Web Style Guide & Best Practices

Web Style Guide

This style guide will give you information about the general writing styles that you should use when editing pages on the Baskin Engineering website. This page is intended to augment the University Relations Style Guide. If something is not listed specifically here, please refer to the University Relations Tone and Style Guide or Editorial Guide.


Common style guide issues related to commas, capitalization, and more are covered in the UC Santa Cruz Styleguide Cheatsheet.


  • Please avoid using acronyms such as BSOE or SOE when referencing the Baskin School of Engineering, even when addressing internal audiences. Instead, chose names consistent with the school's brand official brand, including "Baskin School of Engineering" and "Baskin Engineering."


  • Per UCOP naming document and associated policies pertaining to the naming gift by Jack Baskin, UCSC shall refer to the engineering school in all official correspondence, media, publications, both internal and external, as the Jack Baskin School of Engineering. Understanding the need for flexibility, the donor has agreed to allow the following exceptions to be used as appropriate. However, the Jack Baskin School of Engineering should never be referred to while excluding the name "Baskin."


  • In order of formality:
    • Jack Baskin School of Engineering
    • Baskin School of Engineering
    • Baskin Engineering


  • Phone numbers should be formatted as 831-459-XXXX or similar. Remember, many people looking at our website are coming from off-campus and don't know about UCSC extensions or our area code. Don't use parenthesis or periods in phone numbers. If you need to include an extension, please use the format 831-459-XXXX x 1234.


  • Whenever possible, don't use PDF files on the website. Instead, convert the PDF to a webpage and take the time to make sure that the information transferred correctly. Remember, one of our objectives is to make the site accessible to users with disabilities, and PDF files are generally not very accessible to people using screen readers or other means of reading a webpage.


  • Don't use ALL CAPS. Instead, use proper capitalization of titles and names.


  • Don't change the meaning of a page. For example, if you create a page or site for the 2021 Commencement Celebration, don't re-use the 2020 page for the 2021 Commencement Celebration. Instead, create a new page or site and leave the old content alone. As a rule of thumb, if you have to change the title of a page (other than to change spelling, grammar, etc) you probably should be creating a new page rather than changing an old one.


  • A course is something that we teach each quarter - for example, AMS003. A class is a particular instance of a course - for example, AMS003/Fall17. When entering class/course information on webpages, please be sure to recognize the distinction.


  • When copying content from another source and pasting into a webpage, remove all formatting, using the eraser icon ("Remove Formatting") in the toolbar. Then apply formats and styles within Drupal.


  • When displaying lists, use bullets (not dashes). This ensures that Google recognizes the content as a list.
Web Best Practices

Use Drupal 8 and existing themes provided by Baskin Engineering IT

We encourage the use of Baskin Engineering web templates to ensure a consistent look and feel across the sites. The templates were designed to be as flexible as possible. They are also mobile-friendly, so content adapts to mobile-device screen sizes.

If you need support for Drupal 8 sites, please contact Baskin Engineering Websites Project Manager Laura Reichle at lreichle@ucsc.edu.

To request a new Drupal 8 website, go to https://support.soe.ucsc.edu/web/request and select Drupal 8 under "Site Type."


Provide a webpage/site contact

All websites should include a reliable method for contacting a person responsible for the site (e.g. a “This site is maintained by...” line, generally at the bottom of the page, which includes at minimum the e-mail address of the web page/site author). This allows users to provide feedback on your site, submit inquiries, and notify you of any errors they find.


Keep content current and accurate

Content should be updated, edited, removed, and augmented as needed. It is important to keep the sites current. Incorrect and outdated information is usually worse than no information at all. We will send reminders to check your site and verify that the content is current, but it is up to each content owner to keep the content current. As a general rule, it is good practice to follow the schedule below:

Monthly or Quarterly
  1. Check for and fix broken links
  2. Check for 404 (Page not found) errors and fix link or set up a redirect
  3. Add new content
  4. Ensure any dated content is up to date
  5. Review all contact information


Quarterly or Semi-annually
  1. Review each page of your site for content accuracy
  2. Test any forms on your page/site
  3. Test site on new browsers
  4. Remove unneeded, expired, inactive content


