Alert Bar

Syndication technology allows for a web bar to appear automatically on websites across the university to highlight emergency news and other alerts. The alert bar accommodates two levels of information. Level 1 alerts, represented by a red bar, will be used for emergencies and will link to the DukeALERT website for additional information. Level 2 alerts, represented by an orange bar, will be used for important messages such as pending severe weather or a gas leak in a building. Download instructions for adding the DukeALERT bar to your website.

Web Fonts

Web fonts are a great way to enhance your site. They provide a more creative license in our communication materials and allow more flexibility and scalability across devices. Because they are vector based they render with crisp edges, clean lines and deep color.

Fonts affect load times as well as your sites’ aesthetic. Don’t use more than 2-3 fonts per site as this will negatively impact your sites’ performance. Since they play such a vital role in a consistent brand execution, refer to the university’s brand system for current font systems and use.

As always, our legacy fonts of Interstate and Garamond are available by request. See University Logos and Fonts in the Brand Guide.


A website has no value if no one can find it. Therefore, a critical component of any online strategy is search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is by no means an exact science. There is no single action or technique a website owner can employ to ensure his or her site will rank well. By following a basic set of principles for good web content design, the chances of achieving favorable rankings greatly increases.

Use this checklist.

Domain Names

Domain names require approval from the Office of Public Affairs. As a general rule, try to stay away from long, cumbersome spellings or ambiguous acronyms. Use fourth level domains if possible to show associations between units and schools.

Domains obtained by third party organization are the responsibility of the purchaser and should not utilize the duke brand without permission. Read the Duke Domain Request Policy and follow the link at the bottom of the page to complete the request form.


Duke’s preferred platform for measuring web site traffic is Google Analytics. If you are unfamiliar with Google analytics or need help getting started, check out Google’s tutorials.


Duke sites and applications must accommodate a baseline level of accessibility to ensure our content reaches as many people as possible.  Duke aims to meet the WCAG 2.0 AA standard. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are driven by the larger international standards organization for the internet, the W3C. These standards, published in 2008, are based on 4 key principles: Perceivable, Operable, Understandable and Robust. Within these standards are 3 levels on conformance. A, AA, AAA.

It is important to note that web accessibility is accommodated through both the back-end development of a website AND the content that website houses. PDF’s are a big culprit of accessibility violations and it is critical that our communications professional know and understand the pitfalls of the web accessibility from all angles. Duke also has dedicated resources for educating and addressing web accessibility. Please visit the Duke Web Accessibility site for more information.

Service Level Agreements

Any work being done through a contract organization – internal or external – requires a minimum service-level agreement of 10 hours per year. Due to the changing nature of the web and the need for version and security upgrades on our preferred platforms, site owners need to identify some portion of their budget and calendar for updates and patching. Without this, sites are subject to vulnerability and attacks. Should a security breach occur, the security office may remove the affected site until it can be confirmed as no longer a risk. IT organizations such as OIT and DHTS cannot be held responsible for sites and actions that they did not create nor participate in.


Duke websites present a very viable risk to the university and can provide an avenue of attack against other Duke systems. There is a direct relationship between website compromises and unpatched web environments and associated servers. In an effort to improve the security of all Duke’s websites, the IT Security Office (ITSO), Office of Information Technology (OIT) and University Communications have developed guidance and options for those managing websites at Duke.

Website Best Practices

A little goes a long way. Though there are a lot of industry standards with regards to mark up, responsive design, SEO, etc, here are general considerations to keep in mind when taking on a new project: (From Bean Creative)

  1. Go responsive — all design is responsive design. Your content needs to be accessible whether the user is on a mobile device with a 5″ screen or a desktop computer with a 30″ screen.
  2. Offer mobile-first design, with progressive enhancement for larger screens
  3. Optimize accessibility to create a user experience that is fully accessible to all viewers — everything from supporting people with disabilities to serving up clear images for devices that support 3x+
  4. Emphasize UX with good typography, leveraging the increasing number of web-specific typefaces and typekits, like Google Web Fonts, Adobe Typekit, etc.
  5. Focus on long-form content as opposed to click-thru content
  6. Provide CLEAR, real time feedback during form interactions. Don’t force users to guess the formatting needed, and consider small additions like auto tabbing between fields and formatting as you type to be super user-centric

Favicons and App Icons

The Garamond “D” makes is a great option to use as the favicon for a website or the home screen icon for your app. Download the full favicon pack or use the icons hosted below.