Article formatting and presentation guidelines

This article sets out some article formatting guidelines and initial style guidelines. It is likely to evolve and be refined later. It assumes you have read and understood Creating and editing articles - the basics already, particularly the standards it sets out for article structure.

Formatting guidelines

  1. Never try to import styling from a foreign original article, i.e. never try to paste in formatting from outside - always start with plain text and apply formatting within the Joomla editor. If you are posting for someone else please go back and look at their intended formatting and use if it broadly meets the guidlines set out below.
  2. Use formatting features sparingly and modestly, and be consistent so articles are rendered consistently compared with each other.
  3. Basic formatting features like Bold and Italic are OK but underlining is not (it can make the user think the are looking at a hotlink).
  4. Never insert extra spaces between words/paragraphs; use only one space between sentences; use only one line space between paragraphs.
  5. Bullet points or numbered lists like used here are OK.
  6. Use of indent is fine but don't overdo it.
  7. Don't use LOTS OF UPPER CASE - it's considered rude, like shouting.
  8. Use the Blockquote feature for.....block quotes.
  9. Don't use (old fashioned) centre justification; think twice before considering right justification.
  10. Using "Heading 4" format for sub-headings, as used in the article you are reading now.
  11. Use different text colours sparingly not garishly - stick to red if anything.
  12. Think twice before changing the background colour - what purpose might it serve?
  13. Links to other articles within the site should open in the same browser window (default setting), but all links to external web pages must be set to open in a new browser window. To do this, when you create or edit the link, see the lower part of the link creating screen that says Attributes, go to Target, set the option "Open in new window", then click Insert or Update.

Writing and stylistic rules

  1. Don't attempt to second guess the site structure by including page structuring indicators such as "In this section": remember the core unit of site content is the article. All articles must be discrete stand-alone entities, and the organisation of articles onto pages kept as a separate design and development exercise. There may be some exceptions.
  2. Use plain English in short sentences, with short punchy paragraphs.
  3. Avoid temporal references that create ambiguity when the article has aged, for example don't refer to "last week's conference" but "the conference that took place on 31 July 2017" (though note that we'll also be developing an archiving protocol to cater for genuinely out of date content).
  4. When referring to another article, do not assume its location, just insert a link to it. For example avoid something like "See our article about Paul in the Expressions section" and instead use something like "See our article on Paul Hoggett" and insert a link to the target article under the words "Paul Hoggett".