Department Website Guidelines

Guidelines for Departmental Publishing:

Communication Style Guide:

Contribute Training:

CUNY Model Release Form

CUNY Podcast/Video Release Form


Content Strategy / Contribute Training:


The Content Management training includes detailed information on managing your website content using the software program Adobe Contribute. Emphasis of the training is on adding and changing page text, creating and modifying links, uploading and linking PDF’s, basic formatting of documents, and using tables to create and modify tabular data.

Additional information covered in the training includes:

Communications Style Guide:

Whether you are communicating with an internal or external audience, this editorial guide is designed to help you make decisions that are in keeping with the College’s overall style for print and the Web. The Communication Syle Guide documentation is located at:

Guidelines for Departmental Publishing:

As of February 1, 2011, individual departments are permitted to make changes and updates directly to their websites, but only after their sites have been placed in the College's new template by the I.T. Division and the content has initially been reviewed and approved by the Media Relations Office. Guidelines for Department Publishing is available for review at:

Content Strategy:

Content Strategy includes resources and best practices needed to develop effective web content. Resources include:

  • Referencing (linking) to the undergraduate and graduate smart catalogs View Screen Shot
  • Referencing non-bulletin Lehman website content (A good practice for developing effective websites is to avoid linking to external sites whenever possible. Our new department templates provide a method of dynamically 'pulling' web content from other web pages into your department site context. For example, rather than link directly to the Financial Aid website, our web team can create a 'feed' of Financial Aid material so as to ensure that users stay within your site context. View Example Site:
  • Active Data Calendar (ADC) - View Screen Shots
  • Creating and linking of new pages (Contribute - See Below)
  • Side Navigation (Requests for changes to side navigation should be directed to the web team) View Screen Shot
  • Modules & Right Side Links (Web Team) View Screen Shot
  • Naming Conventions (always use small case letters with words separated by dashes. E.g. office-hours.php)
  • PDF upload, naming, and linking (Contribute - See Below)
  • Content Auditing
  • Social Networking View Screen Shot
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Newsletter (Wordpress) and/or blog
  • Media Assets
    • Video (flow player, embedded in page, lightbox, or link to YouTube) View Screen Shots
    • Photos (banner photo, or embedded thumbnail images, photo galleries)
    • Podcasts (iTunes U, or embed in page)
  • Google Analytics
    • Use of our analytics tool to monitor site usage and track page views, time spent on site, etc. Send an email to David Stevens if you'd like direct access to our Google Analytics tool. View Screen Shot

Contribute Training:

The hands-on Contribute portion of the training includes:

Step 1: Downloading and Activating Your Contribute Key

Login to your webmail account and download the attached Education Contribute key. Double click on the key and when prompted by Contribute enter your name, email, and password. View Screenshot

Step 2: Connecting to Your Site

Once you’ve activated your key, Contribute will automatically open to the division or department site that you have editing privileges for. Once in the site, navigate to the page that you’d like to make changes to and click the ‘edit page’ button in the upper left portion of the screen. View Screenshot

Step 3: Contribute Interface

Contribute uses a Microsoft Word type interface which makes editing content highly intuitive. Formatting and function options at the top of the Contribute window include: View Screenshot

  • Browser-based navigation, allowing simple navigation to pages you'd like to edit -
  • Activating the 'edit' view by clicking the 'Edit Page' button in the top left of the screen -
  • Ability to change headings
  • Page formatting options including bolding text, bulleted lists, and creating tables for displaying tabular data
  • Ability to create and/upload links

Additional tools at the top of the page include:

  • ‘Publish’ and ‘Send’ buttons which allow you to publish your pages or send to other contribute users for review/approval
  • Save a draft for later - allows you to save your edits without needing to publish to the production server
  • Discard Draft Button-- allows you to disregard any changes that have been made thereby reverting to earlier versions of the page
  • Page Properties - allows you to customize links, change titles, and change appearance, but these options are not necessary given how we've coded the site templates
  • Spell Checker

Step 4: Editing Page Content

To modify headings and text on your page, simply highlight the text and begin typing. Please note, we are using pre-set styles, so please avoid forcing page formatting in the templates by changing colors or font sizes. Our pages are 100% compliant to web accessibility guidelines, but this validation is broken if we create ‘inline’ or forced styles. Please use the standard h2, h3, or h4 for for headings, and p tag for text. Bolding content is acceptable. For more information about our style guidelines, please read our web publishing guidelines.

