Web Standard: Sidebar


The sidebar is the vertical list of links in the left panel of a microsite basic page. Every page within a microsite web area uses the same sidebar.

Content requirements

  • The left sidebar must be identical on all pages within a microsite web area.
  • All content within a microsite will use the same area name and sidebar.
  • Use an ampersand (&) in place of "and" or "/"
  • Use title case (initial capital letters) for all major words. Do not use all caps.
  • Do not use acronyms unless (a) the acronym is more familiar than the phrase the acronym stands for (e.g., "PCBs" is a more familiar term than "polychlorinated biphenyls") or (b) the acronym is explained in the area name at the top of the page (Persistent Bioaccumulative and Toxic (PBT) Chemical Program).
  • All text used on the left sidebar must be an active link.
  • The sidebar must include the following links, unless one or more of these types of content is not appropriate for the identified top audiences:
    • [Topic Name] Home
    • Learn about [Topic Name]
    • Science and Technology
    • Laws and Regulations
    • Frequent Questions
    • What EPA is Doing
    • What You Can Do
  • The sidebar should not contain
    • Newsroom
    • What’s New in [Topic Name]
    • Graphics
    • Links to the normal "Contact Us" page that provides ways to contact the staff running the Web area.
      • NOTE: You may link to lists of program contacts. Label these links with specific descriptions like "State Contacts" as opposed to "Contacts" or "Contact Us." In that case, link back and forth between those other contacts pages and the "Contact Us" page. If you are soliciting comments, then use sidebar language like "Send Comments" or "Comment on the rule" instead of "Contact Us."
    • Links to search pages or search boxes
    • Links to PDF files.
  • The sidebar is part of the EPA look and feel. Do not modify it.
  •  Keep navigation simple.
    • Multi-level, hierarchical links are not allowed.
    • Do not use navigation menus other than the left sidebar. Do not use right‐side boxes for navigation menus.
    • If a section of content has a substantial hierarchy, seriously consider creating  a web area for it.

See: One EPA Web Microsite Guidance

About this Standard

Effective date: 09/28/2005
Date approved: 09/12/2012
Web Council review by: 09/02/2014 (or earlier if deemed necessary by the Web Council)