5.1 VCU Homepage Link

Websites must include a link to the VCU homepage.

Details & Example

The VCU homepage link must go to “https://www.vcu.edu” and have “Virginia Commonwealth University” spelled out. This is typically included in the website’s footer in the contact information. Inclusion of the VCU branding bar does not fulfill this requirement.

<a href="https://www.vcu.edu" title="VCU homepage">Virginia Commonwealth University</a>

5.2 Parent Unit Link

Websites for a unit of the university that has a parent unit must provide a link to the parent unit on every page.

Importance & Implementation

A link to a parent unit provides visitors context to the university’s organizational structure as well as ease of navigability to similar resources. This link is typically included in the website’s footer contact information.

5.3 Contact Information

Websites must provide contact information (e.g. address, phone, email) on every page

Required Information

The following contact information is required on every page of a website:

  • A physical address or mailing address
  • A phone number
  • An email address

Importance & Implementation

Providing contact information provides visitors the ability to get additional information by alternative methods. This information is typically included in the website’s footer, but can alternatively be linked to a dedicated contact page.

5.4 Last Updated Date

Websites must provide a date of when the site or its pages were last updated or reviewed on every page.

Importance & Implementation

A last updated date informs visitors on how up-to-date the content is. The following guidelines and suggestions should be referenced when implementing a last updated date:

  • The date should be specific to the individual page and not the overall website.
  • The terms “Last updated”, “Updated”, or “Last reviewed” may be used.
  • Special CMS tags, client-side Javascript, or server-side code are often used to provide a last updated date.
  • This information is typically included in the website’s footer.

Out-of-Date Content

Websites are required to be updated or reviewed every 12 months. Therefore, the last updated date on any page should be less than 12 months old.

5.5 Postal Box

Websites must not use the phrase "PO Box ####" on any page.

United States Postal Services Trademark

Due to a trademark by the United States Postal Services, websites are not allowed to use the phrase “PO Box ###”. Instead, use “Box ####” when referring to a postal box.

5.6 Inclusion Links

Websites must include links to the required inclusion resources.

Required Inclusion Links

The following are the required inclusion resources every website must link to. These links are typically included in the website’s footer.

Accessibility Link

To better provide inclusive access to VCU’s resources, all websites must include a link to VCU’s Accessibility Resources page on every page.

<a href="https://accessibility.vcu.edu/" title="Accessibility at VCU" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Accessibility</a>

Technical Support (Webmaster) Link

To better provide centralized technical support for university websites, all websites must include a mailto link to the VCU Webmaster on every page. This email is monitored by the Technology Services IT Support Center who route messages to the responsible party. Additional methods for technical assistance may be linked alongside the VCU Webmaster mailto link.

<a href="mailto:webmaster@vcu.edu" title="Contact the VCU webmaster">Webmaster</a>

Privacy Link

All websites must include a link to the VCU privacy policy on every page. The privacy policy informs users on what information is collected and how it is used while using VCU digital resources. Custom privacy policies may be linked so long as it references and links to the official VCU privacy policy.

<a href="https://www.vcu.edu/privacy-statement/" title="VCU privacy statement" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Privacy</a>

5.7 404 Page

Websites must provide a helpful 404 error page.

The Importance of a Helpful 404 Page

Helpful 404 pages guide users when they stumble across a resource that no longer exists or has moved. These page should be relevant and tailored specifically for the website.

Implementation & Example

Configuration of a 404 page depends on the platform the website is hosted on. Please contact Web Services if technical assistance in implementing a 404 page is required. A good example of a helpful 404 page is the VCU homepage 404.

5.8 Search

Websites must include an input field to the VCU search tool.

Exceptions

If a website provides its own equivalent search functionality, or is a single page site, the inclusion of an input to the VCU search tool is not required.

Implementation

To learn more on how to include an input to the VCU search tool on a website, visit the article on adding a basic VCU search box to your site at the VCU Technology Services website.

5.9 Course Information

Websites must not contain duplicate information from the VCU Bulletin.

Supplementary Information

If course information must be provided on a website, this information should only supplement and link to the corresponding VCU Bulletin page.

Importance

The VCU Bulletin is the main resource for course information. Course information that duplicates a VCU Bulletin page, instead of supplementing and linking to a VCU Bulletin page, can cause confusion for students when outdated content is found or information between both locations do not match.