Hints and tips
It is important that the quality of all BIS websites is high. We must meet both legal requirements for accessibility and usability and our own editorial standards to ensure we deliver the best quality websites possible.
Find and fix broken links. A SiteCheck report (available from John Turnbull) should help you to identify broken links on your pages
Check any links to other government websites. Sometimes you will find that these lead to an archived version of the original page (i.e. at the National Archives UK Government Web Archive). In such cases, try to update the link to point to an appropriate page on the other Department’s live website.
Titles of link text
The link text should be the title of the target webpage, e.g. HM Treasury budget 2010. In this example, the link text should not be ‘website’, ‘click here’, ‘HM Treasury’ or just ‘budget’. Make sure it is accurate, and specific enough to tell the user what the page is.
Do not over-capitalise, use sentence case.
It is better to hide the web address behind relevant link text. Do not show the website address, unless it important that website users know the address. In this case start the address with www, e.g. www.direct.gov.uk/studentfinance. Do not show http:// unless it is an https site or doesn’t have a www.
When you refer in the body text to a website/web page or document that is worth linking to, provide the link right there. Never say ‘see Related Links’.
Ideally you should create the link at the first reference. For example:
Every two years, Research Councils UK, (RCUK), a strategic partnership of the UK's Research Councils, publishes a ‘road map’ showing the prospective large science facilities that the Research Councils believe are of strategic importance for UK science over the next 15 years.
If the link is to a publication with a long title, it makes sense to place it underneath the paragraph referring to it:
The Government has also published the remit for the Low Pay Commission's 2011 report.
National Minimum Wage - Low Pay Commission remit for 2011 report and Government response to the 2010 report (PDF, 44 Kb)
Sidebar (panel) links
Use the Related Links panel for links to relevant web resources not already referenced in the main body of your page. Think of this as a list of supplementary reading to complement the main page content – but don’t overdo it; too many related links can unbalance the page and confuse the user.
Do not create lists of links at the end of a page. They should be in a sidebar panel, where they will be more visible. (A number of pages migrated by the Digital Media Team during the transition to Sitecore do have lists of related links at the bottom of the page. This was done to save time, and we are happy to advise on the quickest way of transferring these to a Related Links panel.)
Remember that you can also create your own panels containing text, links, images etc., and these can be re-used across as many pages as you like.
The ‘Our policy areas’ panel should only be visible if there are no other relevant related links to include in a panel. Contact the Digital Team if you want to remove this panel from a webpage.
Remember to link to Directgov and Business Link where appropriate, and ideally to specific relevant pages within these websites, e.g. Directgov consumer rights, Business Link employment and skills.
Where appropriate, include a contact for queries.
For Ministers, there is now a new set of ‘minister responsible’ panels in Sitecore. Select the Minister who is responsible for the policy area that your page covers. Alternatively, contact the Digital Media Team for help if you need a Minister to be cascaded through all of your pages, or a sub-section of them.
…News, speeches, publications
Where you can, link to recent and relevant press notices, speeches and publications. This will show users that your page is current and relevant.
Publications and other files should generally be no more than 2Mb in size, as any larger can be difficult for some users to open. Contact the Digital Media Team for advice on how to reduce file sizes.
Links and windows
For accessibility and usability reasons, Sitecore is set up so that all links to web pages open in the same browser window.
Note that PDF and Word documents do open in a new window, and this is good practice. It allows documents to download in the background and also prevents users from accidentally closing the browser window when they close the document.