Web Guidelines Handbook

Table of Contents Information Disclaimer



The Office of Academic Computing (OAC) has established "Web Guidelines Handbook" at the request of web authors for reference material on how to best develop departmental web sites.

The “UTHSC-H” is used to create the focus on the Health Science Center at Houston. The UTHSC-H "Web Guidelines Handbook" is for reference only and are recommendations not necessarily approved by the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UT-Houston).

In the event of a discrepancy between the UTHSC-H "Web Guidelines Handbook" and any documents containing "Policies and Procedures" issued by UT-Houston, the documents issued by UT-Houston shall take precedence.

For that reason the end of this document includes a list of links to "Policies and Procedures" issued by UT-Houston.

As part of the mission of OAC, we provide web access to technical resources which adhere to federal, state and university laws.


Roles and Responsibilities











Resource Discovery and Meta Tags

What’s New to Web Guidelines Handbook

Suggestions and Comments Welcome.

Author: George J. Rogers
OAC - Web Site Content Coordinator

Last Update: 04/28/03
Revision Archive


Published for Comments: 05/31/01

Editoral Review: 07/17/01 by
UT-Houston Web Coordinators

Drafted: 05/22/01




Overview - Back to Top

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UT-Houston) enterprise has established a web site (http://www.uth.tmc.edu) which is accessible through the Internet and local intranet, it is for public, faculty, staff, student, and guest use worldwide. It provides access to both public and private information through a web browser.

The purpose of UTHSC-H web site is to share information about the university and its schools in an efficient and effective manner to the public and to employees alike. This will allow the public and employees to gain and share the knowledge necessary to achieve the goals of the university.

The intended audience for this document includes users of the UTHSC-H web site. This includes users, authors, publishers and managers of the information.
Important Note: UTHSC-H web site is a privately owned web site residing on a computing network owned by UT-Houston and is for public and private use. Anyone using UTHSC-H web site must adhere to the policies and which may be subject to monitoring.

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Roles & Responsibilities - Back to Top

The most important person in making UTHSC-H a success is you.  The more you use it and the more you demand that information you need be placed on it, the more useful a tool it becomes.  A list of the people and groups involved in preparing web content and administering UTHSC-H follows.

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Use UTHSC-H to gain and share knowledge about the enterprise and to do work. Public and Private usage available.


  • Adhere to UTHSC-H standards, guidelines and policies
  • Submit recommendations for enhancements to the UTHSC-H OAC Web Site Coordinator
  • Use UTHSC-H routinely

















Serve as responsible party for all material being posted to the UTHSC-H web site. Web site owner is the department head or its designated represenative.


  • Responsible for creating and organizing on-line presence over Internet/Intranet
  • Manages web authors and web publishers
  • Approve content being posted to the web
  • Identify information and applications that would benefit from being on UTHSC-H web site

















The "Content Owner" is the person or organization primarily responsible for creating the intellectual information to be included or referenced from a web page.


  • Adhere to guidelines established for content
  • Ensure materials are accurate, current and appropriate public viewing

Note: Content Owners, Web Authors, Web Publishers may be the same person.

In many instances one person serves multiple roles.  Contact the member who represents your area (noted at the bottom of each web page) if you are interested in adding information to your department, function or site page.













UTHSC-H WEB AUTHOR - Back to Roles


Create web pages for UTHSC-H utilizing editing software.


  • Obtain standard software and templates
  • Adhere to standards and guidelines established by the university related to web site design
  • Serve as contact for web page "Content Owners"
  • Verify all links, especially to external sources
  • Maintain web content and ensure that it is updated in a timely manner

Note: Content Owners, Web Authors, Web Publishers may be the same person.

In many instances one person serves multiple roles.  Contact the member who represents your area (noted at the bottom of each web page) if you are interested in adding information to your department, function or site page.

























Create web pages for UTHSC-H utilizing editing software.


  • Obtain standard software and templates
  • Adhere to standards and guidelines established by the university related to web site design
  • Serve as contact for web authors
  • Approves content being posted to the web
  • Maintain web content and ensure that it is updated in a timely manner

Note: Content Owners, Web Authors, Web Publishers may be the same person.

In many instances one person serves multiple roles.  Contact the member who represents your area (noted at the bottom of each web page) if you are interested in adding information to your department, function or site page.









UTHSC-H WEB SITE SUPPORT provided by OAC - Back to Roles


Develop and implement an Intranet/Internet system that supports the exchange of information. Represent management on matters related to UTHSC-H applications and usage.


