The following guide governs the writing conventions for the University's website. The guide:
Knowing the purpose of the web content will determine what information you will need and where the content will live on the website.
The main audiences for University webpages are outlined below and depending on who the audience is, will determine where the content resides:
|Audience||Web content located|
alumni and donors
business and industry
news and media
If you know the aim of the content then it will make it a lot easier to write it.
Tip: Ask yourself, what is the intent of the content and what do you want people to do after looking at it?
Know who your target audience is. Remember they might not be familiar with University structure and terms, and English might be their second language.
Write using an active voice where possible as it's easier for the reader to understand and generally uses fewer words
Before: An essential feature of teaching practice in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences is the placement of undergraduate nursing and midwifery students in a variety of clinical practice settings where they have the opportunity to develop clinical skills and observe clinical, remedial and training practices.
After: You will have the opportunity to develop your practical clinical skills in a range of healthcare organisations from hospitals to community health.
Tip: Imagine yourself talking to your target audience. Reflect this in your writing.
Web users scan information on a webpage looking for information they require so make content easy to scan by using the tips below.
Headings should be in lower case with an initial capital (sentence case) - see capitalisation - and no full-stop at the end.
Headings are important scanning devices and should clearly indicate the content of the page. Make sure you use the heading styles within the content management system.
Tip: Don't reuse Heading 1 within the page content as that's used for the page title and should only be used once per page.
The summary paragraph at the top of the page should immediately convey the main purpose and will help with search engine optimisation.
Tip: Be brief. Limit the summary to two or three short sentences.
Highlight key words emphasising minor points to catch the scanning eye. It also makes it easier to pick out sections readers want when re-reading a page.
Highlighting can be used more and with greater impact on the web than in print, but use sparingly.
DO NOT use underline to highlight text as it can be confused with links.
DO NOT use capital letters. THEY ARE HARD TO READ AND SLOW THE READING PROCESS EVEN FURTHER.
DO NOT bold whole sentences or paragraphs as they will dominate the page and make it difficult to scan for important points.
DO NOT use italics for blocks of text as they are also slow to read online. Use only when necessary to highlight a quote.
Numbered and bulleted lists slow down the scanning eye and can be used more effectively on the web than in print.
Try to limit items in a list to fewer than ten.
Tip: Use numbered lists when order of items is important, or when related text refers to a specific item from the list.
Tip: Use bullets when the order of the list items is not so important.
Refer to lists below for punctuation.
When creating a hyperlink make it easy for the reader to understand what they are clicking to. Usually you’ll use the same hyperlink text as the name of the page you’re linking to. This helps with search engine optimisation as well.
Use: See our news and events for the latest updates.
DON’T USE: Click here to access our news and events.
Use: Further information about using text matching software.
DON’T USE: For further information go to http://www.flinders.edu.au/teach/aims/detection/.
It is good usability and accessibility practice to advise users that a particular link refers to a downloadable file.
Provide meaningful link text to the title and the type of document.
Ask yourself whether you need to add a separate downloadable file or whether that content is better off as a webpage.
Use: The Writing for the Web guide (PDF) provides best practice information about writing for the web.
Link to email addresses in full and don't use capital letters. Not everyone is able to open an email client by clicking on an email link (eg if you use web email).
Use: Email email@example.com
DON'T USE: Email Flinders University.
Only change the target to a new tab if you're linking to a page outside the Flinders website.
The only exception to setting the target to a new tab within Flinders is some password protected sites or applications where the Back function in the browser sends you into a loop.
SEO is about developing your content so that when people use a search engine, the webpages you’ve written appear (hopefully at or near the top) of the search results.
It is important that any assets (files such as images and documents) that you are including in your content, meet the guidelines. This is to ensure that they are accessible in all browsers and on all devices and appear correctly in the search results.
In general avoid abbreviations in general text. eg use professor rather than prof.
An initialism of the Latin exempli gratia, literally meaning 'for example'.
As minimal punctuation is preferred, there is no need to include periods after the 'e' and 'g'; however, it should be introduced with a comma or dash, or included with the examples within parentheses. 'Eg' suggests a partial list, so it is redundant to end the list with 'etc'. For example:
An initialism of the Latin id est, literally meaning 'that is', 'Ie' is used to clarify a preceding statement by restating or clarifying.
As minimal punctuation is preferred, there is no need to include periods after the 'i' and 'e'; however, it should be introduced with a comma or dash, or included with the clarifying statement within parentheses. For example:
Alternatively, rewrite your text to not use ie at all.
Acronymns are abbreviations where the abbreviation is formed from letters of other words. TAFE is an example and usually they do not need to be spelled out in full.
Initialisms are very similar to acronyms except that the abbreviation formed with initialisms is not pronounced as a word, rather you say the individual letters. Examples are DVD and CEO.
Do not use full stops in acronyms or initialisms.
If the initialism is not well known, spell it out in full in the first instance and then follow with the initialism in brackets. The initialism can then be used on its own.
If it’s not a common acronym, or if it’s not used much on the webpage, you can remove it altogether.
