Style Guide

The following document is a style guide for producing content for the CLASP: CUNY League of Active Speech Professors Web site. This document outlines basic principles for adding content to the site, defines the basic style sheet classes available to content managers and how they should be used, and defines principles, guidelines, and best practices for content.

1.0 Coding Standards

This sections details the minimum coding standards required by the CLASP site.

1.1 Validation

This site is designed to the XHTML 1.0 Strict and CSS2.1 specifications as laid down by the WC3 (World Wide Web Consortium). All new and existing pages must aim to validate against these specifications.

1.2 DOCTYPE Declaration

In order to conform to XHTML 1.0 Strict, every (X)HTML page on the site must start with the following DOCTYPE declaration.

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" 

1.3 Accessibility

This site aims to meet Double-A accessibility conformance as outlined in WCAG 1.0 (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0).

1.4 Browser Support

The following table outlines browser support requirements for this site.

Browser Family Support Level
IE 6+ Target
Firefox 1.x Target
Safari 2.x Target
Opera 8.x Supported
IE 5.5 Supported
Netscape 6 Supported
IE5.x/Mac Partially Supported
IE 5.0 Partially Supported
Opera 5.0-7.x Partially Supported
IE 4.0 Partially Supported
NN 4.0 Partially Supported
IE4.0/Mac Unsupported
  • Target – Most popular browsers at present. Everything must work as intended
  • Supported – Old but popular browser. All content and functionality must work with minimal degradation.
  • Partially supported – Old and buggy browsers. Not supported but not officially unsupported. Content and functionality must work. Degradation must be graceful and should not obscure content.
  • Unsupported – Buggy and unsupported browsers. Advice current users to upgrade.

1.5 Character Set

All pages should use the Unicode UTF-8 character set.

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1" />

All special characters should be marked up using the correct named entity or Unicode equivalent in order for the page to display correctly across browsers and to validate. In particular, use the following codes for common special characters:

Name Symbol Code
Ampersand & &amp;
Left Double Quote &ldquo;
Right Double Quote &rdquo;
Less Than < &lt;
Greater Than > &gt;
en-dash &endash;
em-dash &emdash;
Ellipsis &hellip;

Take special care when inputting content created in a word processor.

1.6 Title, Keywords and Description

To encourage ease of navigation and good search engine ranking, all pages should contain a title, description and keywords. These content elements should be created by the content editor and not left to the developer.

Page title should be simple, descriptive and distinct, avoiding marketing hyperbole. For consistency, all titles should be in the format:

<title>[Page] // CLASP // CUNY League of Active Speech Professors</title>

1.7 Alternative Text for Images

Alternative text is required for every image element on the site. Alt text must provide an adequate description of the content or function of the image. Alternative text is content and must be created by the content editor. It must not be left for the web developer to decide.

Page title should be simple, descriptive and distinct, avoiding marketing hyperbole. For consistency, all titles should be in the format:

<img src="/img/xxxx.jpg" alt="Add image description text here." width="#" height="#" />

If the image is purely decorative, the alt text can be left blank.

<img src="/img/decor.gif" alt="" width="#" height="#" />

1.8 Links

The text within links should be unique and describe the destination of the link. Links saying "Click Here" or "More" should be avoided.

Page title should be simple, descriptive and distinct, avoiding marketing hyperbole. For consistency, all titles should be in the format:

<a href="register.html">Click here to Register</a>

You can provide additional, non-critical link information in the form of a tool-tip by adding a title attribute.

<a href="register.html" title="Register for the Colloquium">Click here to Register</a>

1.9 Meaningful HTML

All pages should be coded using meaningful rather than presentational XHTML. Meaningful elements include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • h1, h2, etc
  • ul, ol and dl
  • strong and em
  • blockquote and cite
  • abbr, acronym, code
  • fieldset, legend and label
  • caption, thead, tbody and tfoot

Deprecated elements and attributes should be avoided.

1.10 Abbreviations and Acronyms

Abbreviations and acronyms should be marked up and defined the first time they appear on each page.

<abbr title="NY">New York</abbr>
<acronym title="CLASP">CUNY League of Active League Professors</acronym>

1.11 Tables

Tables are reserved for data and should not be used for page layout. Data tables should be marked up using appropriate meaningful elements such as; <th>, <td>, <thead>, <tbody> and <tfoot> and appropriate meaningful attributes such as; summary, id and headers.

2.0 Resources

This document contains useful resources for the site such as links and descriptions of all the XHTML and CSS files used, links to templates and further coding resources.

2.1 XHTML Templates

All the pages on the site can be made up from these core XHTML templates.

2.2 CSS Files

All the pages on the site can be made up from this core CSS file.

2.3 Gallery

The lightbox gallery source files can be found here: