How to Avoid Multiple Rounds of OWC Review When Creating New Resource Directories and Microsites

Below are some guidelines and requirements to keep in mind as you develop the content for your website.  We will send your site back to you for further work if we see that your site does not follow these guidelines.

Keep in mind that this document only discusses the most common issues that we see.  You should have read and be familiar with all provisions of all One EPA Web requirements/guidance.  Tables at the end of this page provide links to all requirements and guidance.  If we see issues other than those listed below, we may send your site back to you for further work.


1.  Limit content to focus on key audiences' top tasks ...

Pare your content down to eliminate ALL content that does not address the top tasks of top audiences.  Do not shift the entire content of your TSSMS account into Drupal.

2.  ... and focus every paragraph on top tasks

Do not include sentences that tell your visitors that EPA reached out to stakeholders in 2005, or include paragraphs describing how we celebrated the 20th anniversary of FIFRA in 2002.  This kind of text does not address your visitors' top tasks.

3.  Use plain language and be concise

Sentences should be no more than about 25 words, and often much shorter.  Paragraphs should be no more than about 70.  Use bulleted lists whenever you include a string of three or more terms or clauses.

  • Don't bury verbs.  For example don't say that "we will focus on implementing a plan to do x" when you can say "we will do X."
  • Use the active voice.  For example, say "we will do X" rather than "X will be done."

Read more:

4.  Create great page titles

a.   Create page titles that are unique.  Visitors coming straight from a search engine need to understand the precise scope of information on the page.  So, for example,:

NO

YES

Quality Assurance

Assuring Quality in the Cleanups of Federal Facilities, OR Quality Assurance in Federal Facility Cleanups

Community Relations

How EPA Communicates with Communities Following an Emergency

If a visitor comes straight from a search engine to a resource directory page with the title "Quality Assurance" or "Contact Us", she might think that the page is the main Quality Assurance or Contact Us page for all of EPA.  Do not assume that your visitors will see the "hub link" to your resource directory home page (located above the page title on the left).

b.  Do not use unexplained acronyms or abbreviations in page titles:  Remember that some of your visitors may come straight from a search engine to your page.  Your visitors may feel lost if their search result takes them to a page called:

QUACK Meetings

Instead, let them know whether or not they are on the right page by using a more informative title:

Meetings of the Quality Undertakers Association of Central Kalamazoo (QUACK)

c.   Limit compound adjectives:  Avoid compound adjectives in your titles that include more than two words.  The phrase "Mercury Training and Resources Management Program Frequently Asked Questions" is a noun, "questions", with an eight-word compound adjective in front of it.  Phrases with long compound adjectives are difficult to understand; avoid them.  Instead, use "Frequently-Asked Questions about the Mercury Training and Resources Management Program."

NO

YES

Five Year Review Community Training Module Speaker Notes

Speaker Notes for the Community Training Module about Five-Year Reviews of Facilities

Hyphens should separate the words in a compound adjective, but not in compound nouns:

  • Compound adjective:  Refrigerants Used in Air-Conditioning Systems 
  • Compound noun:  Refrigerants Used in Air Conditioning

5.  Write clear headings

a.   Make your page heading sizes logical:  All section headings should be coded with <h2>.  Do not skip <h2> and go straight to <h3>.  All sub-section headings should be coded with <h3>, sub-sub-sections coded with <h4>, and so on.

b.   Don't link heading text.  Many visitors will not realize that a blue heading is linked text.

6.  Make sure your link text should match or almost match the content it goes to

Check all link text before you submit your site for review.  Here are two examples of link text that does not closely enough match the names of the destination pages:

  • Link text:  Specifications for Creating a PDF Version of Study Reports --> Page name:  E-submission resource documents for study document creation
  • Link text: MRIA requirements and procedures --> Page name:  Mustache Registration Manual: Chapter 5 - Registration Fees

7.  Use the wide template only when you really need it

Drupal's edit view includes a box to check if you want to display your content in the wide template.  Do not check the box unless you really need the wide template.

8.  Don't forget about your Contact Us page

  • Make sure the page title is in the format "Contact Us about Curly Mustaches".  It should not be "Contact Us" (because that would not be unique) or "Curly Mustaches Contact Us" (because that does not make sense grammatically).
  • A mailing address is required.  Don't forget to add it.
  • A phone number is recommended but NOT required.
  • A contact form is required; Drupal includes it on the page when the site is created.  Don't eliminate it.  Emails sent using the form will go to the Editor-in-Chief unless another address is coded into the form.
  • An email address is NOT required; the contact form is sufficient.

Read more:

9.  Don't use "(xx pp, yy K, About PDF)"  or "(PDF)" if you are linking to a document page

Basic pages in the Drupal WebCMS can link to PDF files outside of EPA but basic pages should not link to EPA PDF files; only document pages should link to EPA PDFs.  Document pages can include "(xx pp, yy K, About PDF)" next to the links to PDFs but basic pages should not because you should be linking to the document page, not directly to a PDF file.

Read more:


One EPA Web PROCESS Guidance

Name of Guidance Document

URL

Review and Approval of Web Content

  • Process guidance for all EPA web content

http://www2.epa.gov/webguide/web-review

Transforming Web Content Step-by-Step Guide for Editors-in-Chief  Intranet

  • Process guidance for creating web content in Drupal

http://intranet.epa.gov/oneepa/web/stepbystep.html

One EPA Web CONTENT Standards and Guidance

Name of Guidance Document

URL

Communications Stylebook Writing Guide

  • Please pay particular attention to the section "What is the EPA Writing Style?"
  • Note that EPA also follows the AP Stylebook.

http://www2.epa.gov/stylebook/epa-communications-stylebook-writing-guide

Image Guidance (PDF)

http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/documents/imageguidance.pdf

Microsite Guidance (PDF)

http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/documents/ms-guidance.pdf

Resource Directory Guidance (PDF)

http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/documents/rd-guidance.pdf

Section 508 Checklist   Intranet

http://intranet.epa.gov/accessibility/checklist.html   Intranet

Should Your One EPA Web Content be a Resource Directory or Microsite? (PDF)   Intranet

http://intranet.epa.gov/oneepa/web/docs/rd-or-ms.pdf   Intranet

Web Standards

http://www2.epa.gov/webguide/epa-web-standards

Web Style Guide

http://www2.epa.gov/webguide/web-style-guide

Writing for the Web Requirements

http://www2.epa.gov/webguide/writing-web-requirements

Note that you can take on-demand, online training at howto.gov: