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Web template guidelines

The following is a guide for template creation within the Cascade Server CMS. These guidelines are in place to help define branding elements and improve the user experience when navigating across disparate departments. By following these guidelines, a school/college/department will be able to use their template in the CMS as soon as IT can get their site set up. A school/college/department's template that does not follow these guidelines will have to get their template design approved by the Web Committee before they will be able to use the CMS.

Template creation

Standardized templates will be available for departments to implement and customize. If a department would like to design a new template with their own resources, they are encouraged to follow the following guidelines to enable a smooth approval process.

Header and footer

Because the header and footer make up UMT's global navigation, and an important component for brand recognition, all CMS templates will use the standardized header and footer template components. Modifications will not be allowed, other than the customizable (and optional) content block contained within the footer component.

To obtain copies of the standardized header and footer code, please contact Technology Support Services.

Site navigation

The primary department navigation will be located on the left side. The site will have the global site navigation as part of the default header and footer. Site navigation links should be structured using the html unordered list tag.


The finalized template must meet standards laid out in the following:


Typographical elements should be generally consistent across departments. To help with this, all templates will link to a site-wide typographical style sheet that will set a default font-size, family, color and spacing. Departments are free to modify these styles as needed, but must choose styles appropriate for their design and keep readability, usability and consistency in mind.

It is recommended that prior to your initial design, you obtain the global style rules for reference from Technology Support Services.

Color and images

Colors can be diverse and original, but should be in good taste and not clash with the colors used in the header and footer. Keep in mind that the official UM Maroon is #660033. Image animation is strongly discouraged, and will be reviewed by the committee.

Embedded media

All instances of embedded media (including Adobe Flash) must continue to meet applicable accessibility standards. Any instances of Adobe Flash used for site navigation must be accompanied by textual equivalents.

Technical limitations

  • The departmental site container cannot exceed 960px wide (the width of the global navigation element)
  • The departmental site container must be centered horizontally
  • Code should be structured as valid XHTML
  • CSS must be used for design/layout... Table-based layout will not be accepted
  • Inline styles should be avoided. Departments will have the opportunity for including their own custom, external, style sheets
  • Page weight (the total size of all elements on the page, including markup, style, and images) should be kept to a minimum
  • XHTML content should be semantically structured. This means the proper use of header tags, lists, paragraphs, and tables (for tabular data only)

Review process

Templates designed for use within the CMS will be reviewed by the IT web team for consistency with these guidelines. If the Web Manager determines the template is a fit with established practice, then the template may be installed in the CMS. The Web Manager may request Committee review of the template, in which case the Committee will approve or deny with comments the prospective template. The standard Committee appeal process is available after denial.

The Web Technology Services Team will regularly review sites in the CMS to be certain that these template guidelines continue to be followed and will report any discrepancies to the Web Committee for possible action.

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