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Guidelines NCARRL Web Site

NCARRL is a web site widely used by radio amateurs and people interested in Amateur Radio. To keep it well organized and useful to all, the following guidelines have been established. All new pages will meet these guidelines. There are some legacy pages which at this time do not meet the guidelines. They will be updated when modified and as time permits.

By the nature of our hobby, many of our users are visually or physically limited. Consistency between pages and following general Web Accessibility guidelines is important for these user's experience. Pages should be navigable with a mouse, a keyboard, or a screen reader. The intent is that we follow as closely as possible the W3C Recommendations for Web Accessibility.

This document is not all-inclusive. A good quote for web design comes from our prior Section Manager, John Covington, W4CC, who teaches web design courses. John said, "Just because you can do something, it doesn't mean that you should." Just keep it simple, remember the audience, use common sense, and you will be OK.

Coding guidelines for NCARRL pages do all not necessarily apply to external pages that reference by links.

General Guidelines for NCARRL Hosted Pages

  1. Most content is provided by ARRL officials (Section Manager, Section Emergency Coordinator, Section Traffic Manager) and their designated delegates. Courtesy website listings can be added to the ARES or Club listings that are submitted by verifiable club officials if the site linked to meets our common sense guidelines in the Links to other sites section.
  2. Copyright rules must be strictly observed. Please do not submit any copyrighted images that we do not have the right to use.
  3. The ARRL owns copyright on their images. There is a set that they provide that we may use. However we are not allowed to modify ARRL images, as tempting as it may be.
    The ARRL graphics are available for download from
    http://www.arrl.org/logos-photos.
  4. When including a link to a non-HTML document (ie pdf or word), include the document format in parenthesis after the link. Since there are users who do not have access to Microsoft Office, documents in Office format should be translated to a more universal format such as PDF or HTML.
  5. Pages will not play sounds when opened. Audio files are OK on a page, but they must require user interaction to start them. Links to audio file contain a note indicating that the page contains sound.
  6. If any scripts are included on a page, they cannot "break" the expected user interaction with the browser (the back button, right mouse clicks, etc.).
  7. There will not be any commercial advertisements on pages hosted on the pages hosted on the NCARRL site.
  8. There will not be any pornography on the site or any site directly linked to this site.
  9. Spell check your document.
  10. Check all links in your document, including ones that worked the last time the document was uploaded.

Style Guidelines

  1. Most pages have four sections - the banner, the body, the menu, and the footer. These sections must be used as defined.
  2. Every page shall have contact information near the bottom. This page may be the content provider of the page. If the content provider prefers, the webmaster's information may be substituted.
  3. Every page must include a date. Generally this is at the bottom of the page. The main page, however includes dates with the articles on the top.
  4. By legacy, most footers have links back to the NCARRL home page and back to the main page for the area of NCARRL the related to the page.

Coding Guidelines

Most of these items are necessary for a page to render correctly in all browsers and to be screen-reader, alternate keyboard and mobile device ready. They are also essential for cross-browser support.
  1. No blinking text.
  2. No scrolling or moving text.
  3. Animated images are discouraged.
  4. All tags must have an end tag. The single tag format may also be used.
    For example, <li> tags must have a matching </li> The alternate format for tags such as end of line, horizontal rules, or images is to place the closing / inside the tag. For example <br/>.
  5. Do not cross tags.
  6. All images must have an ALT tag.
  7. Control characters should not be used in files.
  8. Do not use tags for other than their intended purpose such as changing fonts or creating pseudo-lists for indenting.
  9. Do not use "graphics only" for navigation to other pages. Include text with the graphic for screen readers and to give mobility impaired users and users of mobile devices a larger "click area." Graphics may be used for navigation within the same page since the user can get to that content by other scrolling.
  10. Provide a transcript or description on any pages that use audio or video as essential content. This is for users who are unable to hear or play sounds or see, hear, or play the video.
  11. Pages containing active content (JavaScript, Flash, etc.) that is dependent on the user's browser or plugins should have alternate content available for users who are unable to use the content if the content is essential to the using the page. Active that make the page "more fun" to use but are not essential to the site do not have to have alternative means, but the controls should not appear in an environment that does not support them. For instance the pull down to change page style is never visible in a browser that does not support JavaScript. The page is still usable since the default color scheme is automatically used when JavaScript is not available.
  12. Avoid RED and GREEN as they can be problems for the color-blind. (If you are a user who has issues with other colors, especially colors on NCARRL, please let the webmaster know so that the issue can be addressed.)

