CMS Guidelines and Standards

When creating or editing a site in the Ektron Content Management System (CMS), it's important to keep in mind these guidelines to ensure that every new site has a proper layout that is efficient for visitors to use. 


There are three different types of headings you will use for a page: Heading 3 (H3), Heading 4 (H4), and Heading 5 (H5). Each of them has a function that helps to visually organize the content of a page:

     Heading 3

H3s are used to designate larger portions of text. It is the largest font size on the page and helps the user easily find the section of information they're looking for. H3s always have large sage green text.

        Heading 4

H4s are the second largest font size and helps to denote smaller sections of text beneath an H3. It is displayed on the page as large gray text.
         Heading 5
H5s are the smallest of the three headings, displayed on the page with bold gray text.
Make use of headers to separate different ideas and sections of text on your page, rather than using multiple spaces in between. To create single-spaced text, you can use Shift+Enter when needed.


Before adding a picture onto a content area of a page, you must first press SPACEBAR. The CMS will not place a picture at the very edge of a content area, but you may delete the space after the picture has been added.
Photos can become disproportionate, stretched or compressed if not cropped to the correct sizes:
photo stretch

To ensure that your photos display correctly, check the Image Size Index to see what size to crop your photos to.

Copying and pasting

Always right click and use either the "Paste from Word" or "Paste Plain Text" features to paste content into the CMS. When you choose to "Paste from Word," all formatting like bullets, numbering, tables and bold text will be retained when you select "OK" to insert the content into the page. Choosing to "Paste Plain Text" will remove all formatting, allowing you to put in your own using the text toolbar within the CMS.
If you paste directly using the Ctrl+V function, you may end up with incorrect spacing and fonts, and could even cause the page you are working on to seize up. If this happens, DO NOT publish the page. Instead, click the "Cancel" button and start over.


Links for non-NAU websites and .pdf documents should always open in a new window or tab. This makes it easy for users to navigate the non-NAU site or view the .pdf file but still easily return once they've finished.
To do this, right click on the link to the site or .pdf and choose "Set link properties."
A new window will open with hyperlink options. Select the "Target" dropdown list and choose the "New window" option. Click OK.
The link will now open in a new window or tab.

Saving vs. Publishing

If you are working on a live site, keep in mind that your edits will be pushed from “work” to “live” 15 minutes after every hour.  If you know you won’t be able to finish before this mark, “Save” your work instead of publishing. When the changes are complete, then click “Publish.”


The site menu is always displayed in the blue bar on the left side of the page. It contains navigation items that helps users easily find the information they seek.  Up to three levels of navigation can be added to a menu.

The topmost menu level should have a maximum number of 7 items, give or take 1 or 2. This is because research of the human brain has shown that people are able to comprehend approximately 7 items of information at a single time.  Any other items should be consolidated beneath higher level menu items.

Naming new pages

When naming a pages in the CMS, it is best to keep titles short and concise.  Typical conventions are to remove contractions like "and" and replace them with a dash. For example, "Faculty and Staff" can be shortened to "Faculty-Staff." 
The reason for this is the breadcrumb navigation at the top of the page.  Users will be able to choose items more quickly if there is less to read. Keep in mind that whatever title you enter for a page, it will always appear at the top of the page in the breadcrumb navigation.

Javascript and design

The CMS is designed to be a simple system that makes creating and editing a site easy.  Because of this, javascript and .css files should not be used on web pages created in the CMS.  The design and color scheme should also be left alone to cut down on page errors and ensure continuity between each NAU website.