ESB Web Style Guide
Online
Style
Guide
This document defines standards for
use of language online for in “Acme Ltd.”
Table of Contents
1
Introduction
5
1.1
Purpose
5
1.2
Additional Style References
5
1.3
Application
6
1.4
Stewardship
6
1.5
Maintenance
6
1.6
Current Version
6
2
Acme Web Writing Style
7
2.1
7 Golden Rules of Web Writing
7
2.2
Personas
7
2.3
Text Font, Size & Format
9
2.4
Text Length
9
2.5
Text Accuracy
9
2.6
Hyperlink Text
10
2.7
Hyperlink Text for Downloads
11
2.8
Hyperlink Titles
11
2.9
Hyperlinks for Divided Pages
12
2.10
Hyperlink Addressing
12
2.11
Labelling of Fixed Navigation
12
2.12
Browser Title Text
13
2.13
Email Text
14
Acme Web Style Guide
Copyright © Acme
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2.14
Emphasis
14
2.15
e.g., i.e., etc.
14
2.16
Bulleted Lists
14
2.17
Numbered Lists
15
2.18
Quotation Marks
15
2.19
Copyright
15
2.20
Referencing Text
16
2.21
Images and Graphics
16
2.22
Image Format
17
2.23
Referencing Images
17
2.24
Plagiarism
18
2.25
Standards and Compliance
18
2.26
Gender
18
2.27
Measurements
18
2.28
Attachments
19
2.29
Mathematical Formulae
19
3
Dictionary of Acme & Common Terms
20
3.1
Other Useful Aids
20
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20
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Acme Web Style Guide
Copyright © Acme
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1
Introduction
1.1
Purpose
The Acme Web Style Guide represents the means by which a unified approach to the
use of language on Acme websites and intranet can be assured. This document sets
out the style guidelines that regulate the writing of content for the Acme websites and
intranet.
The Acme Web Style Guide is a practical document. It is intended that this document
will be used by experienced web writers.
1.2
Additional Style References
While many examples are covered in this guide, a prescriptive rule has not been
created for every circumstance. In the event of uncertainty, clarification can be obtained
from the following sources:

Oxford Guide to Style, first edition by Oxford University Press.

Web Content Style Guide, first edition by Gerry McGovern.
(These are available from the Head of Web)
In the event of uncertainty, the correct style to use shall be determined in the following
manner:

Acme Web Style Guide is the governing style guide.

Any style issues not covered by the Acme Web Style Guide shall be determined
by the Oxford Guide to Style. There are two exceptions to this. These are :

Internet terminology. These shall be determined by Web Content Style Guide.
Direct all queries regarding style for Acme websites to the Head of Web.
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Copyright © Acme
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2
Acme Web Writing Style
2.1
7 Golden Rules of Web Writing
Follow these seven rules when writing content and visitors to your site will thank you.
1. Know your reader (Who are you writing for? See 2.2 below)
2. Use the reader’s mental model (Think like readers, not like your department)
3. Keep your content short and simple (The intranet is NOT for ‘creative writing’)
4. Write active contact (Too much verbiage muddies meaning)
5. Use headlines and subheadlines (Many headlines make reading much easier)
6. Link to other content (It is easy and very helpful to link to other relevant pages)
7. Edit your content. Then edit again (Aim to remove 50% of what you started with)
2.2
Personas
Acme Staff Persona
A Persona is a description of an idealised website visitor that matches the attributes of
the audience being targeted.
Personas can be of great assistance when developing content, because they provide a
focal point for discussing requirements. For example, a Persona can be talked about as
if he/she were a living, breathing individual and the website was being designed to
address her needs.
The following Personas are representative of Acme staff and may be used when
developing content for the intranet.

David: David is a 42 year old engineer in Acme. He accesses the intranet via a
Desktop. He has very good web skills.
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“I need content that helps me do something, not empty marketing spiel. It must
also be clearly written, short and uptodate”

Patrick: Patrick is a 33 year old consultant with Acme. He access the intranet
via MyOffice@Acme. He has excellent web skills.
“I want to get to the information I need as quickly as possible. Navigation labels
and search should be as clear as possible.”

Brenda: Brenda is a 47 year old clerical offer in Acme. She accesses the
intranet via a Desktop. She has good web skills.
“I need content on the intranet to be signposted to me, as I am often too busy to
go exploring”
In summary, Acme staff:

Are very impatient - they will not read something unless they have to.

Want to do something & get out of Acmenet as quickly as possible.

Do not understand your business function or terminology.
Accordingly, your should:

Only produce highly-targeted information.

Put important information at the top of the page.

Be very concise & include lots of linking.

Exclude any waffle, welcome messages or business ego (staff won’t read it).

To support Work activity by using applications and acquiring information.
This may be used to guide the development of new content.
2.3
Text Font, Size & Format
Fonts for the Acme Public Website in order are: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, Sans-serif,
default.
Fonts for the Acme Corporate Website in order are: Arial, Verdana, Helvetica, Sansserif, default.
Standard text sizes and formats are defined in Acme Web Standard.
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Copyright © Acme
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2.4
Text Length
Keep content as short as possible.
Limit content to a maximum of 500-700 words per page.
Headlines should be limited to 4-8 words.
Headlines should have a subject and a verb. Place the subject first, e.g. Acme opens
new office, NOT A new office is opened by Acme. Punctuation should not be used in
headlines, except where necessary to maintain accuracy.
Subheadlines should be used to assist understanding.
Sentences should be limited to 15-20 words.
Paragraphs should be limited to 40-70 words.
Summaries where used, e.g. for PDFs, should be limited to 30-50 words.
Use bulleted points to break up lists.
2.5
Text Accuracy
All content must be free of spelling and grammar mistakes.
Financial information must be approved by appropriate parties before publishing.
Do not use obscure references or obscure quotations in content.
Explain all abbreviations in brackets immediately after their first use, e.g. kWh (Kilowatt hours).
2.6
Hyperlink Text
Two means of writing hyperlinks are possible:
1. Bullet or standalone hyperlinks
2. In-text hyperlinks
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Bullet Hyperlinks
A bullet or standalone hyperlink occurs where links are separated from text. For
example:

