Policy Code: 
Effective Date: 
Monday, February 9, 2004
Revision Number: 
Revision Date: 
Thursday, May 25, 2006

Page Content

  1. HTML pages over 80kb should be avoided.
  2. Information about file size should be provided when offering a large file download.
  3. Web sites should be tested in multi-browser/version environments.
  4. HTML pages should include keyword and content-language meta tags/information.
  5. Proprietary document formats such as Microsoft or Lotus are not universally friendly and should be converted to formats such as Rich Text or HTML.
  6. When designing a page that is lengthy (like FAQs, Glossary, List of Terms) provide an alphabetical/ navigational index at the top of the page that allows users to jump to a section of the page. Also, provide "back to top" links consistently throughout the length of the page.
  7. Links to the privacy policy, security policy, and contact information should be included in the footer of every page.
  8. Should have a disclaimer for information that may be inaccurate or links to other sites.
  9. HTML pages should include or link to a search engine.
  10. Web sites should be developed for 800x600 screen resolution or lower.
  11. Avoid building pages that scroll horizontally.
  12. Critical page elements, such as navigation and primary information, should be visible in the browser window without scrolling down the page.
  13. Avoid long scrolling pages of more than 2-3 screens – break up content into multiple shorter pages when possible.
  14. Should avoid the use of underscores in a URL.
  15. Directories should contain a server defined default document. i.e. index.html, index.asp.
  16. Should avoid publishing personal email address. Use generic accounts such as taxinfo@nd.gov and individualtax@nd.gov
  17. Websites should provide a secure web form to ensure those who do not have an email client or are using public computers may easily contact you. This will also provide a secure mechanism as email is not deemed secure.
  18. Links taking users outside of North Dakota state government should first alert the user with a notification or page (i.e., a splash message) indicating they are about to leave an official state government site.

Visual Presentation

  1. Maintain consistent look and feel from page to page.
  2. Limit layout color scheme to 3 or fewer colors.
  3. A Web safe color palette should be used to ensure consistency among user agents.
  4. When specifying colors, hexadecimal notation should be used.
  5. Recommended page background color: white or light solid color
  6. Recommended text color for body text: black (or dark color)
  7. GIF images should be utilized for most simple graphical presentation.
  8. JPG images should be utilized for complex graphical presentation such as photographs and image gradients.
  9. Utilize a graphics editor to optimize images to lowest file size and number of colors, and to resize images.
  10. Do not make changes to a JPG file that previously has been compressed. Always save the original, uncompressed image file so that you can go back and make changes if necessary.
  11. Utilize external Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) technology for global control and separation of visual presentation.
  12. Use standard browser fonts for HTML text. Recommended type style: a sans-serif standard font such as Arial or Verdana.


  1. Try to avoid the use of persistent/disk cookies.  Be aware multiple instances of a browser use the same disk cookie for a domain.
  2. Be aware multiple windows for the same browser task use the same in-memory cookie.
  3. Do not store personal or customer information in cookies.
  4. Encrypt cookie content
  5. If the web site requires the use of a cookie and the browser has cookies disabled, redirect the user to a web page explaining why the web site requires a cookie and how to turn them back on.
  6. Minimize the number of cookies for a domain as browsers cannot handle too many cookies from the same domain.
  7. Keep cookie size to a minimum.

Popup Windows

  1. Should not allow navigation outside of the site it was originated from.
  2. Should have a common look as the site it was generated from.
  3. Should only be opened when the user takes action to do so.
  4. Popup windows should be resizable.

Drafted By

Application Architecture