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Web Development Policies

Policy Number ITS-003
Effective Date June 01, 2006
Responsible Office/Person CITS

Web Development Policies
Web Design and Development's policies for the UMass Dartmouth web site take into consideration the overall World Wide Web policies and guidelines established by the University of Massachusetts.

Account security
Do not share your account information. You are responsible for your site and will be held responsible if anyone uses your information to log in and do damage either to your site or to our servers.
To protect your account information:

  • Avoid "remember me" options for browsers and log-in fields
  • Never save your username and password on public machines (such as in a computer lab, a library or an Internet café) that are not protected by an operating system log in

Site maintenance
There are several ways that sites are maintained within the larger UMass Dartmouth site:
1. Maintenance by the Web Design and Development team
The Web Design and Development (WDD) team creates, designs and maintains the site in consultation with the client (the representative from the department, office, etc.). WDD staff perform updates at the request of a contact person connected to the site (department, office, etc.)
2. Maintenance by the client
When the client chooses to maintain content of his/her office's or department's site, there are two choices:

  • using the content management system (CMS)
  • maintaining the site in html code and using file transfer protocol (FTP)

All clients opting for client-based maintenance have responsibilities as site maintainers.
Content Management System (CMS)
Our current content management system (CMS) is OmniUpdate.
Working with the client, WDD creates a site based on a standard UMass Dartmouth/CMS template. The client receives CMS training and maintains the site on his/her own. The client may always contact WDD staff members for assistance, but WDD will not typically be responsible for updating the content for this site.
FTP (File Transfer Protocol)

The FTP option is for a web developer with this expertise:

  • ability to understand and manipulate html code either as text in programs such as NotePad or BBEdit or in a visual html editor such as Macromedia Dreamweaver
  • knowledge of how to use an FTP file transfer client (the choice of client and platform are yours); the WDD team can help you set up the process but cannot perform the file transfers for you
  • familiarity with PhotoShop to manipulate images, minimally to crop and re-size them

You must have the means of accessing the programs noted above; the WDD team cannot supply them to you. (For more information, visit the Service Center.)
NOTE: Although knowledge of Macromedia Flash is helpful, it is not a substitute for knowledge of the items listed above.

3. Maintenance on a non-UMass Dartmouth server
If the client chooses to maintain an off-campus site that requires links from the site, WDD will create a "transfer" page within the official site that links to the off-campus site. WDD accepts no responsibility for unofficial, off-campus sites.
We do not recommend this option for any site offering core institutional information such as academic information, registration, admission, catalogs and student services.

Minimally, these sites must offer a link back to UMass Dartmouth's main page. If the controlling department is a member of a larger department (for example, a program within an academic college), the site must also link back to its parent department or organization.

Requesting site updates
When you ask WDD staff to perform updates to your site, please remember that many others are also doing the same. Some guidelines will help ensure that updates are completed in a timely manner:

  • Provide requests for updates to the web site well in advance of any deadlines: weeks, not days.
  • Any instructions for object placement, layout, styles, color and wording should be logical, clear and concise. Text should not be open to interpretation (and thus misinterpretation) by the WDD team. If necessary, attach a Word document that closely mimics what should be on the site.
  • Text to be added to the site must be in a professional, grammatically correct (proper spelling, punctuation, etc.), final format and not require additional editing, fact checking, etc..
  • Images should be provided in a final web format, ready to upload to the server, or (if image editing is necessary) with explicit instructions on final dimensions and positioning.

Responsibilities of site maintainers
A permanent UMass Dartmouth faculty, staff member or administrator must be named as the primary client contact. Although students may be hired under the supervision of the client, the primary contact is responsible for:

  • content within the site
  • contacting WDD if there are changes in how the site will be maintained (client no longer able to maintain the site, changes in student assistance, etc.

It is your responsibility to inform the WDD if you are no longer able to update a site, so we are able to maintain up-to-date records for each site. If someone (colleague or student) will help you maintain a site, please have that person sign up for his or her own access.
Site maintainers accept these responsibilities:

  • to use the UMass Dartmouth web servers only for departmental web development purposes; do not use the server as a personal file repository
  • to not use the UMass Dartmouth web space for commercial purposes or publication of offensive or illegal materials of any kind

Remember, you will be held responsible for all content on your site. We reserve the right to revoke access privileges in the event of misuse of the FTP account and UMass Dartmouth web space at any time.

Minimum requirements for sites
Sites within that offer core institutional information such as academic information, registration, admission, catalogs and student services must conform to UMass Dartmouth’s minimum requirements for sites:

  • official UMass Dartmouth header with link back to (home page)
  • official UMass Dartmouth footer
  • area for site contact information appearing above the footer

Note: The UMass Dartmouth layout provides the header, footer and contact area, effectively fulfilling the above requirements.
We suggest that core offices establish an office email address (for example, that can be accessed by designated staff. This email address is typically used in the contact area on all pages.

Variations of this policy must be approved by the Web Design and Development Manager/Webmaster.
Core sites should have the following pages:

  • a contact page (e.g., contact.cfm)
  • for academic departments: information about academic programs
  • for service departments: information about services, location, etc,

Examples of sites providing core institutional information:

  • all sites listed on the home page  
  • all colleges
  • all departments within a college
  • all offices offering administrative or student services (Registrar, Student Affairs, Student Activities, Admissions, etc.)

Site naming policies
Please use only lower case letters, numbers, underscores and dashes in your file names and folder names. The only exception to this rule is the "Applicaton.cfm" file, which the server uses to identify and distinguish your site from others; it must be spelled with the first "A" capitalized. All files on our server are case sensitive, meaning "test.html" is different from "Test.html" and "test.hTmL". Our server will enforce the naming convention where possible, but you should hold to the naming convention to avoid confusion.

Keep file and folder names short but meaningful: "scholarships" is good; "fallscholarships2002" is not. Keep in mind that longer file names are harder to type in and remember.

The default web page in any directory should be named "welcome.cfm". It ideally should be the first page you create in any new directory, and serves as the default page sent to the user should they not specify a specific page. This includes your site's home page, so your home page should be in a file named “welcome.cfm” in your site's top folder. You may name any subsequent files in the directory as you wish, as long as the file names are short but meaningful, as mentioned above.

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