Website and Social Media

Website

SUNY Cortland’s website is an important campus resource, often providing a visitor’s first look at the campus. It is one of the College’s primary tools for communicating with key audiences and presenting its public image.

The information contained in the Communication Guide is intended to promote the appropriate use of this medium and to enhance the College’s mission, vision and strategic initiatives.

Content Management System

Introduction

A content management system (CMS) is a web application that offers campus community members an easy, efficient and consistent way to create, update, publish and archive information on the web.

The CMS makes it possible for almost anyone to easily manage web content without knowing HTML or other web development tools.

Is It Easy?

Yes. With very basic training you will be able to edit your pages in a simple browser-based editor that's similar to Microsoft Word.

Training

Sign up for a training session for an overview of using dotCMS, or to refresh your knowledge in dotCMS and best practices for web content.

What If I Already Have Adobe Dreamweaver or Another Web Development Tool?

For the sake of uniformity, usability and accessibility, you will need to use the CMS. You will be able to edit your pages from any computer connected to the internet without worrying about saving your work to your computer. Also, you'll never have to be concerned about software upgrades or compatibility issues.

CMS Tutorials

For a review of frequently used dotCMS functions, visit SUNY Cortland's dotCMS reference guide. If you have not already been trained in dotCMS and best practices for web content, you will need to schedule training to gain access to dotCMS.

Website Content and Web Accessibility Standards

Introduction to Web Accessibility

Web accessibility refers to making web content available and readable to all users, including those with disabilities such as sight or hearing impairments.

SUNY Cortland is committed to providing all its constituents full access to information, programs and activities offered through the web. This effort is pursuant to both New York State policy and federal law, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Why Is It Important?

An estimated 20 percent of the population in the United States has some kind of disability. Accessible websites also benefit users with older browsers and may improve the site's search engine ranking.

Headings

  • Use headings liberally in your webpages. People who browse using a screen reader can use headings like a table of contents to "skim" through pages.
  • Avoid all caps in headings.
  • Avoid changing the colors on headings.

Accessible Links

  • Link text needs to be descriptive of its destination. A visitor should understand where a link will go based on the text of the link alone. Avoid language such as "Click Here" or "Read More".
  • When linking to a document other than another webpage, include the document's file format in parentheses at the end of the link:
  • Apply "Target: new window" to links sparingly because people who use alternative input devices may find it harder to navigate back to your original page.

Style and Formatting

  • Styles in the Content Management System (CMS) are set by the templates. Avoid adding custom styles or colors. If you paste content that retains colors, fonts or other custom styles, use the "Clear formatting" button to remove it.
  • Use bold sparingly to indicate when text is important.
  • Use italics sparingly to emphasize text. Screen readers will voice italic text with emphasis.
  • Use all caps only for acronyms or other situations where capital letters are intended. Screen readers may read all caps using a different tone.

Writing for the Web

  • Keep content short, simple and current.
  • Frequent use of bulleted lists, headings and short paragraphs makes content easier to read online.

Images

  • All images are required to have a descriptive alt text. When inserting a new image, fill in the image description field by describing its contents.
  • Banner photos on pages should be 848px by 403px.
  • Resize all images before uploading to the CMS. The maximum width is 850px; most can be much smaller.
  • Portrait images are typically 175px wide.

Video and Audio

Video content with synchronized audio requires closed captions, and sometimes descriptive audio. Audio content without synchronized video typically requires a descriptive transcript. Visit the accessibility section of the Promotional Video Guide for more information.

Reporting Web Accessibility Problems

The SUNY Cortland web presence consists of hundreds of sites that are managed and maintained by the individual departments and sponsoring organizations. The quickest way to have a web accessibility issue addressed is to contact the owner of the site directly. If the problem remains unresolved, please send notification using our Website Accessibility Feedback Form.

Web Policy

I. Introduction

SUNY Cortland’s website is an official communication tool of the College designed for sharing information with the campus community and its constituents.

SUNY Cortland’s Web Policy applies to information: (1) published on servers owned by SUNY Cortland; (2) published within the SUNY Cortland cortland.edu domain; and (3) published elsewhere under direction or control of a SUNY Cortland department, organization or individual, where the contents are identified as SUNY Cortland information.

