VUMC Web Minimum Standards
Updated February 2004

Please forward or call Terry Smith (343-1659) if you have questions or comments about the VUMC�Web Minimum Standards or need help securing Web development resources.

Over the years, Vanderbilt University Medical Center has worked hard to attain the highest level of excellence in medical and nursing education, research, and patient care. To maintain that reputation in today's competitive health care environment, we must concern ourselves with the image we project. In years past, we have concentrated our efforts through traditional publications and promotional materials, stationary and business cards. Today, we expand our communication horizons to include the World Wide Web.

The communication tools we use convey an important, lasting impression on our patients, referring physicians, alumni, future students, and other important constituents. VUMC has been successful in the development and maintenance of its identification/publication campaign over the last six years. Now, it is time to invite the same success into our image on the World Wide Web.

The way we identify ourselves, through all methods of communications, is necessarily complex because of who we are and how we are structured. As Vanderbilt University Medical Center, we are first part of Vanderbilt University. Then, within the Medical Center, we consist of five distinct components: The Vanderbilt Clinic, Vanderbilt University Hospital, Children's Hospital of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, and Vanderbilt University School of Nursing.

Each component of the Medical Center, while having its own agenda, is also part of the whole and therefore needs to be clearly identified and accessible to our audience. A uniform and professional communication standard helps us achieve this end.

The following paragraphs will outline the basic (minimum) standards necessary to continue our successful image campaign as related to the Web. The minimum graphic standards are:

Site Updates: As sites are updated, they must continue to be or become compliant with the VUMC Web Minimum Standards.

Changing Site's URL: As sites are updated/or modified and new URLs are used, please do the following:

1. Put up a temporary redirect script sending the visitor to the new site.
2. Contact Terry Smith's office at 343-1659 to share your new URL. (Terry's office maintains all the hyperlinks from the main VUMC Web site).
3. After a reasonable amount of time, take down the old site and disable the redirect script. [This is important as several developers have changed their site URL, but left the old site active too causing a lot of confusion].

(Note) Changing a URL by just one letter, number, or capitalization is enough for it to be considered a new URL. Other sites that link to yours are going to run into an error if you've changed your URL in any form. Please keep this in mind.

Site Registration: All VUMC Web developers/maintainers are requested to contact Terry Smith's office (343-1659) or e-mail:, to register their Web site.

The developer's/maintainers contact information will be used to keep them apprised of new services, procedures, tools, policies, et cetera that pertain to VUMC Web sites. The information will also be used to alert site responsible persons of any problems.

Site Review: All sites must be reviewed when first created and again when significantly changed or updated by Jerry Zhao, VUMC Webmaster, Terry L. Smith, VUMC Web Creative Director, and VUMC Marketing.

Significant Change or Update defined: If a site's design is changed resulting in a "new look" or approximately 10% of the content is modified, this constitutes a major change.

Inclusion of two global navigation hyperlinks: The global navigation links are: VUMC and VU. They are to be displayed within the main page area (600 H x 800 W). The global navigation links insure the visitor can move to the main Vanderbilt home pages and find resources with ease. (Originally, there were four required global navigation links. If a site has their own search engine and help section, they do not need to list the VUMC�Help and VUMC�Search links).

1. VUMC - The VUMC "buzz saw" or "circle" logo with text, as set forth in the VUMC Graphics Standards Manual, should be used as the hyperlink to VUMC's home page. Using the logo, and placing it on all web pages within the main page area (600 pixels H x 800 pixels W) of a department's, division's site will help "brand" the site. The brand informs the visitor that the site is part of Vanderbilt's Web presence. This general recognition becomes a valuable asset, and in turn, offers future benefits to each component part. To obtain approved VUMC�logos for use on the Web, please contact Jason Coles, Creative Web Developer, at 322-2298 or Terry Smith at 343-1659. For higher resolution logos suitable for printing, please contact Amy Brunson, Assistant Director, VUMC�Marketing, by calling 936-0301.

2. VU - The text "VU" or "Vanderbilt University" must be placed within the first 600 pixels H x 800 pixels area of each site's index page (home page) and used as a hyperlink back to the main Vanderbilt University home page.

3. Search - The text "Search" must be placed within the first 600 pixels H x 800 pixels area of each site's index page. This link should point to URL: unless the individual site has its own search engine.

4. Help - The text "Help" should be placed within the first 600 pixels H x 800 pixels W area of each site's index page. This link should point to URL: unless the site has its own help feature.

5. Eskind Library - The text "Eskind Library" is an optional link. We encourage developers to place a link on their site's index page. Eskind is a huge resource to internal and external audiences. Eskind has asked to be listed in two ways: One, as Eskind Library and Eskind Digital Library . These are two different sites, please make note of the URL's.

Inclusion of the statement, "Vanderbilt University is committed to principles of equal opportunity and affirmative action". Vanderbilt University Medical Center has a tradition of being committed to Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employment practices. Therefore, the aforementioned statement must be placed at the bottom of all index pages. For more information, please refer to the "VUMC Graphics Standards Manual", page 15 and 93.

Link back to site's index page - A hyperlink back to the site's index page should be placed on every page. The standard link reads: "Home". The reasoning is that the global navigation links (VU and VUMC,) are located on the site's index page. This promotes hierarchical context for navigation.