Change your SAP access settings

Book a meeting room

Read the latest ITS News
In-text Hyperlinks
In-text hyperlinks occur where text is linked within a paragraph of text. For example,
“Your payslip includes the details of your total pension, i.e. your total pension before
any deductions are made and the itemised deductions. This includes mandatory
payments such as tax and voluntary payments such as insurance premiums. The
attached sample pension payslip (PDF 56Kb) includes an explanation of the various
headings. If you require any further clarification of your payslip please visit the website
of the Payroll Office.”
The rule of thumb is that hyperlinks must always form a complete sentence, e.g. Click
here to read more about staff social events
Hyperlinks must not be labelled "Click here " or "More", but labelled within the context
in which they appear.
2.7
Hyperlink Text for Downloads
Download hyperlinks must always indicate the format and size of the document they
point to. This is to allow readers to know what they are opening. For example:

Acme Pension Scheme Annual Report 2005 (PDF 277Kb)

Acme Pension Scheme Annual Report 2004 (PDF 185Kb)

Acme Pension Scheme Annual Report 2003 (PDF 855Kb)
A download in a paragraph of text could read:
Acme Web Style Guide
Copyright © Acme
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“This includes mandatory payments such as tax and voluntary payments such as
insurance premiums. The attached sample pension payslip (PDF 56Kb) includes an
explanation of the various headings.”
Where possible, an abstract should also be provided. For example:
“Mobile Asset Management (PDF 83Kb)
This document explains the benefits of Mobile Asset Management including health,
safety, security and preventative maintenance.”
2.8
Hyperlink Titles
Hyperlink titles must be used where clicking on a link results in a change in the user's
on-screen environment. This includes:

Link to a website or web page that opens a new window. Link title must state,
"This link will open in a new window".

Link to an Adobe Acrobat PDF. Link title must state, "This links to a PDF
document which can be downloaded and viewed".

Link to a Rich Text Format RTF. Link title must state, "This link will open in a
new window".

Link to a Plain text format TXT. Link title must state, "This link will open in a new
window".

Link to an image file that opens a new window. Link title must state, "This link
will open in a new window".

Link to an audio file. Link title must state, "This link will open a sound file in a
new window".

Link to a video file. Link title must state, "This link will open a video file in a new
window".

Image link to any of the above.

Any other content linked from within a page.
2.9
Hyperlinks for Divided Pages
Documents should be limited to 2-3 on-screen lengths of the preferred browser
configuration. Beyond this, documents should be divided.
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Copyright © Acme
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The following convention must be used for linking documents that have been divided:

‘Previous Page 1 of 3 Next’
This must be shown at the head and foot of content
2.10
Hyperlink Addressing
Hyperlinks to external websites should link to a stable URL e.g.
www.website.com/news/ not www.website.com/news/010203.html
Hyperlinks must be canonical in form, that is, the final forward-slash '/' must be
included, e.g. http://www.acmei.ie/
Hyperlinks within the website must be in relative form e.g. ../images/image.gif
Hyperlinks text should be between seven and twelve words in length.
2.11
Labelling of Fixed Navigation
Link text must be as short as possible, while remaining self-explanatory.
The meaning of individual link texts must be clear when juxtaposed with others.
Link texts may need to be user-tested to assess the degree of acceptance.
The maximum length of navigation link text on the Acme Corporate Intranet is 28
characters, including spaces.
The maximum length of navigation link text on the Acme Corporate Intranet that
appears as a child to another link is 23 characters, including spaces.
The text of each link must be unique.
Use words that visitors to your site will understand NOT words that your business uses.
Make hyperlinks action-oriented where possible.
Start each word in a link with an upper case letter.
Do not capitalise conjunctions or prepositions, e.g. ‘and’ not ‘And’, ‘of’ not ‘Of’, etc.
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Copyright © Acme
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Special characters may be used. For example, ‘Health and Safety’ may be rendered as
‘Health & Safety.
Check the spelling of hyperlinks before inserting them.
Do not use all upper case characters.
2.12
Browser Title Text
Make titles as descriptive as possible.
Make titles as short as possible (while not compromising the description). The longest
recommended length is 80 characters or 6 to 8 words (including spaces).
Use an effective mix of upper and lower cases. Follow the standard rules of English
grammar when creating page titles.
Do not capitalise conjunctions or prepositions, e.g. ‘and’ not ‘And’, ‘of’ not ‘Of’, etc.
Special characters may be used. For example, ‘Health and Safety’ may be rendered as
‘Health & Safety.
Check the spelling of page titles before inserting them.
Acme Web Style Guide
Copyright © Acme
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...
..
.
This is the end of this short sample of a Corporate
Online Style Guide created by Shane Diffily.
The purpose of such a guide is to document the
rules and conventions by which online content
must be created.
To find out how to create your own Online Style
Guide, visit www.diffily.com/services
Acme Web Style Guide
Copyright © Acme
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