  • Develop recommended standards, guidelines and policies for use in web site design
  • Provide approval for new UTHSC-H Web Sites
  • Monitor and implement suggestions for improvements that support UTHSC-H's purpose
  • Network with Web Site Owners, Content Owners, Web Authors, and Web Publishers
  • Share best practices for exchanging information with employees learned from interactions with external audiences (clients, staff, faculty, authors, etc.)
  • Serve as sounding board for UTHSC-H web site issues
  • Assign authoring space to users on UTHSC-H web servers
  • Provide technical support for web authors and web publishers within UTHSC-H
  • Develop and support web form generation
  • Develop and support streaming audio and video
  • Locate, develop and maintain processes for keeping web content current
  • Develop and support search and discovery methods for use on web servers
  • Locate and develop web authoring courseware
  • Develop and maintain web author database
  • Improve communication between web authors











Web Site Information / Content - Back to Top

For the purpose of this document, information published on a web site will be referred to as Content. Content may be classified as public, private or confidential. Each classification must be handled according to federal and state regulations.

  • Public Content is available to anyone without restrictions.

  • Private or Confidential content is restricted to the owner and/or a restricted group.

Web site content categories.

  • Links to public external web sites on the World Wide Web (Internet).
  • Public information of interest to users, staff, faculty and students (Internet). 
  • Public volunteer and cultural opportunities sanctioned by the university (Internet).
  • Private information that is “confidential” in nature and owned by client, staff, faculty or student (intranet).
  • Private information that is “confidential” to the university as a whole (intranet).
  • Links to public or private internal web sites and web-enabled databases and applications (intranet).

Web site content generally fits into one of three categories.

  • Static Content is essentially a “one-to-many” communication. Teams, departments or organizations can establish web pages in which information (one) is available to a large audience (many).

  • Dynamic Content is a “two-way interaction”, in which the site visitor inputs data, makes selections or accesses other applications. Dynamic content helps the university automate manual tasks through the use of on-line forms.

  • Collaborative Content is a “many-to-many” interaction. These include newsgroups or discussion databases that facilitate direct exchanges of information between members of a group, making information available to others within the group, while simultaneously making information available to all other group members.

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Acceptable Web Pages - Back to Top

University web servers are intended to be the single source for storing web based university information stored. Methods for storage and access to the information will be done in compliance with all federal, state and university policies. Only those web pages that meet these policies will be enabled for access.

Web pages stored on UTHSC-H web servers should meet the university's Graphic Standard guidelines. Web page owners should refer to the guidelines and make any necessary changes. Over time, as these pages are modified, improvements will be made in order to comply with design guidelines.

Minimum requirements for web pages on UTHSC-H web sites are as follows:


Web pages will meet all federal, state and university policies as published in the areas of data collection, data access, content distribution, storage and graphic presentation.





All web pages link to the main UTHSC-H home page (http://www.uth.tmc.edu), all division or lab web page s link to their department's page, if one exists. (This may change to all web pages provide a link to the UT-Houston home page)




The official UT-Houston logo is displayed.




Contact information for the web page author (name and/or active email link) and date of last modification or content update appear on the bottom of each web page.
(Example: footer)




The use of web server storage and hosting services are limited to official university sanctioned groups and/or functions.




Content is current and as accurate as possible.



Advertisement of items for sale MUST comply with current UT System regulations.

UT Compliance officer reserves the right to disable any web pages that do not meet federal, state or university policies.


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How to Get a Place on UTHSC-H - Back to Top

Follow the simple instructions to request a web presence on the UTHSC-H web site.


Review the recommended "Web Guidelines Handbook" for web publishing on the UTHSC-H web site and review HOOP published polices for publishing information electronically.




Gather the information that you wish to put up on the UTHSC-H web site.




Decide if you should publish the information or wither you need to organize a departmental web team. Divide the information if part of it is to be owned by the department and part is privately owned by you.




Determine if the material you wish to publish needs approval by your supervisor or department head.




Have someone within your department review the material before you publish it. Get their input and make changes as needed.




Determine the software to be used in developing web pages. (Dreamweaver or Netscape Composer)




Request web space on the UTHSC-H web site by filling out the “Web Request Form".




OAC will review proposed web material for HIPAA and FERPA compliance.




Begin publishing web pages on the UTHSC-H web site.



Note: Once material is reviewed and approved, creation and access to the department or clinical web directory will be issued to the web site owner and web page authors.

The department or clinic that is represented by the web site is responsible for the site, content collection, content distribution and any information presented in the site. OAC provides web site disk storage and network administration of hardware and software resources only. Responsibility for web site content lies within the department or clinic originating content.
Only web site owners can add or delete web page authors from a web group once set up by OAC.

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Web Site Compliance Guidelines - Back to To 

Web Site Compliance Guidelines are provided to eliminate the legal
liability in the collection and distribution of information within the

If your existing web site is located on or to be moved to the UTHSC-H
web servers, the site will be reviewed with the following in mind:

1) Compliance with federal and state government regulations.

If your departmental web site is in violation of federal or state laws that protect the confidentiality of patients, students, employees and University activity, the use of the pages will be immediately disabled from public access to eliminate the risk of liability to the university. You will be informed of the violation and be given a solution and time to correct the problem. Your department must then
provide a schedule for when your web site violations will be corrected.
Web pages in violation will not be enabled for public access until the
violations are eliminated. In addition, the university's compliance officer and security manager will be copied on all communications concerning the violation.

