Appearance and Usability of Kent State University Websites


  • It is the policy of Kent State University that all visual communications bear its name and be consistent with professional standards in content and appearance. Websites should closely match the style of the Kent State institutional Website.
  • Portraying cohesiveness among the different university sites informs the public that the sites are connected. The look of the site greatly affects how the public interprets the information contained therein.
  • All university sites should have a professional appearance, demonstrating that the contents are of a proficient and reliable source. The visual identity program has been developed to unify and strengthen the image and identity of Kent State.
  • All visual communications that represent the institution to a significant audience, either internally or externally, must adhere to the visual identity program, as detailed in the Guide to Visual Standards.
  • Editorial style at Kent State closely follows the Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law (most recent edition) and Webster’s New World College Dictionary (most recent edition) for all communications.
  • For matters pertinent to Kent State University, the AP Stylebook is superseded by the Guide to University Style, available at the University Communications and Marketing website.


  • Each time a Kent State employee communicates with the public, that communication reflects and affects the university’s image.
  • The university’s image is likewise affected when members of the public come to the university through any of the institution’s Web portals.
  • Upholding implementation and administration of the visual identity program policy rests with the University Communications and Marketing.
  • The intent of the visual identity program is to provide consistency in the approach used by university departments and units to represent the university in publications and other printed matter. The university’s Web presence, as represented in Websites at the departmental or unit level and above, clearly falls within the scope of this policy.


  • Prior to launching a Website, it is helpful to have someone unfamiliar with the project test the Website and provide feedback about:
    • Helpfulness of content
    • Ease of navigation when given a list of predetermined tasks
  • Usability testing is not the same as technical testing. Technical testing should also be performed prior to launch (see Technology Standards and Testing).