A Guide for Writing and Creating Consistent Content Throughout the University of Maine System Website
Introduction to the Editorial Style Guide
The rapid adoption of the internet as the first place that people go to for information has changed the way content is written for the web. Many issues of English usage and naming conventions change frequently (e.g. “e-mail” vs. “email”), and the context for usage becomes more complex as the web is used by more and more different populations. For this reason, an editorial style guide for the University of Maine System is established here to keep up with current standards with writing for the web.
Readers (or “users”) come from many walks of life: Some users primarily use their mobile devices to access websites, others primarily use a desktop or tablet; some users are seasoned internet users, others have only just started using the internet regularly in the last few years; some users are fully abled, while others may have visual or motor skill impairments and use assistive technology, may not be sighted with the full color spectrum or may have differing cognitive abilities; some users will come to the University of Maine System website with decades of experience speaking and reading in English, while others may have less experience with the English language. For these reasons, it is important that content is written in a pervasive, consistent manner across the entire University of Maine System website so that all users, regardless of experience or ability, can understand and navigate this website.
The Writing and Editorial Style Guide will follow the Associated Press Online Stylebook (External Site) because the Associated Press (AP) Online Style (AP Style for short) create and update the rules about acceptable word use and jargon as times change, and is updated continuously to keep up with trends. Additionally, AP Style is optimal when writing for the web because in AP Style content leads with the information that is most valuable to the user first, so that users are able to easily identify what they are looking for on any given web page. And finally, AP Style is broadly considered to have addressed and advocated for accessibility of language and is thus more accessible for most readers.
Topics within the Editorial Style Guide
Because the University of Maine System is an institution of higher learning and an institution that prioritizes accessible web content, consistency and accuracy are important. Please review your web content for errors in style, spelling and grammar.
Below you will find topics to explore and learn about the University of Maine System Editorial Style Guide:
- Acronyms, abbreviations and other shorthand
- Frequently needed style guide references
- Highlighting and emphasizing text with bold, italic and other styling of words
- Hyperlinks and linked text
- Headings and footers
- Names and titles
- Numbers, tables and other data
- Personal pronouns and gendered language
- Search engine optimization
- Title Case vs. Sentence Case
- Titles of works
- Web writing basics
- Word usage and spelling