2) Compliance with HOOP policies for information or content distribution
and collection issued by The University of Texas - Health Science Center
at Houston.

If your departmental web site violates HOOP policies, the use of the pages may be disabled from public access based on the nature of the violation
to eliminate the risk of liability to the university. You will be informed of the violation and be given a solution and time to correct the problem. Your department must then provide a schedule for when your web site violations will be corrected. Web pages disabled from public access because of violations will not be enabled for public access until violations are eliminated. In addition, the university's compliance officer and security manager will be copied on all communications concerning the violations.

For more I.T. security issues related to web page design and development see www.uth.tmc.edu/itsecurity/IT_Laws.htm

or contact Cynthia.M.Davis@uth.tmc.edu IT Security Manager.

  HIPAA (quote)

The requirements outlined by the law and the regulations promulgated by DHHS are far-reaching--all healthcare organizations that maintain or transmit electronic health information must comply.

This includes health plans, healthcare clearinghouses, and healthcare providers, from large integrated delivery networks to individual physician offices. After the final standards are adopted, small health plans have 36 months to comply. Others, including healthcare providers, must comply within 24 months.

The law provides for significant financial penalties for violations:

General Penalty for Failure to Comply:

Each violation: $100.
Maximum penalty for all violations of an identical requirement: May not exceed $25,000.

Wrongful Disclosure of Individually Identifiable Health Information:

Wrongful disclosure offense: $50,000 fine, imprisonment of not more than one year, or both.
Offense under false pretenses: $100,000 fine, imprisonment of not more than 5 years, or both.
Offense with intent to sell information: $250,000 fine, imprisonment of not more than 10 years, or both.

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Design Guidelines - Back to Top

Design guidelines are provided for frontend web pages and backend applications. Web page templates and links to existing pages and applications are provided as examples of "Best Practice" methods. These best practice methods will speed up the time it takes to develop and maintain a web site. They will also help you keep the cost and time of maintenance down to a minimum.

Other designs are acceptable if the pages are already in existence. Over time, as existing pages are revised, the design will need to come into compliance with UTHSC-H guidelines, policies, and procedures.

The following "Design Guidelines" are suggested recommendations for "Best Practice" methods for designing web sites.

Adobe Acrobat & Portable Document Format (PDF)
Adobe Acrobat is the application that writes a PDF file (Portable Document Format). PDF's are best used for complex documents that may require a quality hard-copy version of the document. The PDF format provides a limited amount of security to stop a computer user from modifying the content of the original document. The file can be saved locally and printed, but cannot be modified. If you are e-mailing brochures to clients this would be the format to use. When you link to a PDF file, set the target to body in order to open the PDF reader in a new browser window.
<a href="Adobe_PDF_Example.pdf" target="body">

An anchor is an invisible tag within a web page that a web author uses to reference somewhere else within the same web page. When a bookmark link is checked you go to the anchor with that name. This can be done with the existing document or an external document. (Example: Back to Top is an anchor.)

There are multiple methods used to animate graphics. One method is an animation with a series of images imbedded within a GIF file (Example: Spotlight ). Another example would be the execution of Java Script (Example: Don't, Pencil, Flash) within a HTML page which will load images into a given region on a web page with a delay between images set in seconds. These are the most popular methods for creating simple animated graphics.

Note: Web pages should not be overly graphical or animated without a purpose. If using animations, make certain that the file size is small. Animations can interfere with printing, loading and navigation mechanisms. Constant motion can be very annoying to some users who are trying to read the page. Looping animations cause a constant loading cycle to be performed. Animations should be used only if they add clarity to the information or content being presented.

Blinking Images and Blinking Text
Avoid using "blink" unless you really have a need to draw that kind of attention to a section of your document. Although cute, many viewers find it annoying.

Bookmarks are used to jump directly to information that have named anchors in a particular spot within the web document. Bookmarks are used to provide a way of navigating a web document that has been broken into specific groups of information.

Brochures and Pamphlets
These documents typically are longer and more complex than those produced in a word processor. They often contain layout specifications such as those produced in document layout programs such as Adobe PageMaker or Quark Xpress. Many of these programs are being released with HTML conversion capabilities. PageMaker has a built in converter, and Quark has an add-on capability. These converters will save time, but cannot be relied upon to do a perfect conversion; additional modification of code may be needed. As a rule, make brochures and pamphlets available on the web as PDF files.

Bulletin Boards
Bulletin Boards are public forums where clients, staff, faculty, students and the public can post questions and responses. Please note that it is a good idea to be thoughtful of your words when making suggestions, leaving feedback or asking questions. (In the United States, a case is before the courts in which an employee is suing coworkers for negative comments they posted about the employee on a bulletin board.) To be safe, make only factual, emotionless comments. Also, read through several questions and responses before posting to get the tone of how the board operates and to see if your question has already been answered. (Examples: example #1 , example #2)

Calendars indicating the timing of business and enterprise-sanctioned activities can be useful reference tools. For items of interest to the enterprise or functions, consider some form of a calendar.

