The following are a few frequently occurring user errors or oversights, as observed by the web admins. Please consult our Web Best Practices page for a full explanation of each of these points.

Underlining non-link text

Underlined text can be confused with hyperlinks, so use bold oritalics to emphasize text.

Using bolds instead of headings

While using bold text visually breaks up a page, assistive technology (like screen readers) won’t recognize them as different sections of the page. Use headings when creating new sections or subsections.

Uploading image files that are too large

Image files that have not been sized down for the web can lead to slower page loads. Make sure to upload jpgs or pngs no greater than 1 MB.

Using UPPERCASE and spaces in file or page names

Any file (whether document or image) uploaded to the website becomes a hyperlink. This is also true when creating new webpages. Best practices for creating hyperlinks include using lowercase and dashes (-) to separate words. Avoid using capital case and spaces when naming pages or uploading documents or images.

Warning: Renaming already-existing pages or files may cause broken URLs. If linked via dependency tags, the links within the website should automatically update, but old links in publication materials may still 404.

Leaving version descriptions blank

Writing version descriptions is a good way to track changes after each publish and is helpful to the web admins in troubleshooting issues. Before each publish, be sure to leave a brief description of what changes you made.

Pasting URLs instead of using dependency tags for internal links

Dependency tags ensure that internal links are not broken even if the link is renamed or moved to a different location in the site. Use dependency tags to link pages rather than copying and pasting the full URL. 

Not overwriting when updating files

The best way to update a file already on the website is to use the overwrite feature rather than uploading a separate file and changing the name slightly. This ensures that other links to that file remain intact and the information gets updated throughout the website. It also reduces clutter within the CMS.

Inadequate alt text in images

Alt text is needed for all images because it is crucial for maintaining accessibility requirements throughout the website. If an image contains text, include it either verbatim or as a brief summary in 256 characters or less.

Read MSU Bozeman’s documentation for making images accessible with image descriptions.

Headings out of order

Headings need to follow a sequential order, which helps assistive technology navigate a page. For example, Heading 3s can be followed by another Heading 3, 2 or 4, but not by a 5 or 6.

Uploading a PDF when a new webpage should be created

With the exception of forms that require printing or multi-page documents, it is always better to create a webpage than to link directly to a PDF file in your documents folder. In order to maximize accessibility, convert the PDF into a webpage.

Uploading files in a format other than PDF

PDFs are the preferred format for files uploaded to the website. Other formats, like Word documents or Excel spreadsheets, can be difficult to read on mobile devices.

Using non-default text styles

Having text that is either a different style or size from the CMS default can result in content that might appear unprofessional or inconsistent with the rest of the site. Please use the default paragraph styles and headings when breaking up different sections.