Research Support Hub style guide

Reading iconThis is a guide to best practice when writing Research Support Hub posts.

Because the Hub is the work of three teams and several authors, it’s useful to have some content and formatting standards in place so that the Hub remains consistent, usable and useful as it grows.

Comments and suggestions are welcome!

Post titles

Please keep post titles short – ideally a single line when you preview the post, and preferably no more than two.

Use sentence case in titles to help keep the homepage readable – avoid ALL CAPS and Capitals For Every Word.

Post length and Read More

If a post is longer than a couple of paragraphs, please use the Read More feature. This adds a Read More tag to the post – text above the tag shows on the home page and in search results, and clicking the tag loads the full post. Here’s how it looks:

wp_readmore_example

The Read More tag icon looks like this:

Wordpress Read More icon

Add the tag on a new line after your opening text.

This prevents long articles pushing other content off the Hub homepage. For long posts, use the title and first paragraph to give an overview of the content so that readers can decide if the full article is something they want to read.

Images

Camera pictogramImages in posts are always welcome, but please check that you have the right to use an image.

Photos you’ve taken yourself are OK to use. You should check that anyone featured in the photo is happy for it to go on the web.

Creative Commons logoPhotos and images with a Creative Commons (CC) licence are useful, but will need attribution. We have a Hub post on finding usable images with Wikimedia Commons, which is a huge collection of free-to-use images covering just about everything. The post also covers attribution.

You can also find CC images using Google, Flickr and various other sites – Creative Commons Search covers a number of resources.

If someone sends you text for a blog post, it’s always worth asking them for an accompanying image – but copyright considerations still apply.

Placing Images

If you’re using a Read More link in your post, try to keep your images below the link and use the Featured Image (see below) to add visual interest for the homepage. If your post doesn’t need a Read More link then it’s OK to add an image to the post, but please avoid very large images.

If all you have is a very large image, you can upload it and choose a smaller size when adding it to your post. Readers can then click on the image to view the original.

Galleries

If you have several images to add – such as a set of photos from an event – you can add them as a gallery. Use the Create Gallery option in the upload form and then select / upload the images you want to use.

Wordpress create gallery link

Galleries are a useful way to include multiple images without creating a very long post.

Image Attribution

Large Creative Commons attribution iconAdd image attribution to the end of your post. Give a link to the original URL and details of the licence. For example:

Image: Bee on flower by James Petts (Creative Commons).

The link here goes to the Wikimedia page for the image, where the user can find more details. It’s better to link to a page with information about the image than to the image itself.

If you’ve been given permission to use someone else’s image or photo, ask them how they’d like to attributed – they may have a link they’d like you to use.

The Media Library

All images added to the Hub become part of the Media Library. You can reuse images in the library – it includes a number of useful stock photos and icons. Again, you should attribute  the images you use – check the image’s Description field for details.

If you upload a new image to the Media Library, please add the URL for the source of the image to the Description field. This will help anyone who wants to use the image in future find the necessary details (the Description field won’t appear in your blog post).

If someone supplies an image and only licences it for use in a specific post, please note this in the Description field.

Featured images

You can set a featured image for a post, which is the small thumbnail that appears next to the post title on the homepage and in search results. Again, there are a number of existing images in the Media Library that you might find useful, such as calendar icons for event posts. You can also reuse one of the images from your post.

Try to add a featured image where possible, because it helps make the home page visually interesting without ‘overloading’ it.

Links

chainWhen adding a link to a post, try to integrate it into the text, like so:

Find out more in our  guest post on Altmetrics.

Avoid long pasted links like this:

Read our guest post on Altmetrics at https://researchsupporthub.northampton.ac.uk/2015/08/27/the-altmetric-bookmarklet-a-researcher-view/.

Long links can cause formatting problems and aren’t especially useful or meaningful to readers.

The text for a link should tell the user something about the destination. This is important for visitors who use assistive technology, where links might be read out. In particular, avoid using ‘click here’. So instead of doing this –

To access the Eventbrite page, click here.

– aim for something like this:

If you wish to attend, please visit the Eventbrite page.

If you’re adding links to pages on the university’s staff or student areas, bear in mind that they might not work if the user isn’t logged in, and won’t be accessible at all to visitors from outside the university. You might want to add a note about this, or check for an alternative public web page.

Contact links

For University of Northampton staff, link to the people directory. For example:

Please contact Nick Dimmock for more details.

For external contacts, check their preference.

Formatting

Left align iconWordPress has various formatting options, similar to Microsoft Word, but it’s a good idea to use formatting sparely when writing for the web. Too much bold and italic text can be difficult to read and lead to a ‘noisy’ homepage, but it’s fine to add formatting to the title of an event or publication. Avoid using underlined text, as this is easily mistaken for a link.

Categories and tags

The subject catalogue of the University Library of GrazHub posts can have both categories and tags assigned. Both are useful ways to make your posts discoverable by readers, especially after a post leaves the front page.

We have a set list of categories such as Conferences, Events, Funding and News – you can see these on the right-hand side of the Hub homepage. They’re our main way of organising content.

You can assign as many categories as you like to a post, but please make sure you assign at least one – otherwise the post goes into an automatic ‘Uncategorised’ section where no-one will ever find it.

Tags are uncontrolled; you can type in whatever’s useful for the post. Tags help connect posts with a theme, like open access, or events like the Graduate School’s poster competition.

Two or three tags per post is usually enough – there’s no need to tag lots of words or phrases that are already in the body of your post, because the search function will find those.

Submitted posts

Sometimes colleagues from around the University will send in content for a Hub post. If you create a post like this, please put a line at the top of the post identifying the author, like so:

Submitted by Nick Dimmock, Learning Resources.

Link the name to the contributor’s entry in the university’s people directory, giving the reader routes for feedback and comment.


Image credits: The subject catalogue of the University Library of Graz by Marcus Gossler (Creative Commons); Creative Commons CC-BY logo by creativecommons.org (Creative Commons). All other images public domain.