Prepare charts in Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint or Word as you normally would. These can be left in their original format since most workstations contain these programs. When you link to an application specific file, set the target to body to open the file in a new browser window.
<a href="Word_Example.doc" target="body">

Try to maintain a consistent look through the web site, each site should standardize on the font, size, and color of text of each page. Select colors and fonts that are easy to view on a variety of resolutions.

Content Approvals
Any department or organizational group wishing to make information available through the web must:

  • Have a management approve the content for publication to the web (Content Owner).
  • Insure the information is current and an individual has been assigned the responsibility of keeping the information current and up-to-date (Web Author).

Contact Information
An email link called "footer" should be located at the bottom left corner of each web page. This will be contact information for the person that published the web page. (Example: yourname@uth.tmc.edu)

Acknowledge all copyrights and sources of information used on your pages. Assume all information from other sites is copyrighted. Copyright laws apply to both text and graphics that are included within web pages. The default is that the copyright belongs to the author/publisher. Obtain documented consent if you want to use another person or company's material. This applies to words as well as images.

Data Base
There are client side databases (Example: Access) and server side databases (Example: Oracle, SQL, Ingres). Both can be used in a web-enabled environment. Client side databases are not secure if access is available over the Internet. Server side databases can be enabled to provide a very robust secure environment. OAC supports server side development because of the secure environment it offers. All client side databases will be required to move to a server type database in order to be in compliance with Federal and State laws.

There are Public access folders and Restricted access folders on the web servers located in OAC. The Content Author will determine the type of folder. The decision will be based on who has access rights to view the content.

Microsoft Word, PowerPoint Presentation or Slideshow, Excel Spreadsheet and other applications that are standard on all desktops may be left in their original format since every workstation has these tools. When using a non-standard web applications, such as Visio, which is not on everyone’s workstation, you should convert or redo the documents in HTML format for global viewing. When you link to an application specific file, set the target to body to open the file in a new browser window.
<a href="Word_Example.doc" target="body">

Download Speeds
Test download speed of pages to be viewed. Keep a minimum download speed of 28K band in mind.

Microsoft FrontPage and Macromedia Dreamweaver allow the user to drag and drop Excel spreadsheets onto a web page under development and automatically convert it to its HTML equivalent. Excel documents also can be left in their original format and can be linked in a HTML web page since every workstation has this program. Set the target to "body" to open the excel spreadsheet in a new occurrence of Internet Explorer or Netscape.

(Example: <a href:"http://uth.tmc.edu/aims/test.xls" target="body">)

Font - (Example)
Default font is the standard font for UTHSC-H. Other fonts may be used. Be sure to maintain consistency with your use of different fonts. If you use Helvetica for your navigation bar on one page make sure you use it on all navigation bars within your site. The more fonts you use the harder it is to keep the site consistent. Multiple fonts applied erratically makes the web site look unprofessional in appearance.

Each page of a site must have information at the bottom showing the date the site was last updated and the person who is the contact for comments and questions about the specific web page.

Forms should be designed to be self explanatory and easy to complete. The web page form may be generated in any HTML authoring software. The back end programming will need to be written in JSP (Java Server Pages). Any existing forms that use CGI, Perl, ASP, FrontPage extensions will have to be rewritten to work in Java. Java provides for the most secure environment available for generating back end programming to support on-line forms. On-Line forms can be written to write an email response or write to a database file.

Using frames is discouraged to because they are not compatible across all web browsers. In addition, "Search Engine Indexing" across frames is currently a problem.

Graphic Guidelines
The "Graphic and Editorial Guide" was created by UT-Houston to promote a unique and consistent image. This includes the graphic elements identified by The University of Texas - Health Science Center at Houston as Corporate Name, University Seal, and University Logo. Use of these fall under HOOP policies. If you have questions as to appropriate or in-appropriate use, look first on the web site and then, if still un-answered, contact the planning office.

Graphic Design
Graphic design deals with bringing multiple components together into a graphic presentation over the web. This includes the use of composite graphics, animations, audio and video clips. Web Site Owners and Web Authors wishing to have their pages designed professionally by graphic designers are encouraged to contact the Scriptorium manager.

Graphs - See charts.

Hard Copy Materials
If part of your information only exists as hard copy, then your first task is to get the content onto the computer. There are several ways to achieve this.

For text there are generally two methods, you can scan it in and using an optical character recognition (OCR) program to convert the scanned information to text files or, you can retype the text into your computer. If you have OCR scanning capabilities, this is usually the best approach for high volumes of copies. For a low volume of copies it might be easier to just retype the information.

Images can be scanned and then manipulated on the computer. However, sometimes electronic copies of the images are available. This is by far the best approach since the original images are usually of much higher quality, and have not been manipulated or altered.