Proper use of VUMC "Buzz Saw/circle" Logo with accompanying text (collectively the "brand"). - The VUMC "Buzz Saw" logo is the preferred logo for all Medical Center publications, promotional materials, and Web sites. The logo is both the "circle arrows" mark and the accompanying text which is collectively called the "brand." One part of the brand may not be changed independently of the other, nor may the two elements be separated. The layout of the "circle arrows" mark and the text must appear proportionately as illustrated in chapter 2, Logo Use, of the VUMC Graphic Standards Manual. The logo utilizes the Times Roman condensed typeface. It is the only one that may be used in conjunction with the "circle arrows" mark. For more information about use, please refer to the VUMC Graphics Standards Manual. The correct colors for Web use are VUMC gold (#ffcc00) and black. As mentioned earlier, Vanderbilt University Medical Center has done an outstanding job creating and maintaining its corporate image. Using the VUMC brand properly guarantees our continued success.

New: A new shield logo has been developed by the medical center's advertising agency. The graphic standards have not been delivered as of this date, February 25, 2004. Therefore, it has not been released for general use. When the stadards are completed, which will include the text treatment, they will be made available through Jason Coles (322-2298) or Terry Smith (343-1659)

New: A new brand has been adopted by the entire university. It is the "V" with the oak leaf and acorn. It can be used in place of the buzz saw logo on academic medical sites. For more information on its use and acquistion, please visit: . To access the downloads you will need your VUNetID and password.

Alt-text - Alt-text is required with photographs and graphic elements that are used as hyper-links and not represented in a text format somewhere else on the page. VUMC encourages its Web developers to think about their users (especially handicapped visitors) and provide alt-text descriptions in areas that will maximize their target audiences' understanding of the materials presented on the page.

Text Links - Text links are an A.D.A. requirement for all image-mapped navigation. Image-mapped navigation means that the Web page designer is using an image, when clicked, to move the visitor from the current page to another page/location. Text readers require either alt-text or a duplicate text link to successfully convey messages. Therefore, text links must be placed at the bottom of all pages duplicating image-mapped navigation. An example would be using the VUMC logo as a hyperlink to the main VUMC home page. A duplicate text link is also required at the bottom of the Web page for the image-mapped hyperlink. The text link would read: "VUMC Home".

Date Last Modified - The date the page was last modified is recommended for both user-evaluation and to cultivate a sense of responsibility by the custodian. In the Internet world, information six months old can be considered to be "out dated". The "Date Last Modified" informs the visitor of the age of the information and reminds the custodian to review the information and modify it if necessary. The "Date Last Modified" should appear at the bottom of each site page.

Hyperlinked Contact Information - VUMC's Web site has an advantage over traditional communication tools; it offers two-way communications between the Medical Center department/division and the visitor. We strongly encourage Web developers to utilize this valuable resource by providing either a departmental email address or using a "cgi-bin/mail" formula. Please contact Jerry Zhao, VUMC Webmaster at 6-1244 for cgi-bin formula details. This information should appear on all Web site pages.

Hyperlink to VUMC Webmaster - The VUMC Webmaster is a backup contact for your Web site. Please place a text hyperlink at the bottom of all pages to the VUMC Webmaster.

Descriptive Title - In a Web page's source code is a title tag: title<>. Between the two "< >" symbols, place a descriptive title for your site. An example would be: "Vanderbilt University Medical Center is Middle Tennessee's premier tertiary health care facility specializing in ..." Web crawlers rank sites based on the information found in the descriptive title. Using a descriptive title can significantly improve a site's hierarchical listing in report results.

Meta Tags - Meta tags are similar to the descriptive title found in a site's source code. Meta tags are used to publicize the parties responsible for content and technical issues, improve VUMC Web site's visibility by including terms search engine's report, establishes timeframes for updating content, and contributes to compliance with new W3C coding standards. The bottom line is that by putting descriptive "key words" in the key word meta tag section, a site will significantly enhance its hierarchical standing in search result reports. Examples of keywords used on the main VUMC Web site include: Vanderbilt, Vanderbilt University, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Middle Tennessee, hear, transplant, Children's Hospital, Vanderbilt Children's Hospital, cancer, cancer center, lung................. There is one word of caution. Do not repeat the same words several times. For example, do not list your keywords as follows: Vanderbilt, Vanderbilt, Vanderbilt, or heart, heart, heart. This is called "spamming". Web Crawlers are programmed to kick out sites that use spamming. The first example of keywords above did use the word "Vanderbilt" several times, but it was only used by itself once.

Copyright Statement: VUMC Web sites include images and text information that are the rightful property of the institution. The information is for public viewing, but not intended to be used on other non-VUMC sites or in non-VUMC publications. To adequately protect the site the following copyright symbol and statement should appear on every page of the site:
Copyright � 2002, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
The year will change to reflect the date the site was created

VUMC Web Disclaimers (Optional):

VUMC Communications, Web Team, recommends the following disclaimers be placed on all web site pages that link to resources outside the medical center or that offer health information:

1. Link Disclaimers - VUMC recommends that any page that links to resources outside the medical center should include the following disclaimer:

"Links contained on this page to information provided by other organizations are presented as a service and neither constitutes nor implies Vanderbilt University Medical Center endorsement or warranty."

2. VUMC recommends that any page that offers health information should include the following disclaimer:

"This site is not a source of medical advice. The information provided on this site is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your existing physician or healthcare provider. Please contact your physician or healthcare provider for specific medical advice and/or treatment recommendations."

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