Introduction

The University of Alabama’s web presence is the premiere tool for interacting with the University’s key stakeholders and representing its brand, mission, and values to the world. The website is also indispensable to the University’s delivery of instruction and core services. These Web Branding Guidelines will equip you with the knowledge and resources to create a compelling University of Alabama web experience for all devices and users.


The Basics

Web Policy

The University of Alabama World Wide Web Policy governs all Web sites representing the University. It is essential that all employees who build and manage websites read and follow the requirements of this policy.

 

Brand Compliance

All official UA web resources must align themselves with the University’s digital visual identity standards.

All University of Alabama websites must be accessible

The University of Alabama is committed to providing a web presence that is accessible to all users. All UA resources must comply with the Web Resources Accessibility Policy.

Web Developer Guidelines

The more technical aspects of developing a successful web initiative at The University of Alabama can be found in the Web Developer Guidelines.

Design with all screen sizes in mind.

Users expect a great experience on devices of all types. UA web resources should follow industry best practices for responsive design.

UA’s Web Framework

Strategic Communications and OIT work together to provide institution-wide web solutions from hosting to content management systems.


Getting Started

Am I eligible for a  University website?

University of Alabama websites can be created by and for (but not limited to):

  • Colleges, schools, and their subordinate organizations
  • Administrative offices and their subordinate organizations
  • Institutes, Labs and Centers
  • University business organizations
  • Official events, campaigns and conferences.

Hosting

The Office of Information Technology (OIT) provides hosting for academic and informational websites as part of its core services. Units are allowed to procure outside hosting services for web needs on a case-by-case basis.

Brand Compliance

Review the Visual Identity section of this page for more information on brand compliance

Ua.edu URL name assignment

The University of Alabama owns the ua.edu Internet domain and assigns subdomain addresses to benefit initiatives and organizations that advance its interests and missions of teaching, research and service. Ua.edu subdomains confer a core affiliation with the University. Subdomain requests are subject to approval from the Division of Strategic Communications. Please see the guidelines for name assignment for more details.

Start a Conversation with Web Communications

The Department of Web Communications can help you get connected with the right resources, training and best-practices guides to begin your new website project.


The University of Alabama’s Web Framework

The University of Alabama Web Framework is developed, maintained and curated by The Division of Strategic Communications in partnership with The Office of Information Technology.  The UA Web Framework serves to establish a universal underlying foundation for the University’s web presence that ensures compliance with government regulations and University policies governing the web and projects a core affiliation with UA. The Division of Strategic Communications works with the campus web community to improve and advance the framework through the Web Developers Network, the Web Forum, and other UA Communities of Practice.

The UA Web Framework is currently composed of the following group of technologies:

Content Management

WordPress

The UA WordPress Themes contain several templates for different page types and integrate directly with other UA Web Framework systems. The themes are designed to be easy to use for technical or non-technical users, and tie-in directly to other UA Web Framework systems. The Division of Strategic Communications supports two University branded WordPress themes for official University websites, Legacy and Harper. UA’s WordPress themes are intended for use on official UA websites that represent an academic or business unit.

Examples of Legacy page types

The Legacy theme utilizes WordPress’ Classic Editor, and will be removed from the active development pool when WordPress ceases support of the Classic Editor and Classic Editor Plugin. The current version of Legacy is 1.7.11.

Harper page examples

Harper is a theme built on WordPress’ new Gutenberg Editor with styling based on the latest versions of the University homepage.

Harper is open to contribution from campus web developers who wish to develop and contribute features and functionality. For guidelines on how to contribute, see the Web Developer Guidelines.

Harper will be receiving a major visual update in the summer of 2022. These guidelines will be updated accordingly when the project is complete.

Weebly

Weebly is a simple website content management system provided by the Center for Instructional Technology. Weebly is intended for use on the following types of websites:

  • Faculty and Graduate Student personal pages.
  • Institutes, labs, and research centers.
  • Conferences.
  • Research collectives and initiatives.

The UA Campus Calendar

The Campus Calendar is powered by the Localist platform and makes sharing and promoting your organization’s events quick and easy. Student organization events should be submitted through The Source.

UA Web System of Design Templates

Web Communications is in the process of creating and launching a new system of design and extensible PHP templates for UA’s web properties. ETA is currently August 2022.

GTXcel

GTXcel is a platform that converts rich media PDFs (magazines, programs, publications) into accessible digital publications. Contact web@ua.edu if you would like to set up an account for your organization.


Visual Identity

The University of Alabama comprises many academic, research and service units, each of which plays an important part in shaping the University’s reputation as an internationally recognized institution. In turn, each unit’s reputation and identity is shaped by its association with the University. The visual identity projected by our many units to our many audiences should reflect the strength that results from our collective association as The University of Alabama. It is essential that the user experience of the UA web presence be consistent and reflect our shared connection and strategic goals. The easiest way to achieve compliance with visual identity standards is to use the UA WordPress Theme or UA Web System of Design Templates.

Required Branding Elements

Brand Bar

 

 

The UA Brand Bar must be present at the top of all official University websites. It is designed to confer direct association with the University, and provide access to central UA web services. The University wordmark must always link to UA’s homepage.

No changes in color, content, or function are to be made by site developers or authorizers. No content is to appear above the brand bar, with the exception of skip navigation links for accessibility.

Request code for the UA Brand Bar

 

Universal Footer

The UA Universal Footer must be placed at the bottom of all official University websites. In concert with the brand bar, it connects users to vital compliance information and other services.

No changes in color, content, or function are to be made by site developers or authorizers. A local footer is available in our WordPress themes.

Request code for the universal footer

Color

Below are the colors approved by Strategic Communications for use on the web. All structural and accent elements (Interactive features, icons, etc.) featured on an official University website are required to use the approved University brand colors. Keep in mind that a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 for normal text and 3:1 for large text must be met to comply with accessibility guidelines.

The UA web color palette is as follows:

 

 

Typography

Gibson – Gibson is used for very large headings. Where necessary, Gibson may be used to recreate the “Where Legends Are Made” wordmark in text readable by a screenreader.

Soleil – Soleil is used for medium and small headings.

Open Sans – Open Sans is used for regular body copy and links.

Proxima Nova and Proxima Nova Condensed – The next generation of UA themes will use Proxima Nova and Proxima Nova Condensed for regular body text and headings respectively. Units developing new websites can begin using Proxima Nova as of May 25, 2022.

Icons

FontAwesome Icon Library

UA Icons (coming soon)

Content Standards

Copywriting

UA web content should be presented using editorial standards appropriate for an institute of higher learning. While the level of formality may vary depending on the focus and audience of your site, proper spelling, punctuation, and style, make our sites more credible and more meaningful to our users.

The University of Alabama uses The Associated Press Stylebook as a guide for copywriting.  An Editorial Style Guide is published by The Division of Strategic Communications that addresses items specific to the University and higher education.

Web copy should also align with the Brand Personality Messaging Guide where appropriate.

Timeliness and Content Life Cycles

Visitors expect and deserve valid, up-to-date information on our web pages. A site with fresh and timely information encourages return visits and increases the overall effectiveness of the Web site. Websites that appear to be deserted and/or contain inaccurate information may be deemed damaging to the reputation of the University and subject to a review process in accordance with the University Web Policy.

Legacy Web Resource Exemption

The University recognizes that some websites are maintained as archives and/or are legacy web resources that are no longer updated, but must remain listed and active. If a site in your unit’s web presence falls under this classification, please submit a Legacy Web Resource Form to ensure that the site in question is listed as a legacy resource as recognized in the University Web Policy.


Other Resources