HTML - Hypertext Markup Language
The normal format for a web page is HTML, the native language of the web. The specifications we have chosen to follow for the enterprise intranet is based on the 4.0 release of HTML, which is supported by Netscape and Microsoft Explorer. Supported HTML editors include Macromedia Dreamweaver, Netscape Composer, and Microsoft FrontPage.

Relevant images, animations and video clips can add significantly to the information content of a web page. They also add time to the authoring process and can increase the download time of web pages. Avoid large graphics whenever possible. Notify users of large graphics or multimedia files, and let the user choose whether or not to view these large files. It is common practice to put small thumbnail images on the web pages that are linked to the full size graphical image. Avoid using many small images. The way computers retrieve web documents requires that a separate connection to a web server be initiated for each image. The time involved in negotiating this connection may actually be longer than the time involved in retrieving the image itself.

Images can be scanned and saved in any of the graphics formats that can be read by Microsoft Photo Editor (the enterprise standard), Adobe Photoshop or another graphic editing tool. Images can be manipulated and converted to one of the formats (GIF or JPG) required by HTML. The JPG format is better for photographs, whereas the (GIF) format is better for graphs and charts.

It is preferable to reference (thus re-use) images within a web site instead of creating new ones. You can use a small set of navigational icons that appear on every page on your web site. To do this, place the commonly used images in a directory and point all references to these images to the same location. This is preferred over copying the common images to each sub-directory.

Being able to produce high quality, but low file-size images is critical to an efficient web page. Knowledge of image scanning, image processing and computer-based drawing and illustration is highly recommended for people who are doing any significant amount of work with web graphics.

Image File Format - *.gif, *.jpg
In general, use the GIF format for general graphics and JPG for photographs. JPGS produces larger compressed files of photographic content, whereas GIF does a better job with illustrations or images that contains large areas of the same color. Specialized images, photographs and illustrations that are specific to a particular web page must be converted to the appropriate web format (GIF or JPG). Hard copy images also can be scanned into the computer and saved to one of the two graphic formats.

Applications such as Microsoft Photo Editor and Adobe Photoshop can enhance, modify, reformat, re-color, and resize scanned images, but requires some experience with image processing.

There are three types of lists that are in common use today on the web: the unordered or bullet list, the ordered or numbered list and the directory or glossary list. Combinations of these three lists provide the versatility needed to produce any list structure.

Create a sub-directory under your project directory called images. This directory should contain all graphic images including logos. All web authors should put their graphics in the image directory and reference to it in their web pages.  (<img src="http://www.uth.tmc.edu/derm/images/logo.gif">)

Labeling your HTML pages with META tags will ensure that your page will be found when a search engine is used. The advanced search queries of a search engine will use the tags located in your pages. If you have no META tags in your pages, detailed search queries may overlook your pages.

Monitor Differences
Always test web pages on different size monitors and with different monitor resolutions. Certainly check them on the actual systems you know will be used to view the pages.

Navigation within a web site can be done by linking text or graphic images to specific web pages.
(Examples: text navigation, image navigation)

Obtain permission before publishing a photograph within a web page. It is recommended that the permission should be in writing and be retained for the life of the information being used. Federal and State laws protect personal information.

Plug Ins
Common Plug-ins include Adobe Acrobat Reader, Real Player and Macromedia Flash.

PDF - Portable Documents File
 Portable Document Format (PDF) is the document format provided by Adobe Acrobat. PDF is an enterprise standard and is best used for complex documents that may require a quality hard-copy version of the document that retains its format. Otherwise, it is advisable to convert these documents to Hypertext Mark-up Language (HTML).

PowerPoint presentations may be saved as HTML or loaded in their original format since most workstations contain this program. The choice of whether to convert presentations to HTML depends on several factors.

  • Would you like the slide show presentation features of PowerPoint viewed over the web?
  • The standard features of PowerPoint can be achieved with Dynamic HTML features.
  • Will this substitution work for your needs?
  • Does the person creating the presentation know Dynamic HTML?

Fortunately, PowerPoint is a standard application on most enterprise computers, so most can open the file. Set the target to "body" to open the PowerPoint slideshow in a new occurrence of Internet Explorer or Netscape.
(Example: <a href:"http://uth.tmc.edu/aims/test.pps" target="body">)

Note: The text in your PowerPoint presentation must be large enough to be viewed easily within the web browser. Users will also need to close the presentation to return to your web page.

Designing everything for 21" monitors with standard 1024x768 resolution is preferred. View pages at alternate resolutions (1280x1024, 1152x864, 1024x768, 800x600) and alternate monitor sizes (21", 19", 17", 15"). Design web pages to look good at any size or resolution.

Restricted Web Pages or Directories
To establish restricted web pages where only certain people can have access to the information, contact OAC Web Site Content Coordinator.

