NYU.edu is maintained by a content management system and a growing community of users that know the content they need to deliver to their various audiences, but may need some guidance in the fine tuning of that information.

Here are some of our suggestions for best practices when creating content on the Web.


  • For longer texts with several headings, create a bulleted list with red links to add anchors to headers.
  • Alt text is required for images (including promos with images) in the CMS. Use thoughtful alt text to provide users who can’t see the image with alternative content.
  • Itemized lists should be bulleted.
  • There should be no space under your headings.
  • Make a note that your links go to an external website. 
  • With the exception of page that contain form inputs, links should not open in new windows. This is not good for screen readers and degrades usability.
  • URLs for PDFs: Any non-HTML links (PDFs, DOCs, etc.) are to be notified in brackets and add the memory size is also desirable.
    • Example: Annual Report (PDF) or Annual Report (PDF: 30k)
    • Image links to PDFs are not recommended – unless it's a PDF icon next to a link.
    • Don't use headings as links to PDFs.
  • Add a "go to top" link to longer pages.
  • Pages with "notes" should be bold with the rest of sentence italicized. Example: "Note: The deadline is next month."
  • However, italics cause problems for people with dyslexia, and should be used sparingly.
  • Do not bold AND underline text. This confuses normal content with links.

Screen Readers

Computer users who have vision loss that prevents them from seeing content on screen use applications known as screen readers that read the content aloud. It is important to consider their experience when creating content online, and these guidelines usually align very well with general web standards. For instance, it is important for all users that your content has descriptive, logical headers to structure your page.


Closed captions typically show a transcription of the audio portion of a video as it occurs (either verbatim or in edited form), sometimes including non-speech elements. The Video Player component in the CMS allows you to map a caption file to a video so that captions can be enabled by a site visitor. The CMS Media Player Tutorial page contains more information.

Digital Rights

Digital rights are the protections, freedoms and responsibilities extended to individuals who use and create content for electronic and digital mediums, including the Internet.  "Digital citizens" have the right to privacy and freedom of expression, but also have the responsibility to use digital information and properties ethically and legally.

Incorporated in digital rights is data protection and privacy.  NYU.edu is diligent in creating original content or using content created by others only with their legal permission.

Plagiarism and copying someone else's intellectual property is not only unethical, but a violation of digital rights. This includes the borrowing of text, images and any multimedia. Likewise, authors and the content they produce are protected. Read the Information Technology policy on world wide web use to find out more. 

Web Standards

A site that has been built to web standards generally will be:

  • Less bandwidth intense and faster to load for site viewers
  • Easier to maintain and document
  • Compatible with newer & older browsers, including mobile devices
  • Accessible to all users, including the visually and hearing impaired
  • Given more relevant search placement in search engines such as Google

Tags and Keywords

When tagging your content:

  • Be specific - pick the most precise tags as possible.
  • Chose the appropriate tags!
  • Keywords - make sure your keywords are mirrored on the page to help improve the page's searchability.
  • Words in the page should mirror/repeat your headers and your titles.
  • Tags and keywords should be the same or similar to the title of the page.

File Naming

The University's content management system automatically names your pages so that they follow best practices for searchability and accessibility.

This is a filename that clearly defines for the site viewer the nature and purpose of the content on the page.

For example, a page containing information regarding financial aid for returning students should be named something like financial-aid-returning-students.html and not financialaidretstu.html or finaidretstu.html.