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Best Practices

  • Making your web content shine

    Here are some resources for writing for the web, creating effective navigation, and keeping content fresh.

    The New Media team occasionally hosts special training sessions for our most frequent editors of the website. Stay tuned for more information about those opportunities and get in touch if you want to participate.

    Web writing resources

    The following handouts, which we shared at the meetings, offer lots of useful information for people working on the Lewis & Clark website. The Web Content Guide and documents for departments and offices provide tips for writing for the web, creating effective navigation, and keeping content fresh.

    Web best practices

    We also encourage you to check out our Web Best Practices page, which provides a quick reference guide for using headers, bold/italic text, and alignment when you’re working on the web.

  • Naming files and directories in LiveWhale

    Whether your content is text, image or file, it filename plays an important role in LiveWhale. Here are some best practices in filenaming to help improve you contents’ chances of being found.

    File naming encompasses many things in LiveWhale like the name of a directory, the name of a file within a directory, a title of a page, or an attached document.

    Why is this string of text so important? A good file name helps you organize your content and also gives others on the web enough information to find and share your content.

    Here are some best practices when considering file names.


    Generally, spelling things out in plain English helps search results immensely. However, there are some rules. For directories, spell things out but when there is a space between words, use an underscore (“_”) to tie things together. 

    DON’T: “timydf001” or “this is my directory filename” or “thisismyfilename”

    DO: “this_is_my_filename”

    Files in Directories

    A general rule of thumb for the naming of files is this: every file should be named “index.php” and the directory should provide the descriptive name.

    For example, when creating an “About Us” page, the name of the directory should be “about” or “about_us” and “index.php” should be a file residing within that directory. The URL would then be “about/index.php” which the browser would resolve to simply “about”.

  • Use the built-in text styles

    Exploring text styles in the Lewis & Clark pages, news stories, events, etc. within the LiveWhale framework… The look and feel of these styles throughout the entire site is determined by a central cascading style sheet (CSS).

    Heading 1

    Only to be used for the top menu “Lewis & Clark” – admin use only.

    Heading 2

    Only to be used for main group names, for example the word “English” that goes atop the English department’s pages. It uses a large serifed font. On institutional pages, the color is green. On college pages, it is red. On grad school pages, it is orange. On law pages, it is blue.

    Heading 3

    Subpage titles or titles of main sections of content on a home page. This and lower heading styles use a sans-serifed font.

    Heading 4

    To title subsections within a “header 3” section.

    Heading 5

    To title subsections within a “header 4” section.

    Heading 6

    To title subsections within a “header 5” section.

    Normal “Paragraph” Text

    All your normal text within paragraphs (the basic text display within LiveWhale).

    A special note on accessibility:

    Semantically correct web pages not only help machines like search engines “understand” your content (improving search results) but more importantly, help users of accessibility software read your content more quickly and easily. Therefore, heading levels should be used to divide sections of content, and these headings should be in order: i.e., heading 5s under heading 4s, heading 4s under heading 3s, and so forth.

    Additional Styling:

    Bold text using the “B” in the edit toolbar.

    Italic text using the “I” in the toolbar.

    Underlined text using the “U” in the toolbar. This however is not recommended, as many users confuse it with links to other pages.


    Bullet and number lists:

    Lists can be a helpful way to break down information into bite-sized pieces, improving visual clarity. They are not however to be used for dividing sections (for those you should the Headings mentioned above).

    Sample Bullet List

    • Item one
      • subitem one-a (done with highlighting this item and hitting the indent button)
      • subitem one-b (done with highlighting this item and hitting the indent button)
    • Item two
    • Item three

    Sample Number List

    1. Item one
    2. Item two
      1. subitem two-a
      2. subitem two-b
    3. Item three
  • Can I change the color/font of headers or text?

    For the most part, we are seeking consistency in the site design, and so the color and font of headers and body text should not be changed.

    Additionally, the text area is based on the TinyMCE software, which strips most font-related information from the pages to prevent conflicts and bugs.

  • Stay browser current

    Keep your browser up to date: any browser should be fine (though we do not however recommend Internet Explorer). But no matter which browser you use, always be sure to keep it and its plug-ins current.

  • Refresh is best

    Refresh is best: Sometimes changes to a page may require you to refresh your browser. While this isn’t always the case, it may answer why you didn’t see your content changes appear immediately after you made them.

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