Hints for Content Providers

Web Pages or Areas

If you are providing a web page or area, please do not put yourself to the trouble of attempting to recreate the menus, banners, and layout of the web site. That is way too much work, and way more work than the webmaster does to create a new page.
There is a set of templates and scripts for easily creating the pages. Not only does using the templates makes it easier to quickly create new pages, but it makes it simple for us to make site-wide changes such as the links in the menu or on the banner. All you need to create is the content area, and perhaps choose graphics and text for the banner or menu items.

You may either contact the webmaster for a set of templates and instructions, or send the HTML for the body section, or send text that can be formatted for you. It is very easy to do with the templates that we have. If you do your own HTML for the body, take a look at the css styles. You can give me as much or as little as you wish. If you want to write HTML, that's fine. If you prefer to provide Word or Text, the HTML can be created for you. If you want something different in the navigation or tool areas, please discuss how to most smoothly provide that.

For authors creating a full section for the web site either the standard navigation meny on the NCARRL home page or a custom navigation menu may be used. For different items in the navigation menu from the standard navigation menu, submit the menu items and it will be formatted in the appropriate HTML to match the current menu. It is not necessary to write the code yourself.

Front Page Articles

Send the webmaster as little or as much in the way of code as you care to create. All that is needed is full information. Providers of front page articles can information from which to compose an article or send a composed article, either formatted or unformatted.
If you format article, this is the format that the scripts use to insert the article into the page:
Title on a single line
Text of article, with one or more blank lines between individual paragraphs.
optional: SIG:
Signature information
On however many lines
It should be on
A page creation script automatically adds the date, paragraph breaks, and breaks between signature lines to the article. Additional HTML tags, links, etc. may be included.

Example:

The Aliens Have Landed
Here is some text blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
 
Second Paragraph blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

 

 
This third paragraph contains <b>an HTML tag </b>
SIG:
Mork
From Ork

It is not necessary to do this formatting. I am more than happy to do it for you. Often I receive a news item asking "can you put this online for me?" Of course I can. I can even compose an article if you give me enough information.

Attachments: YES. We definitely can put links or attachments on the articles. For non-HTML documents, there will be a note added stating the format of the document to aid our users. Since some users cannot read Microsoft Office Documents, PDF's are appreciated, either instead of or in addition to the Microsoft Office Document. (The webmaster can create these, too.)
Sounds and videos: Partially allowed. Main NCARRL pages will not open with sound or videos running. Sound or video players may be part of the page, or the page may link to a sound or video as long as it is made clear that the link opens sound or a video. Sounds and videos may be included as attachments, including links to sites such as YouTube.
Copyright: Please be sure that you either own or have permission to use any material that you submit. If I look at something and am not sure, I may quickly confirm copyright with you before posting.

Links to Other Sites

This mainly pertains to the club and ARES listings. Any site that is linked to must of course be free of pornography. (Had to include that.) It should also be in "good taste." That is somewhat subjective. While the Section Manager may overrule the WebMaster on the issue of "good taste", that should not be a problem. No legitimate Amateur Radio club site has ever been rejected.
If a page opens up playing sounds, this will be noted in the link to that page as a help to people in environments where sudden sounds can be a problem.

ARES and Club Listings

Any club group may be listed on the NC clubs page, regardless of ARRL affiliation, provided it meets these guidelines. If the club is an ARES group, it will instead be listed on the ARES page to make it easier for outside users to find. Please inform the webmaster of any link changes. Unfortunately, we do not have time to follow every link to see if it is alive as often as we would like.

Please be aware that listing your page with the ARRL field organization does not give us any notification. You must list your pages with the ARRL separately. There is a link to the ARRL affiliated club section on the club page.

Special note for webmasters for clubs and local ARES organizations: If you include the ARES logo on your page, ensure that it's the newer one with the ® symbol in it. It is available on the NCARRL web site at http://www.arrl.org/logos-photos.