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Web Development Standard

Policy Code: 
Effective Date: 
November 3, 2004
Revision Number: 
Revision Date: 
November 13, 2013
Last Reviewed: 
November 13, 2013


Create a common, compliant framework for development of accessible Web sites that support the function and mission of the entity while establishing a level of effectiveness, consistency and professionalism across the State of North Dakota Web sites.


  1. HTML shall validate to a World Wide Web Consortium’s “ W3C Recommendation”.
    1. Exception: HTML5.0 until its status changes to “W3C Recommendation”.
  2. Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) shall validate to a “W3C Recommendation”.
    1. Exception: CSS level 3.0 modules until their status changes to “W3C Recommendation”.
  3. File and directory naming conventions:
    1. Periods shall only be used for separation between the file name and extension, i.e. "xxx.html"
    2. Shall not contain uppercase letters.
    3. Shall not contain spaces
    4. Exception: Files or directories not intended to be viewed in a Web browser.
  4. Pages that are indexed by a search engine shall include the Meta tag “description” to describe the page’s content.
  5. Every HTML page shall use a title tag containing information that is relevant to the page’s content.
  6. Browser Plug-ins:
    1. All links to non-HTML content shall provide information on file type, (i.e. pdf).
    2. Users shall be informed of the need for a plug-in and provided a link to download it.
    3. Primary site navigation shall not require a third-party browser plug-in (Acrobat, Flash, Java applet, etc.).
  7. Frame sets shall not be used for the core site design.
  8. Every HTML page shall display the State Banner as per www.nd.gov/banner. Exception: Intranet Web sites and popup windows.
  9. Advertisements shall not be displayed.
    1. Links to business partners are allowed if they meet all of the following:
      1. Link is related to the agency/department’s business
      2. It is without compensation
      3. There is no discrimination in determining allowed links
  10. Business partner sites are not subject to state standards, however they must comply with the following:
    1. Cannot display state banner
    2. Shall not appear as an official state government agency
  11. Every HTML page shall provide a link to or display the following: Exception: Intranet Web sites
    1. Contact information including address, phone and email
    2. Privacy policy
    3. Home page
    4. Security policy
    5. Disclaimer
  12. The Great Seal of North Dakota is reserved for official use.  Refer to North Dakota Century Code (NDCC) 54-02-01 for regulations.
  13. Web sites shall have a customized 404 error page (page not found) with a consistent look and feel to the agency’s website.


Implementation of development standards for accessible, consistent, and user-friendly web sites providing quick, simple access to government information and services. Thereby, reducing costs and streamlining government by providing greater access to information and more convenient government services.


This standard applies to all executive branch state agencies including the University Systems Office but excluding other higher education institutions, i.e. campuses and agricultural and research centers.


Blatant advertisement - i.e. selling of advertisement on web site
Graphics (such as logos) - links or information that endorse a business or organization.
The inclusion of vendor logos and links to commercial sites with the intent to promote sales.
Business Partner Sites
A third party site providing information/applications/services on behalf of the state related to the services of the agency for the benefit of the public that is not hosted on state servers and is not directly controlled by a state agency.
HTML pages
Any page that contains HTML code. This includes static or generated pages.
Intranet Web Site
Web site that is only accessible to an agency’s staff.
Web sites
A Web site is a collection of Web files or application generated web pages.


  1. Web development best practices
  2. W3C specification for HTML
  3. W3C specification for Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
  4. North Dakota Century Code 54-02-01


Non-compliance with this standard shall be reported to the Office of the State Auditor.

Version Control: 
This version supersedes standard EGT003-04.6



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