Search is the function of looking for material within a web site. The search criteria is defined by the client by keyword or specific query language. Web pages have to be created with search engines in mind so the client can search across thousands of web pages to fine the right one. Using meta tags in your web pages is a way of helping the search engines find your web pages.

UTHSC-H current search capability is restricted to WEB PAGES using Netscape Publisher and to those pages submitted to the CWIS database from the university home page.

Macromedia Dreamweaver, Netscape Composer and Microsoft FrontPage are the enterprise standard tools for the creation of web pages for UTHSC-H.

Sound is supported. Contact the Scriptorium for details.

Tables are excellent structures for page layout. Use them to establish the layout or your text, images and form elements.

Text should be converted to HTML to be published on UTHSC-H. In some cases, text may be linked as a Word document. Text can be displayed as a graphic, but it will increase the download time to view the document. (see download)

Title Your Page
It is critical that you select a concise, meaningful title for your page(s). Titles such as "Introduction" or "Home Page" for example, are not suitable. Be a specific and concise as possible. A detailed, descriptive name will make it easier for UTHSC-H Search Engine to find your web pages.

Tile Tag Format:                   <Title>School of Nursing homepage</Title>
Examples of Bad Titles:       orthopedics, my home page, general information
Examples of Good Titles:     U.T. Houston – Orthopedics Home Page

Updating Content
Content owners are responsible for keeping the information they have posted on UTHSC-H current. Information that is outdated must be removed or the site may be removed from UTHSC-H. (This is the only way we can make sure UTHSC-H contains the most useful, accurate, and up-to-date content.)

Video is supported. Contact Scriptorium for details.


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Suggested Homepage Links - Back to Top

Five Suggested Links for UT-Houston Web Pages

UTHSC-H guidelines recommend that you locate the following links either in text or graphically on your departments home page.


UT-Houston Home Page - link to http://www.uth.tmc.edu, all departmental homepages (index.html, default.html) should link back to UTHSC-H homepage.




Departmental Home Page - link all homepages (index.html, default.html) should link back to UTHSC-H homepage.




Search - an application that will search across all UT-Houston web sites (full body text, meta tags).




Contact Us - Send your feedback or questions about the site to the department web author.




UT-Houston Bulletin Board - posting of events or activities.




Calendars - department calendars.




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 Content and Design Tips - Back to Top




Identify the Purpose of Your Web Site – Write a single, concise sentence that stats the purpose and then create a list of the information you will provide. It is important to do this early in the planning stage. Evaluate and analyze the available content and list what content is ready but not yet available. For each item list the content owner for approval, updating, and content accuracy.




Organize Your Information - It is very important to create a strategy to organize information on your web site. It should be considered a place where information is retrieved and used versus simply being an area in which information is stored. Often it is helpful to use an organization chart structure to show where information will be placed and how the different web pages will be linked together.




Start Small and Plan for Growth - If you are new to web publishing, start small and plan for growth. Engage the assistance of more experienced Web Authors, especially in the initial design stages. View and learn from other web sites. Use the view source and bookmark options in your browsers. Learn from other Web Authors examples.




Design Choices - Early in the design of your web pages, spend some time articulating the goals of your web documents. The purpose and use of the content can dictate certain design choices. These choices will determine how much time is spent to maintenance of documents.




Navigation - When organizing your site, provide a clear order for content by subject or by some other form of reasonable entry into the web site. Some useful methods are a "Table of Contents" and "Searchable Indexes". Provide a main entry point, or top view, which makes it easy for users to find the content that most interests them. Offer multiple ways to the same content since not all readers seek the same information in the same way. A good glossary or index should cross-reference information. With links you can refer to the same information in many ways. Do so where it helps the users without overwhelming them.




Manage Content Changes - A "What's New" section helps users to quickly identify materials that you have changed. This should be a linked index ordered by date.




Directory Structure - The top levels of the web site, usually the general information, should be identified early and placed at the top of the directory structure.




Content Ownership - Content Owners and Web Authors must follow the ownership rules when making changes to web sites.




Directory Structure and Navigation - A close relationship between the directory structure and page navigation can make it easier to maintain a site as content is revised and expanded. Remember that change in one part of your web space can have an impact on other parts of your site that have share links or references. The easier it is for you to see these relationships while maintaining underlying documents, the more likely that your site as a whole will be kept up-to-date and cohesive.


Web Page Load Time - Often, you may assume that many of your readers will arrive at your page because they need and want the information presented. There is a tension between the amount of content you pack into a web page and your audience's desire to get the information as quickly and efficiently as possible. Maximize valuable and usable content in smallest possible size document to minimize load time.




Naming Convention - Create a naming convention for your web pages and stick with it. Once your web site is published, users worldwide will begin bookmarking your pages for quick reference. DO NOT rename pages if the web pages have been published for any length of time. Users do not like going to dead web pages.




Dead Links - Check your web site for dead links. If you link to web pages developed by other Web Authors, their links may change, kill any dead link from you to them. Check external links to check your site often. Dead links on your web site for whatever reason reflects badly on your site.



