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Getting Started

Accessible Web Pages

Web accessibility refers to providing equal access to electronic and information technology to people with disabilities. All Sacramento State-affiliated Web documents should meet Section 508 guidelines and Priority Levels 1 and 2 of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines set forth by the World Wide Web Consortium [W3C]. Some elements that enhance accessibility to Web sites include:

  • Using templates designed to provide access.
  • Using hyperlinks that describe content.
  • Providing “alt” tags, alternate descriptions, for images and graphics.
  • Providing a text-only version of the Web site.
  • Choosing background and text colors with high contrast for readability.
  • Choosing fonts and sizes that are clearly readable.
  • Including a site map.
  • Including a “jump to content” clear gif link at the beginning of the Web page.
  • Writing content in “chunks” of information with the most important point first.

Note: Access the Sacramento State Web Accessibility page to further your knowledge about accessibility


  • Review the Sacramento State Web Policies and Guidelines page.
  • Create a mission statement for your site to define its purpose and use.
  • What is the purpose of the site?
    • Access to course materials, events, news
    • Provide department or organizational information
  • Who will use the site?
    • Age, gender, profession
    • Platform (PC, Mac)
    • Range of abilities (refer to Sacramento State Web Accessibility)
  • What do users need or want?
    • Calendar of events
    • Course assignments, examples, handouts, syllabi
    • Graphics, images and photographs
    • Meeting agendas, notes
    • Presentation materials
    • Program requirements and forms
  • How will the site provide what users need or want?
  • Determine content categories and information to be provided.
  • Select content and graphics and ensure you have copyright clearance for all materials.
  • Who will update the content?
  • How often does the site need to be reviewed and/or updated?

Copyright and Fair Use

Copyright protection to authors and inventors is provided in the U.S. Constitution. Subsequent legislation and courtroom interpretations have expanded and/or clarified copyright protection. The copyright laws/guidelines that educators need to be most concerned with include:

  • Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)
  • Fair Use
  • TEACH Act
  • U.S. Copyright Office - Summary of copyright

Note: Visit the Sacramento State Copyright & Fair Use page for a quick reference guide, TEACH Act chart, Four-Factor Fair Use test, and Fair Use checklist.

Web Templates

  • Templates provide a consistent, unified presentation to Web site visitors.
  • Sacramento State templates meet W3C guidelines for accessibility and Sacramento State identity guidelines. These templates were designed for ease of use for developers of all levels of expertise.
  • Follow these simple steps when using a Sacramento State template or one of your own creation:
    1. 1. Create sample template pages, without content, and test them. Once you have outlined a look, create a sample main index, secondary index (if needed) and third level page. Test the pages to see how they are viewed on different computers (Macintosh and PC), different size monitors , different browsers and in a browser with the images turned off.
    2. 2. Add content and repeat tests. Make note of download speeds and check for accessibility. 3. Using the test pages as templates, fill out the remaining pages and connect your links.

Note: Download a template from the Sacramento State Templates page.

Web Design Tools and Tips

Designing for the Web involves a complex mix of accessibility, cascading style sheets, color, design, load time, navigation, organization of elements, writing, and more. For help in designing a Web site, faculty and staff can attend a workshop in Dreamweaver, Images for the Web, Faculty Web site, Web Design or XHTML. Consider buying a book on Web design and visiting some of the links below:

  • Web Style Guide [] by Patrick J. Lynch and Sarah Horton of the Yale University Center for Advanced Instructional Media.
  • Web Developer’s Virtual Library [] – Design page provides insight into basic principles of Web site design.
  • Browser plug-ins - If you use multimedia content or PDF files on your Web pages, your users may need to have browser plug-ins installed on their computer.
  • Meta tags - help search engines catalog your site and enable users to find your Web page.

The campus provides Dreamweaver and Contribute to all faculty and staff members.  Dreamweaver is generally aimed at more advanced users who will be managing menus, downloads, and other content across sites.  Contribute is very accessible (even to non-technical people) and offers an easy way to provide simple page updates.

Contact your department ITC or the Service Desk if you need Dreamweaver or Contribute installed on your machine.  Training on both programs is provided by ATCS.

Note: Much more information can be found at the Web Design page.

Web Process at Sacramento State

The Web Process at Sacramento State is divided into six steps. These steps, listed below, will help you get your Web site online.

  1. Request a Sacramento State Web account
  2. Gather materials
  3. Create/edit HTML files
  4. Preview HTML files
  5. Upload to server
  6. View pages on Web

Note: Additional information can be found at the Web Process page.

last reviewed: January 25, 2008