I created the first website style guide for my Faculty in The Open University, to control the confusing differences in terminology and organisation amongst the websites built by different course teams and editors.
This style guide was accompanied by exemplar websites, illustrating the guidelines with indicative content, and annotated screenshots which highlighted key points of practice.
In this style guide, I set out to:
- state clearly on each point (a) the guideline, (b) the rationale for the guideline, and (c) suggestions for practical implementation
- distinguish what was (a) required or mandatory as University policy, (b) strongly recommended as Faculty policy, and (c) recommended as good practice
- discourage out-dated practices, such as putting text in a downloadable document instead of on a web page
- reduce the length of menus, some of which had over 10 items making them difficult to scan
- discourage unclear section titles, such as “Module resources” (because everything on the website was a module resource) and “Additional resources” (additional to what?)