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Coding Guidelines

8.1 Accessibility


8.2 Code Validation


8.3 Broken Link Maintenance

  • Check regularly for broken links that confuse and frustrate visitors.
  • Use free automated link-checking tools to identify broken links:
    Xenu Link Sleuth for Windows 
    Integrity for OSX
  • Manually check links quarterly to locate broken links automated tools can’t identify.


8.4 Favicons

  • Favicons are 16x16 icons displayed by browsers to the left of the URL bar and for bookmarks to websites.
  • Favicons for all MSU websites should feature the MSU helmet. (See Resources and Downloads)


8.5 Descriptive Page Headings

  • Include at least one <h1> HTML tag that describes the main subject of the web page.
  • Include <h2> through <h6> HTML tags for longer, complex documents.
  • Avoid gaps in the heading hirarchy (e.g. skipping from <h1> to <h3>).
  • Include key words and phrases in headings to describe content.
  • Use clear language that is easy to comprehend.
  • Use the fewest words possible.


8.6 Descriptive Link Titles

  • Include common key words or phrases in links that describe the content on linked pages.
  • Use link text like “learn how to apply to MSU,” “sign up to receive MSU news updates,” and “visit the Office of the President website.”
  • Do not use link text like “more information,” “click here,” and “learn more.”


8.7 Opening New Windows and Tabs from a Link

  • Do not configure your links to automatically open in a new window or tab. Doing so can confuse and frustrate visitors to MSU websites.
  • Using a new browser window resets the back button in that window. The back button is the second most used navigation function (after following hyperlinks).


8.8 Phone Numbers

  • Format phone numbers this way: (517) 355-1855.