Procedure: Complying with "Look and Feel"

Brief Description

This procedure defines the requirement to use a standard layout for EPA’s public access webpages and Web applications so that they are published with a consistent “Look and Feel.” All public content pages or Web applications are required to use the One EPA Web look and feel.  The “Look and Feel” enables each Web page to be clearly identified on EPA’s public access website as belonging to EPA and ensures that each page has the required navigational and other design elements. The steps for requesting a waiver or exemption from using required specifications of the EPA “Look and Feel” are included in this Procedure.

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Look and Feel:  EPA's Web page layout and design.  The header and footer are common across all pages in the EPA website.  The "Look and Feel" is created by using EPA's standard Web Content Management System (WebCMS) or the One EPA Web application template.

One EPA Web application template:  Code that sets the frame and responsive design of EPA’s look and feel for use with EPA’s web based applications.   Applications need to include all elements of the standard look and feel: headers, footers, color scheme, mandated links, etc.

Responsive Design:  Design that intelligently renders content formatted specifically for the size of the viewing device.   Local styles are not allowed because they can break the responsive design. 

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Required Steps

Use the approved and appropriate EPA template to lay out webpages according to the "Look and Feel" specifications unless one of the exemptions applies.

The Agency standard Web Content Management System uses the standard look and feel. 

  • Do not create local styles.
  • The allowed styles can be found at: Web Style Guide

If you have a Web application, you should use the One EPA Web Application template to display your Web content.

The page falls under one of the standing exemptions (follow Required Steps for Exemptions, below).


EPA has established specifications for the layout of EPA's public access webpages to create a consistent “Look and Feel”, to establish an EPA brand, and to ensure that visitors know when they are on an EPA page. While using one consistent design across all EPA webpages is required, there are certain cases where exemptions are necessary.

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The following types of pages are exempt from the "Look and Feel" specifications and require registration, but do not need a waiver:

Joint Sites:
Sites that are developed with organizations outside EPA are exempt from this procedure provided they satisfy other EPA directives about presenting EPA information and are not hosted at EPA(The URL is not on or .  In addition, a joint site’s design must differ from the standard EPA "Look and Feel" so that the site does not appear to use a poorly implemented EPA site. 

Additional Steps for Joint Sites: When beginning to design a joint site, send an email to the Office of Web Communication (OWC) at  with a brief description of the site and the planned URL. The URL should not be on  or  This email provides OWC with information about EPA's joint Web efforts and should:

  • clearly identify all partners,
  • include materials from outside EPA, and
  • include input on site structure and content from outside EPA.

Kids Pages:
Information aimed at "kids," meaning up to and including 6th grade, do not need to use the standard design, but a consistent "Look and Feel" must be applied, and this "Look and Feel" must be approved by OWC.  Information aimed at older students (7th grade through 12th grade) must use the standard "Look and Feel" design.

For these two types of sites, code has to be added to:

Track statistics:  you are required to add the agency’s Web analytics code to non-standard templates.  Find implementation details at: Procedure for maintaining Agency Web analytics code on all public HTML pages


There is no one EPA appearance or color scheme required for widgets. Please follow the standards found on the Widget Guidance and work with the OWC to develop your widget’s look.  

Required Steps for Waivers from "Look and Feel" Specifications

Offices may request a waiver to the required design and navigation elements of the "Look and Feel" specifications for one particular page or a series of pages. Waivers for certain pages may be necessary for reasons that include, but are not limited to, the application of the specifications causing a reduction of specific functionality or a reduced quality of customer service.  Evidence must be provided supporting such claims.

  •  Request a waiver:
    • Prepare an email message or memorandum from the Office Director (or regional equivalent) responsible for the pages.
    • Provide the reasons for the waiver request, the URL for the non-compliant page(s), if available, and a point of contact.
    • Send the request to the National Content Manager and National Infrastructure Manager, found on the Web Council membership list

Office of Web Communications (OWC) and OEI will jointly evaluate waiver requests and make a decision within 10 working days. If no decision is made by then, the relevant materials may be posted to the website, but the delay does not permanently excuse the materials from meeting the specification.   If the waiver is later rejected, the National Content Manager and the National Infrastructure Manager will work with the requesting office to create a schedule for changing the materials to meet the “Look and Feel” specifications.

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Related Governance Documents


Related Policies

  • None

Related Procedures

Related Standards

  • None

Related Guidance

  • None


Full Metadata about this standard

Name Complying with “Look and Feel”
Type Procedure
Required or Recommended Required 
Effective date 03/18/2014
Date approved 03/18/2014
Category Page Elements
Web Council review by 03/18/2017 (or earlier if deemed necessary by the Web Council) 
Governing Policy Web Governance and Management (PDF) Intranet (5 pp, 339 K, About PDF)

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