Make content accessible

An accessible website means that it can be viewed by the widest audience possible. Accessibility not only refers to people with physical disabilities (such as users with visual impairments), but also people with cognitive, learning, or motor skills disabilities, and people who access your site with mobile devices or old, outdated technology. The following easy fixes can greatly increase the accessibility of your site:

  1. Use alternative text for images
  2. Use headings and lists consistently
  3. Use meaningful link text (i.e., not "link here")
  4. If you use alternative media formats, make sure this content is accessible to users who can’t see, hear, or otherwise access videos, audio, etc.
  5. Keep the design clear and simple
  6. Using the recommended Drupal CMS will help achieve most of the accessibility goals without any additional work on your part.


Optimize content for search engines ("Search Engine Optimization" or "SEO")

The effort you take to make content accessible will also help optimize content for search engines. This means that individuals searching for related content on the web will be more likely to find Baskin Engineering webpages. 

Other ways to improve SEO include: 

  1. Optimizing for humans (using clear, easy to read, quality content and design) will also help optimize content for search engines.
  2. Include key words and phrases in your content whenever possible. Key words and phrases are terms that users are likely to search on (e.g., "Graduate programs in Computer Engineering" or "engineering school in California"). 
  3. Use unique content on each page. Don't replicate content on multiple pages. 
  4. Optimize the site structure with clear navigation and cross-links that make sense. (The search engine must be able to make sense of your site.)
  5. Use meta titles and descriptions for each page. 
  6. Use social media and other avenues to get links that point to the website.


Images and videos

Images should generally be rotated, re-sized, and cropped before being uploaded to the site.

Photographs of people may require a model release from the people in the photograph before we post it on our web sites, particularly for students. Release forms and other information about photography are available on the campus communications website: https://communications.ucsc.edu/visual-design/photography.

You may not use pictures from other websites unless you have written permission from the copyright holder.

There is a campus repository of photos that are available for use at http://photos.ucsc.edu

Campus also maintains a library of stock videos. Contact Nick Gonzales for access. 

The Baskin School of Engineering also maintains a repository of images, videos, slide presentations, and logos


Include Copyright Information

All official and department webpages should include a copyright notice as follows (minimum acceptable wording):

Copyright © (year) The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

News and Event Postings

Baskin School of Engineering News Articles

The Baskin Engineering Communications team is responsible for handling all news inquiries and writing content for the news website. If you'd like to share news announcements (awards/accomplishments, research updates, etc.) with the communications team, please email news@soe.ucsc.edu.


*News items written by external sources*

To prevent copywriting violations, it's important to NOT copy news articles written by external sources (i.e. New York Times, Science News, Forbes, etc.) and paste them onto any of our UCSC sites. If you'd like to have an outside organization's news article appear on the Baskin Engineering news feed or a Baskin Engineering-associated department site, similar to what the main UCSC site does, please contact news@soe.ucsc.edu


Baskin School of Engineering Events

To get an upcoming Baskin Engineering event posted on the Baskin Engineering Events webpage, please contact Websites Project Manager Laura Reichle at lreichle@ucsc.edu with the following information about your event:

  • Type of event
    • (There are two types of engineering events: "regular" events (seminars, talks, speaker series) and student advancements/defenses.)
  • Date
  • Start time
  • End time
  • Location 
  • Title of event
  • Summary
  • Description 
  • Speaker Name
  • Speaker Title & Organization
  • Speaker Bio
  • URL for more information/registration link

Sample Baskin School of Engineering Event Type 1

Sample Baskin School of Engineering Event Type 2 (Advancement/Defense)


Campus Wide Events Calendar 

In addition to having your upcoming Baskin Engineering event posted on the Baskin Engineering events webpage, we strongly suggest adding your event to the UCSC campus wide events calendar to increase visibility. All UCSC staff have access to post on the main campus events calendar. Navigate to calendar.ucsc.edu and click "Submit an Event" on the right hand side of the page to get started. 

This website is maintained by the Baskin Engineering Communications team (communications@soe.ucsc.edu).