Web Site Policies
Writing for the web is different than writing for printed communications. People are task-focused on the web; they scan text quickly instead of reading long blocks of text. It is our content policy to:
- Be concise. Short text blocks, meaningful headers, and bulleted lists guide readers. We aim for half the word count of conventional writing.
- Write for the audience. We keep terminology, and content appropriate to the page's audience. (Doctors treat influenza but most people get the flu.)
- Keep text simple. We avoid bold, italics, underlines, ALL CAPS, and other font styles.
- Use standard layouts. We help users know what to expect by using standard headings and orders for most pages including: topics, programs, data pages for specific people. We avoid unstructured, or frequently asked question formats.
- Avoid duplication. We strive to not repeat information on different pages, except when necessary to address different audiences in a different manner.
The web is used by everyone including people with hearing, visual, other disabilities, differing literacy levels and familiarity with the content. We strive to publish our information to give everyone, including those with disabilities, equal access. We follow the World Wide Web Consortium guidance for maintaining accessibility. In particular, we strive to:
- Help assistive page readers. Our page layouts allow assistive page reading tools the option to skip repetitive content (menus and other navigation).
- Provide text alternatives to images,charts, video, frames and other non-text elements that may not be accessible to people dependant on screen readers.
- Not rely on color to convey meaning, as some users and readers may not be able to identify specific colors. Where colors are used, the difference between the text and the background is tested to make sure its legible.
- Design for all devices. We use styles sheets to ensure that the page content is placed in a way that best fits the screen, or printed page.
- Avoid the use of special software to access information. While we do post © Adobe Acrobat files when the content does not fit our templates (which requires the user to have © Adobe Reader) we do not expect our users to have any other special software.
- Avoid Acronyms.
Linking to other sources on the web helps provide context for information and eliminate duplication. When we link to other sites it is our policy to:
- Use only trusted references. In general, that means government, academic, and non-profit sources with specific background in the topic of concern.
- Name the link. Links to associated publications are named for the document (e.g. "Vaccine Information Statements") If, however, link provides additional information to the content immediately preceding it is called out as more.
- Use relevant links. Links from specific topcial pages should be make to specifc pages on outside sites. Links to organizational partners should be made at the topical level and placed in the "partners" section of the navigation at the left of the page.
- Use Organizations' Icons in lists of publications. The logo of an organization is used as a bullet in lists to provide context.
- Be apolitical. Links are not made to sites if the link would appear to provide an official endorsement of fundraising efforts or lobbying for a political agenda.
Graphics can help orient, or disorient, a user. To make sure that our graphic approach supports, but does not distract, from our message. It is our policy to:
- Follow our brand. The graphic style of this site, and associated sites will reflect the overall branding for the department. Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis when it can be demonstrated that the particular audience and messaging for a public health campaign requires a different approach.
- Limit graphics. Background images are avoided to maintain legibility. The size and number of images should not noticeably slow the page load time.
- Use images to promote campaigns and major health observances. The major landing pages use a set of sliding images, usually photos, to help raise awareness of issues important to the department. When photos of people are used we strive to show diverse populations and/or to highlight individuals who are particularly impacted by the topic.
Data & Tables
Our public health work is driven by numbers. We use this website to show population health issues as demonstrated by numbers. When publishing data on the web it is our policy to:
- Use quality data. Data used on the web should be Rhode Island-based, accurate, reliable, referenced, and current.
- Protect privacy. We will not knowingly publish personally identifiable medical information. If, for example, the number of disease cases is small, we will group the data so that an individual person cannot be deduced.
- Allow data access. Data that are used on the web should be available for download. Where additional data are required by users they should request it through the appropriate data request form or a public records request.
- Limit tabular displays. Tables complicate the way pages are constructed and constrain viewing options. Lists are preferred for style reasons. Where tables are used, they should be constructed simply.
- Provide meaningful data visualizations. Graphs and other data visualizations should also have text descriptions for users who are limited in their ability to read them.
This is a public site. It is our intent to:
- Make it available. Anyone may view information found here without obligation to the State of Rhode Island, unless otherwise stated. If material is copied or distributed, the use of appropriate byline/photo/image credits is requested.
- Protect the copyrights of others. Material that is published by others will not be posted on the site. The State of Rhode Island makes no warranty, however, that materials contained herein are free of copyright claims or other restrictions or limitations on fair use or display.
In providing information on this site, we have attempted to be as correct as possible.We make, however, no guarantee or promise about the accuracy, currency, or completeness of the information provided. The user assumes the risk of verifying any materials used or relied on.
Links to external sites do not imply any official endorsement of the opinions or ideas or products described on those sites, or guarantee the validity of the information provided.
We want to know how this is site is used so we can make it better. We also value the privacy of our users. It is our site analytics policy to:
- Use © Google Analytics to collect standard information about site visits including: general location of the server used to access the site, time, duration,and number of pages viewed during the visit, keywords, technology and browser used access the site.
- Not collect personal information. A site users social media profile or other source will not be used to find out personal information about that user.