Be mindful of some acronyms having more than one meaning – SA being a good example. It can mean South Australia or South Africa so consider its use carefully.
The choice whether or not to use a possessive apostrophe after Flinders can often be a confusing one to make.
This comes down to whether Flinders is being used in a sentence as a noun that owns another noun phrase (eg 'Flinders' commitment to student support...') or as an adjective that modifies another noun (eg 'Flinders students are prepared with industry skills...'). Part of the confusion also most likely stems from a more general misunderstanding about how to use an apostrophe after a word that ends in 's'.
It is preferable to not use the apostrophe after Flinders, but sometimes this makes the sentence clunky or confusing.
One handy trick to help you make the distinction is to replace Flinders with Flinders University in the sentence. If the sentence still makes sense without the apostrophe, then simply delete the word 'University'. If it doesn't make sense, then the apostrophe is required after Flinders.
In addition to the below, refer to the Flinders terms and conventions.
Capitalise 'department' when it is included as part of the full title of the department name, but use lowercase when the name is shortened or used informally.
Capitalise the principal words in the complete title of official University forms as well as formal procedures.
Headings (including page titles) should use sentence case and only have a capital letter at the beginning (except for proper nouns, eg Companion of University recipients)
The rationalisation for this is that it is easier to be consistent, easier to read and breadcrumbs are easier to read.
Lowercase 'building' and 'room' except when proper nouns.
Capitalise the full name for scholarships and awards.
Use lowercase for the four seasons and semesters. Only capitalise the first letter of the first word and proper nouns for religious and national holidays.
Use the following date formats:
Use the Australian convention of date-month-year, not the American convention of month-date-year.
Don't use 10.8.12 as this means 8 October 2012 to Americans.
Following is list of terms and conventions commonly employed at Flinders. This list will help you keep content consistent across the website and other applications.
'Campus’ should always be in lowercase, unless it begins a sentence. For example:
Use capitals when referring to a specific degree but lowercase for general degrees (Unless it happens to be the name of a language in which case it must be capitalised).
In all cases, the preferred use is simply Flinders University. This is now an official name listed in the Act. Don’t write Flinders University of South Australia as this can be confused with the University of South Australia.
For branding purposes, the words Flinders University Adelaide Australia may be used in association with the University crest for international audiences.
A 'graduand' is someone who has finished her degree, but has not yet graduated. Always use lowercase, except when starting a sentence. For example:
Use lowercase, except when it is part of the full name of a degree.
'Postgraduate' is always one word, with no hyphen. Use lowercase unless it begin a sentence. For example:
Capitalise titles for a specific person, eg Vice-Chancellor but not for a position, eg topic coordinator, course coordinator
Only capitalise the full name when a person's official title is given in full, regardless of whether it is accompanied by his or her name. When the title is shortened, it should be written in lowercase. Don't mix full and shortened titles.
Capitalise a job title if it immediately precedes a name.
Do not capitalise titles that follow names or stand alone.
Always capitalise titles of the University's executive.
It has been observed that “Vice-President and Executive Dean” is too much of a mouthful, especially in the plural. The Vice-Chancellor says that except in the most formal of instances, the preferred terminology is Vice-President.
The proper names Flinders University, should be capitalised. The generic term should be lowercase.
Bulleted or numbered lists can form part of a sentence or be a complete sentence within themselves.
When items in the list form complete sentences, punctuate with a colon and each list item has an initial capital and a full-stop.
This is a list:
When the contents of the list form are part of the sentence, punctate like with a colon, use lower-case letters and add a full-stop only at the end.
It is important to:
In text, spell out numbers from one to nine, but use figures for numbers 10 and above.
In tables write the numbers as figures and use symbols (%, $) rather than words.
All numbers in decimal point form should be figures and include 0 if less than 1.
0.25 not .25
Always spell out numbers at the start of a sentence.
Use a comma before the thousand with numbers over 9999.
Use a hyphen in fractions, one-third (use hyphen), not 1/3.
Telehone number formats:
Set out addresses without punctuation at the end of a line and don't use shortened forms.
Flinders University Library
Bedford Park, South Australia 5042
Don't use the ampersand in regular text, headings or titles as a replacement for 'and'.
Only insert one space following a full stop at the end of a sentence.
Include spaces between initials and no full stops.
Don't use full stops with contractions such as Mr, Dr, Mrs.
In general, spelling conventions at Flinders University should follow the Australian standard as provided in the Macquarie Dictionary. The Macquarie Dictionary Online is updated annually and is the most up-to-date Australian dictionary and thesaurus.
Access the Macquarie Dictionary Online via the Flinders Library website (click 'Link to database' to access). You will need to provide your FAN and PIN to gain access, but should only have to do this once.
Some general points to remember about Australian spelling are:
Here are some common mistakes:
Do not include a space or full stop between the time and the am or pm.
For a span of time use the word to instead of a dash.
Flinders is a world-class tertiary education institution, and its web content should reflect the highest standards of English and aim for precise word usage.
To help achieve this, here are some commonly misused words:
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