Content Guidelines

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New SOM Web Editors, welcome and congratulations! Soon you are going to be adding, editing and managing web-content for your department, practice or group! This is exciting!

Below is some key information to get you started, and pointers to help make the process of content generation, structuring, and design easier and ultimately more effective.

How to develop engaging content

There are some key considerations for effective web-content, which will help to frame how the content represents your department and how/why the content is relevant to your website users. Please give consideration to the following points:

  • Audience(s):
    • Who is your audience?

    • What are they coming to your site for?

    • What information do you want to convey to them?

    • NOTE: School of Medicine sites are typically geared towards Education and Research audiences. Patient-related information should be on
    • Let us know if need to add or update patient-related information on and we’ll connect you to the team that can help.
  • Substance: Consider topics, tone, style, what key messages need to be communicated.
  • Hierarchy: At a high level, what are the most important topics?
  • Structure: Think about how to best prioritize, and break up the content into approachable blocks.

Content Structure

  • Structure content: Human Readability should be a priority. Is your content intuitive and approachable?
  • Use: short, descriptive summaries at the top of web pages, to introduce users to what is contained within the page.
  • Structure content: Provide users easy entry points into the content.
  • Use: Headers and Sub-headers to visually aid users understanding of entry points, and to appropriately structure the page for screen-readers.
  • Call to action: Establish if there should be a Call To Action. What do you want the user to do as a result of consuming the content?


  • Photography and illustration can be a powerful way to communicate content topics and generate enthusiasm for the content. Learn more.
  • Do not use images which contain text. This is bad visually, bad for accessibility and bad for SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
  • ALWAYS apply Alt text to images, when they are uploaded to the website. Always add Alt text to any images which you encounter that do not already have Alt text applied. Learn more about accessibility and the importance of Alt text here.
  • Use descriptive Alt text: Describe exactly what is shown in the image; use contextual descriptions, which include reference to UVA and remember, Alt text not only serves accessibility needs, but also enhances SEO.

Process: People/Approval/Ownership

  • Workflow: Clarify the process, tools and resources needed to create, maintain, and sometimes retire content.
  • Governance: Who is responsible to ensure consistency, integrity and quality of the website content.
  • Never post any content which is in violation of HIPPA regulations and guidelines.


Please spend some time exploring and familiarizing yourself with the learning resources available on this site:

If you would like to set up virtual online training, contact us here.