Assign Your Guide to the Right Type and Group
Selecting an appropriate Type and Group for your guide assists users in browsing through guides on the LibGuides home page.
We create and use four Types of LibGuide: Research Guide
- If you create a guide for a class to use on a specific assignment or during a specific semester, select the Type "Course Guide" and the Group "Course Guides."
- If you create a guide on a subject, such as Journalism or Biology, or if you create a guide on a subject specifically for researchers in your subject areas, select the Type "Research Guide," and the Group "Research Guides."
- If you create a guide about a specific service offered by the WSU Libraries, such as a database or data management resources, select the Type "Library Services and Events" and the Group "Library Services and Events."
- If you create a guide about a specific event or an ongoing series of events, select the Type "Library Services and Events" and the Group "Library Services and Events."
- If you create a guide about a general issue related to research or library services and include library resources, select the Type "Library Services and Events" and the Group "Library Services and Events."
- If you are the Government Documents Librarian and you create a LibGuide specifically about government documents, follow the above guidelines to select the Type you feel is the best match for your guide, then select the Group "Government Documents."
- If you are creating a LibGuide for users of the Spokane Academic Library, follow the above guidelines to select the Type you feel is the best match for your guide, then select the Group "Spokane Academic Library."
- If you are creating a guide specifically for use by other library employees, select the Type "Internal Guide" and the Group "In-House Library Guide."
Navigation and Layout
- Use Side Navigation whenever possible. This navigation style is easier for our users to use, and seems to work better with keyboard navigation (an accessibility plus).
- Remember to consider responsive design (how the guide will look screens of different sizes) when placing and ordering boxes on a page.
- LibGuide titles should be clear and concise. The title of your guide should make it easy for users to know what your guide is about before they look at it.
- Page titles should also be concise and descriptive.
- LibGuide, page and box titles should have Every Major Word Capitalized.
- Create a friendly URL to make your guide easier for users to find and remember.
- You may create friendly URLs for pages on your LibGuide as well. This is optional, but can be very useful if there is a specific page on your LibGuide that you would like people to link to.
Include Contact Information
- Include your profile box on the first page of your LibGuide. This makes it easy for users to contact you if they have questions.
- If a LibGuide has multiple authors, include up to but no more than three profile boxes. If a Guide has more than three active authors, indlude a list of contact information on the first page of the LibGuide.
Pages and Subpages
- Aim to use fewer than 10 pages on your LibGuide. If you need more than 10 pages, consider breaking your LibGuide into two (or more) guides, especially if you are creating content for a general (undergraduate and/or non-expert) audience.
- If you have a lot of pages, side navigation makes using your guide easier on your users. Even with side navigation, however, more than 10 pages is usually too much.
- Use subpages sparingly. This is especially important if you are using tabs.
Tone and Language
- Use a conversational or "business casual" tone in your LibGuide.
- It’s ok to address user as “you” and ourselves as “we.” In addition to adding to a friendly tone, personal pronouns are easier to scan and reduce text size.
- Avoid formal, complex, or academic words when simple ones will do.
- It's okay to use contractions.
- Use the active voice. For example, use "Make an appointment with your librarian..." rather than "Appointments with your librarian may be made..."
- Avoid figurative language (idioms, cliches, and slang) which may be difficult for some users to understand.
- Avoid unnecessary library jargon.
- Use inclusive language and pronouns.
Structure Your Information
- Put key information at the top of the page (don’t bury the lead).
- Avoid large blocks of uninterrupted text.
- Use descriptive headings to structure the information on your page so that users can easily scan and find information.
- Use numbered lists to explain sequential steps.
- Use bulleted lists to group similar items or to simplify and streamline dense paragraphs.
Fonts, Emphasis, Headings
- Use fonts consistently. Using the default font can make your life easier, but if you decide to use another font for your content, make sure you use the same font throughout your LibGuide. Mixing fonts is not generally a good idea for design and accessibility reasons.
- Use emphasis sparingly and follow best practices for accessibility.
- To make text bold, use <strong></strong> instead of <b></b>. The LibGuides Rich Text editor does this automatically, so you don't need to worry about this unless you are working on the source html of your text.
- To italicize text, use <em></em> instead of <i></i>. The LibGuides Rich Text editor does this automatically, so you don't need to worry about this unless you are working on the source html of your text.
- To make text larger, use headings rather than increasing the font size.
- Don't rely on changing text color to emphasize text. This doesn't work for all users.
- When using headings on your LibGuide, use Heading 3 and/or Heading 4.
- If you want to insert a link into your page, do this by using a Link Asset.
- Check to see if a Link Asset already exists for the link you want. Re-use existing Assets when possible.
- If you want to link to a database on your page, do this by using a Database Asset.
- If the database you want to link to isn't in the Database Assets list, contact Erica Nicol, who can add it for you.
- If you want to link to a book in your page, do this by using a Book from the Catalog Asset.
- Check to see if a Book from the Catalog Asset already exists for the book you'd like to add. Re-use existing Assets when possible.
- Include descriptive and appropriate alt text for your images.
- Use purely decorative images sparingly. Images can be a great way to add interest to your LibGuide, but they can also distract users.
- Avoid clipart and generic stock photographs.
- Don't use an image is the subject of the image is just text.