In many instances, SUNY Cortland’s website is governed by the same policies that regulate similar operations across the College, such as campus advertising policies in the College Handbook, style guidelines in the SUNY Cortland Communication Guide and the Code of Student Conduct. Policies that are specific to use of the website are found in this document.

II. General Principles

The website will reflect the College’s mission and strategic plan as well as the goals and objectives that emanate from these initiatives.

The content presented on the website will be accurate, timely and responsive to SUNY Cortland’s key audiences. It also will meet the standards articulated in the College’s Communication Guide.

III. Accessibility

SUNY Cortland has a legal and moral imperative to ensure that its website and webpages on its servers attempt to meet every standard established by New York State’s Office for Technology.

While the College’s official web templates handle most accessibility issues, assistance will be provided to individuals and programs to bring new and/or existing content into compliance. In extreme cases, it may be necessary to temporarily remove content while revising it so that it conforms.

IV. User Responsibilities

The ability to add content to the College’s website by faculty, staff and students is considered a privilege, not a right, and users must abide by College policies and procedures.

Failure to conform with any College policy applicable to the website may result in the immediate loss of the ability to publish content on the web.

V. Content Management System

The College’s website is managed through a content management system (CMS). Individuals who publish information will be expected to work within the CMS.

VI. Template and Content Standards for Official SUNY Cortland Websites

Academic departments, administrative offices and student organizations are required to use the official web template for their page(s) when technically feasible. Web templates are located in the College’s content management system.

Department and administrative office heads are responsible for their unit’s web content. Each department or office shall designate one individual to be responsible for maintaining the accuracy and timeliness of website information and for ensuring that their unit’s webpage adheres to all relevant College policies. This individual also must acquire training related to creating and maintaining their website.

Students may develop websites for their clubs and organizations. Faculty and staff advisors to student organizations are responsible for those organizations’ webpages, while the Student Affairs Office is responsible for the content of any webpages developed by the Student Government Association. 

Web content must meet the following standards:

  • All websites should clearly identify the name of the College department, office or organization, include contact information and must meet the standards established in the SUNY Cortland Communication Guide.
  • Webpage content must not violate copyright or trademark laws and should adhere to the Copyright and Fair Use Policy of SUNY Cortland.
  • No anonymous information may be published on the College’s website. Information posted on all official SUNY Cortland webpages must contain the email address of the author, owner or sponsor of the information.
  • Non-college web content should not use or replicate the College’s templates in a manner that confuses content ownership.

VII. Personal Webpages

A personal webpage is defined as a webpage for any SUNY Cortland individual faculty member, staff member or student that contains information of a personal nature unrelated to their responsibilities at the College and to which a link has been established from an official College page.

  • Faculty, staff and students - Individual members of the faculty and staff may create their own personal webpages using the information technology resources of the College.
  • As authorized by their department head, faculty and staff may link their personal webpages to their department’s home page.
  • The following disclaimer must appear on all personal pages to which there is a link from any official College page: "The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author. The contents of this linked page have not been reviewed or approved by SUNY Cortland."
  • The content of personal webpages will not be maintained by Information Resources or Marketing Office staff.
  • The College does not guarantee the privacy or the public accessibility of personal webpages
  • Faculty and staff must abide by the Web Advisory Team's Policy Statement, taken from the SUNY Cortland Communication Guide. If a personal webpage is judged by the Web Advisory Team to contain material that is grossly offensive or inappropriate, the College may remove all links from official College pages to that personal page.
  • Personal webpages that violate College security policies, state and federal laws will be disabled immediately.
  • Personal webpages are subject to appropriate use as described in the Information Technology Resources Acceptable Use Policy, Section III, User Responsibilities.

VIII. Web Advisory Team

The Web Advisory Team (WAT) is appointed by SUNY Cortland’s president. This committee advises on issues related to the College’s website as well as broader concerns relevant to the web.

The WAT is responsible for developing policies, standards and procedures to ensure consistency and compliance throughout the College’s website.

The WAT proposes recommendations to the College president and the President’s Cabinet for review and approval. The WAT also serves as an initial contact point and clearinghouse for policy matters regarding the College’s website.

