The website guidelines apply to all sites representing UMass Amherst schools, colleges, departments, programs, research centers, and administrative offices.
Personal web sites, UMass blogs, and Google sites are NOT required to adhere to this policy.
Learn more about the following guidelines:
The top banner is a branded strip which offers a simple way to connect all of our sites and lets users know where they are at all times.
The top banner also provides access to campus links and the UMass Amherst site wide search function.
The top banner must appear at the top of all official UMass Amherst websites and pages.
The top banner must NOT be replaced with the individual website header when scrolling down the page.
The top banner:
- Brands your page as part of UMass Amherst.
- Links your page to the UMass Amherst home page.
- Provides access to the UMass Amherst site wide search.
No content of any kind may appear above this bar. No links to information on the website should be added to the top banner, such as 'Admissions'. Site search functions are not allowed in the top banner; these may appear elsewhere on the website.
Please contact University Relations at 413-545-0123 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions about implementing the top banner on your website.
UMass Amherst provides a favicon by default on all websites on the umass.edu domain. The favicon appears in the top border of your web browser to the left of the page title. See the example below:
If your site is on another domain, you will need to define the favicon in the head section of your HTML code or place the favicon in the website’s root.
You can find the UMass Amherst favicon at www.umass.edu/favicon.ico.
The page title displays in the top border of your web browser and is an additional way to identify your site. It also helps with search optimization to make the site identifiable in search results.
Title tags must exist on every page. Title tags should contain the unit name, department, or program followed by "UMass Amherst." The following format is highly recommended:
Page Title | Site Name | UMass Amherst
See an example below:
NOTE: Outside of the page title, you may include other relevant keywords important for your specific department. Keep in mind, however, that Google search results will only display up to about 66 characters. It is recommended to adhere to meta keyword tags only.
The page footer shows site ownership, both as part of UMass Amherst and within the specific department or group within the university.
All UMass Amherst websites should have the official UMass Amherst footer, which includes the copyright year and links to University of Massachusetts Amherst, Site Policies, and Site Contact.
The recommended format is:
©2018 University of Massachusetts Amherst • Site Policies • Site Contact
The footer text should be centered at the bottom of each page. No other content may appear below the footer.
- Whether or not they are developed and/or hosted at UMass Amherst, the footer requirement applies to all UMass Amherst websites.
- "University of Massachusetts Amherst" should link to www.umass.edu.
- "Site Policies" should link to www.umass.edu/site-policies.
- "Site Contact" should link to an email address of the person responsible for the content of the website, or to a specific webpage from which it should be obvious who is responsible for the site content.
- No other graphics or text should be included in the footer. This includes wordmarks or text crediting site designers or hosts.
In order to meet its values of diversity and inclusiveness, the University of Massachusetts Amherst is committed to making its website accessible to all.
Our website, www.umass.edu, strives towards best practices and standards as defined by Section 508 of the U.S. Rehabilitation Act, located at www.section508.gov, and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 level A and AA of the World Wide Web Consortium Web Accessibility Initiative (W3C WAI) for HTML/XHTML, CSS, and web content accessibility, located at www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20.
Accessibility and SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
In addition to making content accessible by improving usability, the accessibility guidelines also work to improve our rankings in top search engine results.
Accessibility Testing Tools
We recommend using freely available testing tools for meeting accessibility requirements, including, but not limited to:
Providing Equal Access
All UMass Amherst websites should make best efforts to ensure that information is equally accessible for everyone by complying with the below easy checks to ensure equal access.
When creating digital content, we follow the “Web Accessibility Easy Checks” guidelines. These include:
Example: Page Title | Site Name | UMass Amherst
- Example: Page Title | Site Name | UMass Amherst
Example: <img src="magnifying-glass.jpg" alt="search">
- Example: <img src="magnifying-glass.jpg" alt="search">
Example: <h1> comes first, followed by <h2> then <h3> etc...
- Example: <h1> comes first, followed by <h2> then <h3> etc...
Example: Use the Web Aim Color Contrast Checker.
- Example: Use the Web Aim Color Contrast Checker.
Example: Use text-only zoom on your browser (200%) and ensure that text doesn't disappear, cut off, or include horizontal scroll bars.
- Example: Use text-only zoom on your browser (200%) and ensure that text doesn't disappear, cut off, or include horizontal scroll bars.
Keyboard Access and Visual Focus
Example: Check that you can tab to all the elements, including links, form fields, buttons, and media player controls.
- Example: Check that you can tab to all the elements, including links, form fields, buttons, and media player controls.
Forms, Labels and Errors
Example: Use the WAI Labels Checks found on the W3.org website.
- Example: Use the WAI Labels Checks found on the W3.org website.
Examples: Review all video captions/transcripts, provide alternate formats for auditory and visual media.
- Examples: Review all video captions/transcripts, provide alternate formats for auditory and visual media.
Basic Structure Check
Example: Preview the site without any styling to make sure all content is available.
- Example: Preview the site without any styling to make sure all content is available.
Link Purpose (In Context)
The purpose of each link can be determined from the link text alone.
- The purpose of each link can be determined from the link text alone.
- These guidelines are extended to include files that are usually created, edited and viewed with word processors, spreadsheets, presentations/slideshows and PDFs posted or distributed through the web. View the below files to learn more about creating accessible electronic documents.
For a more comprehensive approach, please refer to Techniques for WCAG 2.0.
If you find an accessibility issue or have a related question contact email@example.com.
Site validation is an important tool to use when designing a website. Having valid code means your site is much more likely to work as you intended in different browsers and on different computers. By validating your site, you can check the HTML, XHTML and CSS for syntax errors and compliance to established standards.
Resources that can be used for validating your site:
W3C Markup Validation Service:
A free online service that validates HTML or XHTML in one of three ways: you can enter a page URL, upload a file or paste code directly in the validator.
W3C CSS Validation Service:
A free online service that validates CSS.
A free site to validate your RSS feeds.
All websites deployed to UMass servers after March, 2015 need to have fully responsive design across device breakpoints ranging from standard desktop down to smartphone dimensions.