Web Style Guide & Best Practices

AP Stylebook Guidelines on Inclusive Storytelling

The following is taken from the online AP Stylebook

Inclusive storytelling seeks to truly represent all people around the globe. It gives voice and visibility to those who have been missing or misrepresented in traditional narratives of both history and daily journalism. It helps readers and viewers both to recognize themselves in our stories, and to better understand people who differ from them in race, age, gender, class and many other ways.

It makes our work immeasurably stronger, more relevant, more compelling, more trustworthy.

It is essential to accuracy and fairness.

It is not a “topic” to be siloed or explored here and there.

Inclusive storytelling should be part of everyday conversations, decision-making and coverage. That means integrating these goals in all aspects of conversations, from the beginning of the story idea to garnering reaction (and more story ideas) after publication.

Being an inclusive storyteller calls on all of us to stretch beyond our accustomed ways of thinking, our usual sources, our regular, go-to topics or angles for coverage. It challenges us to recognize and examine our unconscious biases, and find ways to overcome them.

It aims to infuse every aspect of coverage, both in text and in visuals, with diverse voices and faces, perspectives and context. It is considerate of language, sources and diverse audiences. It often relies on teamwork and collaboration.

Among the considerations: the stories we choose to convey; the sources we talk with; the images we select; the framing, approach and specific words we use; the details we include or don’t include — and the understanding that all of those various parts of a story can be seen and interpreted very differently, depending on a person’s background and experiences.

A notable example: The very terms diversity and inclusivity or inclusion can be interpreted as implying that the norm or the standard is being white, male, straight, not disabled, not poor, etc.

That is not the intent in this chapter’s use of those terms. Rather, we strive for storytelling that both represents all people and shines a brighter light on those who have been underrepresented in traditional narratives.

Those traditional narratives — in history books, daily journalism and much of popular media — are versions of the world and specific events conveyed for decades or centuries through the perspectives of what has been the dominant demographic. That means those narratives generally reflect what is traditional for dominating groups, but not for underrepresented people and groups.

In other words, not for much of the world. Not for much of our audience.

Such narratives have always fallen short. In today’s world, the inaccuracies and misrepresentations grow ever greater as the diversity of our audiences increases.

As journalists, we are used to asking the questions, not answering them. It’s important to shift mindsets and interrogate our own assumptions and decisions.

That means creating a culture where we can have candid conversations that will lead to richer, more meaningful and more accurate stories. And it means considering, with every story, the points raised here — plus other points for reflection and action that might arise as we expand and deepen our storytelling.

Web Style Guide

Common style guide issues related to commas, capitalization, and more are covered in the UC Santa Cruz Styleguide Cheatsheet.

This style guide will give you information about the general writing styles that you should use when editing pages on the Baskin Engineering website. This page is intended to augment the University Relations Style Guide. If something is not listed specifically here, please refer to the University Relations Tone and Style Guide or Editorial Guide.

  • Please avoid using acronyms such as BSOE or SOE when referencing the Baskin School of Engineering, even when addressing internal audiences. Instead, chose names consistent with the school’s brand official brand, including “Baskin School of Engineering” and “Baskin Engineering.”
  • Per UCOP naming document and associated policies pertaining to the naming gift by Jack Baskin, UCSC shall refer to the engineering school in all official correspondence, media, publications, both internal and external, as the Jack Baskin School of Engineering. Understanding the need for flexibility, the donor has agreed to allow the following exceptions to be used as appropriate. However, the Jack Baskin School of Engineering should never be referred to while excluding the name “Baskin.”
  • In order of formality:
    • Jack Baskin School of Engineering
    • Baskin School of Engineering
    • Baskin Engineering
  • Phone numbers should be formatted as 831-459-XXXX or similar. Remember, many people looking at our website are coming from off-campus and don’t know about UCSC extensions or our area code. Don’t use parenthesis or periods in phone numbers. If you need to include an extension, please use the format 831-459-XXXX x 1234.
  • Whenever possible, don’t use PDF files on the website. Instead, convert the PDF to a webpage and take the time to make sure that the information transferred correctly. Remember, one of our objectives is to make the site accessible to users with disabilities, and PDF files are generally not very accessible to people using screen readers or other means of reading a webpage.
  • Don’t use ALL CAPS. Instead, use proper capitalization of titles and names.
  • Don’t change the meaning of a page. For example, if you create a page or site for the 2021 Commencement Celebration, don’t re-use the 2020 page for the 2021 Commencement Celebration. Instead, create a new page or site and leave the old content alone. As a rule of thumb, if you have to change the title of a page (other than to change spelling, grammar, etc) you probably should be creating a new page rather than changing an old one.
  • A course is something that we teach each quarter – for example, AMS003. A class is a particular instance of a course – for example, AMS003/Fall17. When entering class/course information on webpages, please be sure to recognize the distinction.
  • When copying content from another source and pasting into a webpage, remove all formatting beforehand. 
  • When displaying lists, use bullets (not dashes). This ensures that Google recognizes the content as a list.

