Web Policies

Miami's website plays a key role in the University's image, reputation, and delivery of important information to all its main audiences.

Role of University Communications and Marketing

Miami's Office of University Communications and Marketing (UCM) oversees Miami's official web presence, driven by the Cascade Server Content Management System (CMS). Oversight includes CMS functionality, system assets, accessibility, and user access.

In collaboration with UCM, Miami's IT Services hosts the CMS web content. As host, IT is responsible for all aspects of web server management, including technology, network connectivity, and security. UCM partners with Hannon Hill (Cascade's creator) for system support and upgrades.

UCM assumes responsibility for web page template design and maintenance, establishing goals and standards for graphics, photography, and text. Content requirements must be followed to ensure that standards of quality, including accuracy, consistency, usability, accessibility, and branding, are being met. Beyond legal ramifications, oversight of content is necessary in order to ensure that outdated or misleading information does not negatively affect a visitor's perception of Miami University.

UCM also works collaboratively to establish web strategy and priorities based on University goals, directs the research, analysis, and advancement of new media technologies, and trains users to work in the CMS.

Website Policies


Branded CMS templates provided by UCM must be used for all official Miami University websites. The branded template options provide instant identification as a Miami website, incorporating the correct use of the Miami logo and official colors, and includes standardized footers with required links and legal elements. Use of these templates under one content management system enhances search capabilities across all University sites and supports usability by providing consistent, simplified navigation.


Website content created by CMS users within the departments/units must adhere to identification standards governing the use of the University seal and logo as outlined in The Miami Brand.

Supporting Documentation

Due to restrictions of responsive design and accessibility, supporting documents accessed from within Cascade that are not rendered in HTML must appear in PDF format. All PDFs must be remediated by an approved vendor to ensure accessibility.


Website content must meet accessibility standards as outlined in Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 AA (http://www.w3.org/TR/ WCAG20/). These standards are part of the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), a working group of World Wide Web Consortium. Many elements built into the templates or required by the CMS facilitate this accessibility, including headings, ALT tags for image description, and color contrast for color-blindness. However, proper application involving content added by individual web editors remains the responsibility of that department/unit. Content must incorporate the correct use of heading styles, appropriate alternate text for all images (including infographics), and proper construction of tables.

PDFs linked from websites must be accessible, except in cases when the PDF is provided in addition to an exact copy of the information rendered in HTML. Video (both embedded and those leading to YouTube.com) must be accurately closed-captioned. Any video featured on the homepage of an academic division or Vice-Presidential office or on any page relating to the completion of critical or important transactions must also be audio-described, when appropriate.

CMS User Roles and Responsibilities

CMS Publishers

A user designated as "Publisher" has been granted access to publish assets to the live server. Publishers are required to be trained in the use of the Cascade CMS and must complete the Web Publishing Authorization form, which explains and requires acknowledgement of the role's responsibilities. Live publishing rights are granted only after a trial period following training, the length of which remains at the discretion of UCM.

CMS Student Contributors

Student users of Cascade are assigned "Contributor" status only and are not given live publishing access. Furthermore, departments/units employing the Cascade News feature cannot designate a student as manager of the sharing tool console.

Department Heads, Division Leaders, Directors

While the designated Publisher of a department/unit is responsible for supervision of the live website, the content is ultimately the responsibility of the head of that department/unit and the division head.

UCM reserves the right to remove CMS access, live publishing rights, and/or page content that violates the website policies as defined.

Website Guidelines

Site Review

Websites should be reviewed as needed within a minimum period of six months to ensure that outdated information is revised or removed.

Student Web Editors

Website creation/maintenance deserves the allocation of resources that effective online communication requires. Due to the limited nature of student tenure and lack of professional accountability, reliance on students for website creation/maintenance is not recommended. Frequent new student training places an undue burden on training resources; thus, efforts invested in student training and supervision should be directed toward a more permanent and reliable solution. If a student cannot commit at least one academic year to website maintenance, other processes in office management should be considered.

Page Design Elements

Standards for design elements are outlined below.



College, school, department, and unit sites should use official colors and fonts in headers, footers, banners, and other page regions to maintain consistency with the Miami homepage and to ensure ease of navigation for visitors.


WordPress is the recommended blogging tool and platform for websites representing academic courses, laboratories, individual faculty members, student organizations, and other groups only marginally related to Miami University. Use of WordPress allows the website owner(s) to use independent designs and logos that do not necessarily conform to Miami's brand standards and guidelines. It should be noted, however, that if any official Miami mark is used, it must adhere to the standards and guidelines established.


The official Miami website resides at MiamiOH.edu on a server running Apache server software. The material on the primary University web server is freely accessible by anyone connected to the Internet. Secure Socket Layer (SSL) is available on this server. PHP/MySQL is available for web scripting and database development.

The tools listed below are available for use by website editors maintaining official Miami University sites or by faculty and students for academic purposes.

Cascade Server—Content Management System

Google Analytics—Tool for analyzing web traffic

Cascade News feature—Tool for creating/sharing news articles

Localist—Tool for event calendars

Formstack—Tool for creating online forms

YouTube—Site for editing and posting video