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Web standards for text

All web standards are mandatory for web pages on the Surrey County Council website, S-net and microsites.

Text that is formatted correctly and error-free reaches the widest audience

Select the links below to find out about formatting text, use of bold and capital letters and the importance of correct spelling and grammar.

Formatting text

Body text is always left aligned, black and formatted as 'Paragraph'.

Guidance

  • When you create a new web page, the body text will automatically be formatted as 'Paragraph' which will set the text as left aligned, black and the size of the text. The text size can only be changed for H2 headings and H3 sub headings. The font, that displays as Verdana, is also set by the Paragraph style and cannot be changed.
  • When copying and pasting text from another source (such as a Word document or a web page), you will need to paste text into your page using Ctrl + C keys on your keyboard. Check the text carefully for any formatting errors. The brush button on the editing toolbar can be used to remove text formatting.
  • The 'insert character' button on the editing toolbar should be used to add any symbols such as copyright or registered trade mark characters.

Reasons for these web standards

Technical - Automatic text formatting is mandatory for technical reasons.

  • We use a style sheet to define the formatting of the text on the website. This allows us to create a consistent appearance for all pages that can be updated centrally.

Bold and capital letters

Avoid large blocks of bold text spanning more than one line and do not use block capital letters.

Guidance

  • You can use bold for emphasis but this must be done sparingly, one word or a few words at most. Sentences or paragraphs in bold text are not allowed.
  • The less that you use bold for emphasis, the more effective it is when you do use it.
  • Bold should not be used for headings on the web, contrary to the house style (available on s-net) for other publications, as headings should be formatted as H2 for headings or H3 for sub headings.
  • All text including regular paragraphs, headings and sub headings, links, captions, labels and lists (bullet points) should be sentence case, Block capitals can only be used for acronyms such as SCC - see more guidance on the use of abbreviations and acronyms on the house style A-Z page on s-net.

Example

You can use bold text to emphasise a phrase within a sentence.

Reason for this web standard

Block capitals - we do not allow block capitals for accessibility and usability reasons. This is an accessibility standard to help people with dyslexia and the British Dyslexic Association have a style guide that states that block capitals are hard to read. By avoiding block capitals we are making the text in our website easier for all to read and therefore improving usability.

Blocks of bold text - this standard is mandatory for accessibility and usability reasons. By avoiding blocks of bold text we are making the text in our website easier for all to read and therefore improving usability.

Italics

Do not use italics as it makes text appear to run together for people with dyslexia and visual impairments. It is particularly difficult to read on computer and mobile screens and similar devices.

Spelling and grammar

Check spelling and grammar are correct.

Guidance

  • Use a spell checker (and if you are using Word, the grammar checker also) to check your document before you publish it.
  • You can copy and paste the text in the Preview of your web page into a Word document and then spell check it in order to find any errors and then correct them in Squiz Matrix before publishing the page. Always proof read your pages as well or ask someone else to proofread them for you as it is sometimes difficult to spot your own mistakes.
  • If you are not sure of the correct spelling or grammar to use, ask a colleague or contact the Web and Digital Team.
  • The house style (available on s-net) document has some useful guidance for grammar and English usage.

Reason for this web standard

Good practice and usability - It is good practice to have well written pages with correct spelling as it creates a good impression and it also helps with usability because poor spelling and incorrect grammar make pages harder to read and understand.

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