Members of the WAT are:

  • Michelle LoGerfo, marketing
  • Elizabeth Klein, childhood/early childhood education
  • Virginia Levine, President's Office
  • Joshua Peluso, systems administration and web services
  • Frederic Pierce, communications
  • Tracy Rammacher, marketing (chair)
  • John Sternfeld, biological sciences
  • Sharon Todd, recreation, parks and leisure studies
  • Gail Wood, library
  • Mark Yacavone, admissions

IX. Advertising on the Web

For more information regarding the College’s advertising policy, refer to the College Handbook.

Social Media Accessibility Best Practices

Social media has become a daily part of professional and personal lives. SUNY Cortland encourages the use of social media as a way to promote programs and activities. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and others help inform students, employees, alumni and fans of events and newsworthy information. It is a fantastic way to connect and engage audiences.

If you haven’t already, register your social media site.

Making Social Media Accessible

These tools that we have come to use and love are often equally important to a person with a disability. According to the Office of Civil Rights, since the College maintains various social media accounts, it is our responsibility to make the posted content accessible and in compliance with Web Consortium Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, Level A and AA.

General

  1. All Cortland social media must comply with all applicable College policies and guidelines, including but not limited to:
    • The Communication Guide
    • Information Resources policies
    • Human Resources policies
  2. Include contact information on your social media account page. List a primary phone number and email address where users can reach your office or provide a link to your website that lists the appropriate contact information.
  3. Make your social media content available through more than one channel. Provide easy points of entry for more information. Most social media sites allow embedding of widgets on your website.
  4. Keep it simple. When possible, write in plain language, limit your use of hashtags, abbreviations and acronyms. When writing hashtags, use CamelCase — capitalizing the first letters of compound words as in #CortlandPride.
  5. Alternative Text. Adding alternative text or descriptions ensures that people with visual impairments will understand what is going on in the image. The text should be brief, but informative. Each social site has a different method for describing images.
  6. Learn the accessibility requirements and periodically test your content for accessibility.

Facebook

Best practices
  • Include descriptive text when you post a photo.
  • Add a caption file, Facebook’s auto-captions, or use YouTube’s captioning services for Facebook videos.
  • Avoid using acronyms in your posts.
Alt text

Automatic alternative (alt) text is a feature that uses object recognition technology to create a description of a photo for those who are blind or have visual impairments. Learn how to edit the alt text for photo. As of the writing of this document, alt text can be edited only on a computer.

Descriptive text

Add descriptive text to the photos that are posted on Facebook. Good descriptive text can both explain and enhance the meaning of the picture. Avoid extraneous textual information in images.

Video captioning

There are two options for adding captions to videos on Facebook: pages can automatically add captions or a SubRip Subtitle (SRT) may be uploaded.

Accessibility updates 

For more information on accessibility features on Facebook and to stay updated with new ones, visit the Accessibility page on Facebook.

Twitter

Twitter and photos

Twitter allows image descriptions to be added to images in a tweet, but the feature needs to be turned on in your settings on Twitter.

Navigate to Settings and privacy > Accessibility > and turn on Compose image descriptions

You will now have the option to add descriptions when posting an image.

Best practices
  • Add descriptions: After enabling image descriptions, select the image when composing a tweet to add the descriptive text. The limit is 280 characters.
  • When tweeting a hyperlink, indicate whether it leads to [AUDIO], [PIC], or [VIDEO].
  • Place mentions and hashtags at the end of your tweets.
  • Capitalize the first letter of each word in a hashtag — #CortlandPride vs. #cortlandpride.
  • Avoid using acronyms.

Instagram

Best practices
  • When uploading an image, add alternative text by choosing Advanced Settings, then Write alt text. Save and finish uploading.
  • Use the post description area to include a transcription of video posts.

YouTube

All videos should have closed captions and, if applicable, audio descriptions. Additionally, a transcript can be helpful for those with both visual and hearing impairments.

YouTube automatically captions many videos, but the transcript should always be checked to make sure it is accurate.

If YouTube does not automatically caption your videos, it may be because:

  • The video is too long.
  • The audio quality is poor.
  • The speech from multiple speakers overlaps.

Learn more about video accessibility in SUNY Cortland’s Policy for Official Video.

Snapchat

Best practices
  • Organize your snaps so that they make sense to all users.
  • Use the larger text option for captions.
  • Make sure there is good contrast and balance between the background and the captions.