Please also note, that writing for the web is different than writing for brochures or printed pages. People tend to scan pages for information, so the use of sub-headings and bulleted lists are ideal text treatments for web content.

Step 5: Creating Links

Your options for creating links in Contribute include: View Screenshot

Select the text on the page where you would like to create a link and tick the 'Link' button in the upper portion of the Contribute window. A dialogue box pops up which presents you with your link options. You can do the following:

  • Browse to a Web Page (click browse button to find the web page you'd like to link to
  • Choose a File in your website directory you'd like to link to (this could be existing web pages, or PDF files which are located in the 'documents' folder.
  • File on My Compuer - Locate a PDF, image, or Word file on your local hard drive which will upload the file to our web server. Note: for this option, you must 'Publish' the page in order for the PDF file to be saved in the 'documents' folder and available for viewing on your website.
  • Email Address: You may select this option, then simply enter the email address you'd like to link to. Note: Linking to email addresses using this method will usually cause your web browser to attempt to open up Microsoft Outlook email client. If your website visitors do not have Outlook configured properly, this may cause problems opening up this link. Our recommendation is to type the email address in the page, but NOT link directly to it.

If you prefer, you could create a link in Contribute by navigating to the page you'd like to link to using your preferred browser then copying and pasting (Ctr > C to copy and Ctr > V to paste) the link from the address pane.

To upload and link to a PDF do the following:

  • From within Contribute, type in the text that will be the PDF link source, or highlight text to be used as the link source, then click the ‘link’ button at the top of the Contribute window. Click on the ‘Files on my Computer’ option and navigate to the PDF file on your local computer. View Screenshot
  • Upload the file – Note: The PDF file will be placed in a ‘documents’ folder after you’ve published the page.

Step 6: Creating a New Page

To create a new page based on an existing template page do the following: View Screenshot & Detailed Instructions

  • From within Contribute, navigate to the page that you’d like to use as the template for your new page
  • Click the ‘New’ button at the top of the Contribute window (next to the Edit button)
  • Make sure the ‘copy of current page’ option is selected then enter a page tile. click 'ok' : NOTE: title your pages using small case letters ONLY. Please use dashes (not underscores) to separate words. For example, if the page you are creating is called Staff Office Hours, the title you should enter should be staff-office-hours
  • After entering the title, click OK, and you'll be taken to the Contribute editing view. Type the content, adhering to our style guidelines (h2, h3, and h4 for headings, and 'p' for text). As stated earlier, bold is acceptable, but colored text, and resizing font sizes is discouraged.
  • Click ‘publish’ and when prompted the file name you entered for the tile will be inherited. Click OK, and your page will be published. Note: You will be prompted that this page will not be viewable until it is linked to from another page. To link to the new page you've just created follow the link steps listed above (Creating Links), making sure to select the 'Choose a File' link option (See Creating Links Section)

Step 7: Publishing Pages, Save for Later, or Discarding Drafts

Once you have completed making page edits, click the ‘Publish’ button at the top of the page, then using a browser, navigate to the page on your website and refresh to view your updated web page. View Screenshot

Note: If the page you are editing is not ready for publishing to the live server, but you do not want to lose your work, make sure to click the 'Save for Later' button in the highlighted region above. Note: If you save the page for later, you will maintain your 'lock' on the file, which will disallow others from making changes to the page. - View Screenshot

If you'd like to completely discard the page you've been editing, simply click the 'Discard Draft' button at the top of the Contribute page.

Versioning & Rollbacks

We have configured Contribute software to 'rollback' to previous versions of the file if necessary. If somehow the template appears broken in the browser, please immediately contact David Stevens, Sharanjit Sahi, or Gerlando Termini and we will correct the problem by rolling back to previous version.


Last modified: Oct 13, 2011