – UAA IT Services

Description: Description: C:\Users\axjww\Desktop\Site Elements_files\image001.png  

Home Page Link

Home page link is in a prominent top left position like the logo. There is an easy to find link to your site’s homepage in the top left position of your navigation.

Home Link example

Site Navigation

Site navigation is consistent and usable. Navigation is consistent on all pages of the site, intuitive, and contains no broken links

Contact Information

Contact information is an easy to find page. There is an easy to find page with your contact information clearly listed. It is best practice to have this listed as the last item in your navigation.

Contact information in left navigation example

Overview Landing Page

Site landing page gives a good overview of audience and purpose. Your site home page clearly addresses its intended audience and purpose. This is often a good place to include your organization's mission statement.


The Office of University Advancement helps UAA grow and prosper by increasing public regard for the university and its students, alumni, staff, and faculty.

The Advancement Office acts as the communications and marketing liaison between UAA and the public it serves.

Its purposes are to effectively and responsibly communicate the university's accomplishments in teaching, research, and public service, and to secure the support that makes UAA a university of first choice.

Advancement houses two divisions: University Relations and the Office of Development.


Page Elements


Header has proper items. Proper items include UAA logo, search box, and/or department logo per chancellor memo

UAA Header example


Footer has proper items. Proper items include copyright, freshness indicator, standard links and EEO/AA statement.

UAA Footer example

Page Title

In-body page title should match HTML page title.

page title example

Page Navigation

Pages have working anchor links (also known as "jump links" in the CMS) for skipping around long pages. Other interface elements like jquery or pulldown jumps should be usable.

Description: Description: C:\Users\axjww\Desktop\Site Elements_files\image008.png

Overview landing text

Each page has short summary at top (tell them what you're about to tell them)


Image System Standards

From the image standards site, “Each year, UAA produces hundreds of print and electronic publications for external distribution. In order for these publications to have a collective impact for the university, they must have some similarity in design and/or presentation. One way to accomplish this goal—without restricting overall design creativity—is to unify our institutional logos to help create an overall UAA brand.”

Lettermark in top left

The UAA “Lettermark” logo should appear in the dominant top left position on pages. The logo is not modified from its original shape. The image file has high quality (no dithering, no pixilation)

Wordmark on top

The UAA “Wordmark” should appear on the top position on pages. The logo is not modified from its original shape. The image file has high quality (no dithering, no pixilation)


The site uses fonts from the UAA Stylebook. The Galliard & Optima fonts from the wordmark are not used. Fonts are generally good style (e.g. no “cheap fonts” like Comic Sans or “lacy fonts” like Brush Script).


The site’s overall theme or skin derives from colors from the UAA Stylebook. Text and background colors have good figure ground contrast. Colors are accessible (e.g. color coded legends have a text alternative for color blind people).



Accessibility means that the site is usable by people with disabilities. These standards assure the broadest audience and compliance with federal disability laws. These standards also help general usability and device portability as well as increased search engine optimization.

Skip navigation link

The skip navigation link should be one of the first items on the page. Users who activate the link will jump over the navigational elements, bringing focus to the main content.

skip navigation link

Text equivalents for all Media


Images should have appropriate alt text. Images that are used for visual interest but that do not contain relevant information can be labeled with null text. Please consult DSS guidance on how to write alt text.

Alt Text dialog in CMS
example image with Alt Text on hover

Video shared online should be equipped with caption/subtitle files.


Audio such as podcasts should include a transcript. At a minimum, transcripts must be available upon request.

Descriptive text based links

Text based links make sense when read out of context. Avoid examples like “for something click here” or "read more". Instead say things like “learn more about something” or "document title".

PDF documents pass accessibility check

Run the Accessibility Quick Check, make repairs as needed. Scanned documents must have OCR.

Description: Description: C:\Users\axjww\Desktop\Site Elements_files\image012.jpg

Label and tab order on forms

Forms should be “test driven” with different assistive technologies to ensure they are usable in the absence of visual display and mouse.

Heading, list, and other tags in place

Headings should be used to organize information, not just change the color or font size. The heading structure should match the logical structure of the document.

html formatting options in CMS dialog box 

Keyboard Navigable

Try tabbing through your pages. You should be able to press the tab key and arrow keys to move through all content areas in a logical fluid manner.



The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) defines technical standards about the syntax and use of HTML code to create web pages. These standards assure the broadest possible audience and the most consistent experience across browsers and devices.


A document type definition (HTML 4.01, XHTML 1.0, etc.) should be included at the top of the source code for the page. This will assist web browsers with properly displaying your content.

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">

Valid HTML

It is important that a site’s source code be as well thought out as its user interface. Properly formed HTML adhering to modern standards and not including any browser-specific tags is crucial to the stability of a site.

Valid CSS

Cascading style sheets define the look and feel of a site. Valid CSS ensures that it does not have any usability issues and will display similarly between multiple browsers and screen resolutions.



Security standards insure privacy and compliance with relevant federal laws like FERPA an HIPA.


Access to secure information requires and challenge; like username and password.


Access to secure information is limited and controlled to authorized parties based on those parties’ roles.


Access to information is recorded for auditing purposes. This can be as simple as recording who has access to the secure information or as complex is restricting specific items to specific persons.

Encryption (HTTPS)

A users credentials are sent over a secure channel. This generally means an HTTPS site where the lock is showing in your web browser.

HTTPS status displayed in browser address bar



Short, active-voice sentences that follow basic grammar rules. Because this is for web, short and scannable content is helpful to the reader. Employ bolds and bullets as a means to shorten and streamline content. Avoid jargon that only insiders understand.


Use spell check before publishing to save face.


Besides posting short-winded, direct-language, scannable content, consider page hierarchy. Where do you want your readers’ eyes to go first‌ Does the page have an intuitive flow from most important to less, from global to specific‌ Use headline formatting judiciously to obtain this. Warmth and human-centeredness can come from language tone (warm AND short), use of photos, audience-directed content. Update site regularly; this can be a specific news and events section that is refreshed frequently to represent goings-on.

Think “Who is my audience,” and then provide content aimed at them. At a publicly funded state university, the general, uninitiated public is always a potential audience, and one reason to keep jargon off the site.


Nothing says “Don’t look at me, I’m not relevant” than old and out-of-date information.


Best Practices

Internal links are relative links

When linking within the same site, one can skip the host part of a web address. For example internal links should be /subsite/page.cfm rather than http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/subsite/page.cfm. It is recommended to use the CMS menus to create your internal relative links.

No browser scaled images

Images need to be resized to fit properly in a web site. Images need to be sized before they are added to a page. If you view an image by itself and it is larger or smaller than it is in the web page, then the image is being scaled by your browser.

No broken links

All links in your site should go to a web page. That web page should be relevant. So check that your links work and that they return the page you are expecting.

Up to date

Web sites should be reviewed on a regular business schedule like every semester or every quarter. Stale information should be removed. Pages can be “touched” to update their date stamp indicating they have been reviewed.

Recent copyright & credits

The site author, modified date, and most recent copyright date (this year) should be displayed on each page.

copyright & credits information example


A search box should be present that allowed visitors to look for information using free form keywords and expressions. The search box should return results for relevant expressions. It is recommended to have the search box in the top right of pages.

search toolbar