There is no single recipe or structure to a good web site that you can apply to all types of content. Good Web Design comes from organizing your content and viewing your content as your visitor to your web site would see it.

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Glossary - Back to Top

Animation - Moving images. File format includes, MPG's, AVI's, and GIF's.

Authentication - A method used to identify a computer user before granting permission to network resources.  Permissions include read, write, and execute network resources.

Client/Server -  A computing paradigm wherein processing is divided between a graphical front-end application running on a user's desktop machine and a back-end server that performs data or storage-intensive processing tasks in response to client service requests.

Body -  The main structure of any Web document.

Bookmark -  A way to save web sites for easy recall in the future in a web browser.

Browser -  A program that requests documents from web servers and displays them on your computer.

Common Gateway Interface (CGI) -  The way browsers communicate with and request services from web servers.

Content -  Text or Graphic information presented through a web browser over the Internet or intranet.

Domain Name Servers (DNS) -A computer that resolves domain names (i.e. lyondell.com.) into physical addresses.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) -  An Internet protocol and service that provides network file transfer between any two network nodes for which a user has file access rights.

Firewall Servers -A computer that filters incoming and outgoing network traffic to create a secure environment.

Graphical User Interface (GUI; pronounced "gooey") - A program that makes graphics possible on the Intranet.

Graphics Information File (GIF) -  A compressed graphics file format patented by CompuServe and widely used online to create graphical elements.

Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) - The communication protocol developed for use by the World Wide Web.  HTTP defines how clients and servers communicate over the web. 

Hypertext -  A method of organizing text, graphics and other data for computer use, which allows individual data elements to point to one another. 

Internet -  A worldwide, networked computing community with millions of users worldwide that links all industries together.


Update Your Web Pages 

Review your web site pages routinely to correct information and to test links to other web sites. Links to external web sites could change without you knowing it. Check your links regularly.

Internet Protocol (IP) - The way computers communicate between each other over the Internet.

Intranet - A web-based network for internal use.  It is a network with restricted access that works like the Internet, but is contained completely within the enterprise.

Joint Photographic Experts' Group (JPG) -  A highly compressible graphics format designed to handle computer images of high-resolution including photographs.

Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) -  LDAP is a directory access service which gathers information across the university from Beeps, SIS, and Guest databases. The information is used for access authorization of web based information. Example: Restricted public access to departmental information.

Network File System (NFS) - A distributed file system originated by Sun Microsystems that is in wide use in TCP/IP networking environments. NFS allows users to access remote file systems as though they were an extension of their local hard drives.

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) - A type of software that can recognize characters as they occur in faxes or speed subsequent requests.

RGB Values - This is used by web developers and refers to the amount of red, green and blue in the colors on web pages.

Search Engine - A special web program that can search the contents of web pages based on keywords or other varibles supplied by the user.

Thumbnail - A miniature graphic used to link to a full-sized graphic. The thumbnail is smaller in size and will load quicker than the larger graphic.

Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) - The basic suite of protocols used to manage network communications and applications over the

Uniform Resource Locator (URL) - The primary naming scheme used to identify web resources. URLs define the protocols to be used, the domain name of the web server where a resource resides, the port address to be use for communication and directory path to access a named web document or resource.

World Wide Web (WWW) - A technical definition of the World Wide Web is: all the resources and users on the Internet that are using the Hypertext Transfer Protocol. Its becoing the universe of network-accessible information, an embodiment of human knowledge.

WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get; sometimes pronounced "Wizzywig") - A layout that shows users on-screen what a final, finished document will look like.


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Frequently Asked Questions - Back to Top

1.  Who can access the Intranet, UTHSC-H?

        Anyone can access the UTHSC-H web site. Some information on the site is restricted and is available only by UT-Houston LDAP directory service authentication. This is done to restrict private client information from becoming public, or to protect confidential enterprise information from becoming public.

2.  How can employees access UTHSC-H?

        UTHSC-H is a public available Internet web site and is accessible to everyone. The HTTP address is “http://www.uth.tmc.edu”.

Make UTHSC-H Your Home Page  with Internet Explorer

1.  Open Internet Explorer
2.  Click on Tools 
3.  Click on Internet Option
4.  In the Home Page Dialog Box, type "http://www.uth.tmc.edu" in the "Address": Field 
5.  Click Apply 
6.  Click OK 

Make UTHSC-H Your Home Page  with Netscape

1.  Open Netscape
2.  Click on Edit 
3.  Click on Preferences 
4.  In the Home Page Dialog Box, type "http://www.uth.tmc.edu" in the "Location": Field 
5.  Click OK 

3.  When is the UTHSC-H available?

          Excluding any time off for maintenance or acts of nature, UTHSC-H is available 24 hrs. a day, seven days a week.

4.  What information can be loaded on the UTHSC-H?

           Any information pertinent to the schools, students, faculty, and employees of UT-Houston that maybe is of value publicly or privately may be located on the UTHSC-H servers.