Web Best Practices

Use existing themes provided by Baskin Engineering IT

We encourage the use of Baskin Engineering web templates to ensure a consistent look and feel across the sites. The templates were designed to be as flexible as possible. They are also mobile-friendly, so content adapts to mobile-device screen sizes.

If you need support for Drupal 8 sites, please contact webmaster@soe.ucsc.edu.

To request a new website, go to https://support.soe.ucsc.edu/web/request and select WordPress under “Site Type.”

Provide a webpage/site contact

All websites should include a reliable method for contacting a person responsible for the site (e.g. a “This site is maintained by…” line, generally at the bottom of the page, which includes at minimum the e-mail address of the web page/site author). This allows users to provide feedback on your site, submit inquiries, and notify you of any errors they find.

Keep content current and accurate

Content should be updated, edited, removed, and augmented as needed. It is important to keep the sites current. Incorrect and outdated information is usually worse than no information at all. We will send reminders to check your site and verify that the content is current, but it is up to each content owner to keep the content current. As a general rule, it is good practice to follow the schedule below:

Monthly or Quarterly

  1. Check for and fix broken links
  2. Check for 404 (Page not found) errors and fix link or set up a redirect
  3. Add new content
  4. Ensure any dated content is up to date
  5. Review all contact information

Quarterly or Semi-annually

  1. Review each page of your site for content accuracy
  2. Test any forms on your page/site
  3. Test site on new browsers
  4. Remove unneeded, expired, inactive content

Make content accessible

An accessible website means that it can be viewed by the widest audience possible. Accessibility not only refers to people with physical disabilities (such as users with visual impairments), but also people with cognitive, learning, or motor skills disabilities, and people who access your site with mobile devices or old, outdated technology. The following easy fixes can greatly increase the accessibility of your site:

  1. Use alternative text for images
  2. Use headings and lists consistently
  3. Use meaningful link text (i.e., not “link here”)
  4. If you use alternative media formats, make sure this content is accessible to users who can’t see, hear, or otherwise access videos, audio, etc.
  5. Keep the design clear and simple
  6. Using the recommended CMS will help achieve most of the accessibility goals without any additional work on your part.
  7. Employ color contrast. Sufficient contrast between the foreground and background colors must be present. Use the WebAIM: Contrast Checker to ensure the foreground and background colors you are using meet accessibility requirements. 

Optimize content for search engines (“Search Engine Optimization” or “SEO”)

The effort you take to make content accessible will also help optimize content for search engines. This means that individuals searching for related content on the web will be more likely to find Baskin Engineering webpages. 

Other ways to improve SEO include: 

  1. Optimizing for humans (using clear, easy to read, quality content and design) will also help optimize content for search engines.
  2. Include key words and phrases in your content whenever possible. Key words and phrases are terms that users are likely to search on (e.g., “Graduate programs in Computer Engineering” or “engineering school in California”). 
  3. Use unique content on each page. Don’t replicate content on multiple pages. 
  4. Optimize the site structure with clear navigation and cross-links that make sense. (The search engine must be able to make sense of your site.)
  5. Use meta titles and descriptions for each page. 
  6. Use social media and other avenues to get links that point to the website.

Images and videos

Images should generally be rotated, re-sized, and cropped before being uploaded to the site.

Photographs of people may require a model release from the people in the photograph before we post it on our web sites, particularly for students. Release forms and other information about photography are available on the campus communications website: https://communications.ucsc.edu/visual-design/photography.

You may not use pictures from other websites unless you have written permission from the copyright holder.

There is a campus repository of photos that are available for use at http://photos.ucsc.edu

Campus also maintains a library of stock videos. Contact Nick Gonzales for access. 

The Baskin School of Engineering also maintains a repository of images and videos

Include Copyright Information

All official and department webpages should include a copyright notice as follows (minimum acceptable wording):

Copyright © (year) The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

News and Event Postings

Baskin School of Engineering News Articles

The Baskin Engineering Communications team is responsible for handling all news inquiries and writing content for the news website. If you’d like to share news announcements (awards/accomplishments, research updates, etc.) with the communications team, please email news@soe.ucsc.edu.

*News items written by external sources*

To prevent copywriting violations, it’s important to NOT copy news articles written by external sources (i.e. New York TimesScience NewsForbes, etc.) and paste them onto any of our UCSC sites. If you’d like to have an outside organization’s news article appear on the Baskin Engineering news feed or a Baskin Engineering-associated department site, similar to what the main UCSC site does, please contact news@soe.ucsc.edu

Baskin School of Engineering Events

Beginning in November 2022, the Baskin Engineering website will pull events in a feed from the Localist/UCSC events calendar. To get an upcoming event displayed on the Baskin Engineering Events webpage, please follow these steps

This website is maintained by the Baskin Engineering Communications team (communications@soe.ucsc.edu).

Last modified: Oct 26, 2023