5.  Our site lists recreational opportunities; will UTHSC-H allow this?

           Site-specific information should be loaded on the site server and adhere to guidelines established by the Web Site Content Coordinator. Recreational opportunities that arise because UTHSC-H is involved in community relations activities may appear on the UTHSC-H intranet.

6.  What information is not allowed?

           Personnal advertising, illegal copies of copyright protected content, text or graphical, and public display of patient or client information is disallowed.

7.  What is the procedure for having content loaded onto the UTHSC-H?
          To have content you believe is of interest to the enterprise loaded, contact the UTHSC-H OAC Web Site Content Coordinator for instructions.  In general, if your content can become a part of an existing page that is owned by a department or individual, contact the person whose name is listed on the bottom of the web page.  If your content will appear as a separate web site on UTHSC-H, you or someone in your department should contact OAC to request the web site. See additional instructions.

8.  How long does the information publishing process take?

          If the material is provided in HTML and formatted to adhere to the "Web Guidelines Handbook" provided, loading can be accomplished in a very short time.  However, you must send your request in advance to get your project scheduled.  Projects will occur on a first-come, first serve basis as time allows. Emergency or similarly critical information can be loaded immediately but must follow the same standards and should be submitted respectful of other's time schedules.

9.  Do I have to hire a graphic designer to prepare the content I want published?

           No. By following the "Standards and Guidelines" you will find it very easy to publish and maintain a very professional looking web site. If additional design support is needed you can contact the "Scriptorium" manager for directions.

10.  I already have designed a web site.  Do I have to redesign it to fit into the look of UTHSC-H.

            Yes, although, given cost and resource constraints, you may be allowed to load your site right away if it is deemed to have critical business information. You must provide a schedule for when you will redesign your web pages to adhere to established UT-Houston policies.

11.  Will OAC provide support in developing a web site or pages?

           Development of web pages is made at the discreation of the Scriptorium staff including consideration of time and task.  Departments, whose sites have been approved, can access the standard tools so that they may develop sites themselves.  For assistance with the initial development, contact the UTHSC-H OAC Web Site Content Coordinator for instructions. If additional design support is needed, contact the "Scriptorium" manager.

12.  Does UTHSC-H contain a phone directory?

            Yes. Located on the UTHSC-H home page you will find the "White Pages Directory". The White Pages Directory is published by the Office of Academic Computing in cooperation with Management Systems Support, Information Services.  For this reason it is important for employees to make sure their contact information is accurate and up-to-date.

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Links to Reference Materials - Back to Top

Graphic and Editorial Guide (Sub-Section of HOOP) by Editorial Board of The University of Texas - Health Science Center at Houston

HOOP - Handbook of Operating Procedures by The University of Texas - Health Science Center at Houston

HIPAA Federal Guidelines - Public Law 104-191, The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, was signed into law on August 21, 1996.

FERPA State Guidelines - Family Educational Rights And Privacy Act

Internet Use and Publishing Guidelines - by Web Weavers of The University of Texas - Health Science Center at Houston



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Resource Discovery and Meta Tags - Back to Top

The following information will help you create a Web site that is searchable using meta tags.



Resource Discovery Work Group - Charge, membership, and meeting minutes




Standard Metadata Definitions for Web Documents - approved for public use.




People Soft Department Names - approved for use for publisher.component




HTML Tag Generator - A form that uses client input to generate HTML tags using standard formating.




Basic Search Tool - Full text based searches




Advanced Search Tool - advanced search combining full text and meta tags




Using uery Syntax - overview of how to do searches using natural query language




Powerpoint Presentations - Meta Tag introduction




Desk Top Brown Bags - Powerpoint presentations on Web Author training topics
  a) Meta Tag template - title, description,
  b) Search Engine - Basic, Advanced, Departmental


What's New to Standards and Guidelines - Back to Top

Changes are highlighted by date as they are made here and linked back to the section modified.



Added Section 13, Resource Discovery and Meta Tags, revised university name format to comply with guidelines.


Revision to "Acceptable Web Pages" as required by "Web Site Content Coorinators" work group.


General Revisions required by Cindy Davis, IT Security Manager.


General Revisions as required by "Web Site Content Coorinators" work group.


"Web Site Content Coorinators" review meeting.
a) Moved Roles and Responibilities to front of handbook.
b) Change "Web Site Content Coordinator" to "Web Publisher".
c) Move all OAC support roles to "Links to Reference Materials".
d) Remove Executive Sponsor and Council
e) Rework "Roles & Responsibilities" to include site owner, content owner, web author and web publisher


Issued to "Web Site Content Coorinators" work group for comments and approval.


General Revisions as required by editor’s comments, added revision archive.


Document name change from “Guidelines & Standards” to “Web Guidelines Handbook”


General Revisions


Initial Publication

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George J. Rogers 
Modified 04/29/03