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Home  >  About IEEE  >  Digital Publishers Toolkit  >  Style Guide

Content is any piece of information found on a digital page, including text, images, multimedia, and page elements such as contact information.

This page contains guidelines and requirements for creating, editing, and maintaining content within the IEEE digital presence.

 

Content quality

Quality requirements
Content quality reflects on IEEE professionalism, credibility, and concern for the community, and it impacts the ability to achieve key IEEE objectives. All digital publishers are expected to meet the requirements below.

  • Maintain content in accordance with IEEE Style Guides and follow digital best practices as appropriate.
  • Organize content in a user-centric manner including all information necessary to accomplish key tasks.
  • Write content with all potential audiences in mind, at as high a professional level as possible. 
  • Provide well-written and meaningful content without unnecessarily complicated language.
  • Keep content concise and objective without excessive promotional language and unverifiable claims.
  • Avoid slang, jargon, abbreviations, and excessive acronym use.
  • Prevent grammatical, spelling, mechanical, factual, and punctuation errors.
  • Update (or remove) content on a regular basis to ensure relevance. Pay particular attention to the currency of data and statistics and make sure the source and date of collection is included.


Quality control process and roles

All IEEE digital content/pages must be subjected to a rigorous quality review prior to publication. The content provider bears primary responsibility for:

  • verification of subject matter accuracy, IEEE guideline and style compliance, and digital publishing best-practices adherence;
  • seeking counsel from subject matter experts in outside domains as needed;
  • engaging the Digital Innovations Team for a site review prior to publication (depending on timeline and scope, this may not include a detailed editorial review and is not a substitute for other content quality processes).
 
 

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Legal considerations

Do not use content from another digital site (including IEEE digital sites) without permission. For example, do not use Google images found through search without permission of the owner.

Provide the source of all content that is not original, once permission for publishing has been granted from the owner.

 
 

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Writing

The digital platform is a much more fluid and informal medium than print; similarly, digital visitors are more often looking for soundbites of information or quick answers rather than dense reading material.

  • Do not simply move print content onto your digital pages. Instead, write content in the most concise manner possible that can be quickly and efficiently read on screen by a user.
  • If your content is likely to be read online, it is generally acceptable to create shorter topical pages that are cross-linked.
  • If your content is likely to be printed from the digital platform, creating one long page separated by subtopics may be more effective.

In order to deliver a best-in-class experience, IEEE digital sites must be user centric.

  • Determine your potential audiences and what they may want to achieve on your page; then create a page that helps facilitate these tasks.
  • As the most widely used language in the world, English is the recommended language for IEEE digital sites. However, sites that are targeted toward user segments that speak a different native language may need to evaluate whether English is appropriate for their site.

Most visitors don't follow a predictable path through digital sites. Digital content must account for this.

  • Ensure that the purpose of the content and its context within the larger section or site is clear to the user.
  • Use clear and unique page headings to help orient visitors.
  • Link to background information where necessary.

Use the following devices and guidelines to increase scannability:

  • Use shorter (50-80 characters per line) rather than longer line lengths (100 characters per line).
  • Use left alignment for headings, sub-headings, and text.
  • Link to other content where appropriate.
  • Use bulleted or numbered lists rather than paragraphs wherever possible.
  • Include only one main idea in each paragraph.
  • Put the most important information at the top. Start the page with the main point as well as a short summary of the remaining content.
  • Use headings where applicable.
  • Never use capitalization (CAPS) for emphasis.
  • Use plain language and short, simple words wherever possible.
  • Keep content concise and focused.
  • For longer pages, use anchor links to bookmarks throughout the page with "back" links to return the user to "top."
  • Use meaningful graphics or pull quotes to break up larger blocks of text.
  • Provide end links allowing the user to access other relevant pages without having to scroll back to the top of the page.

Adhere to the following best practices for tone and voice:

  • Maintain consistent voice: Do not use first-person language on IEEE digital sites unless it will consistently be used throughout the site to refer to the same speaker and that speaker will be apparent to users. Use the second person (refer to the user as “you”) for instructional material where information is directed at the user.
  • Use plain language: Compared to print, the digital is a more informal and immediate medium. Be sure that all potential audiences understand the content.
  • Focus on the user needs: Avoid presenting the organizational view of IEEE or describing organizational units (OUs) or boards unless doing so is integral to the user's understanding of the surrounding content or is needed to solicit user involvement in the organization.
  • Avoid exaggerated claims or strong promotional language: Use factual, objective information in place of “marketese” to present information more objectively.
  • Avoid IEEE jargon: Terms or explanations that may not be understood by non-members or a more general audience should generally be avoided. Spell out acronyms on first usage or avoid entirely if not essential.
  • Write in the active voice: Active voice emphasizes the “doer” of the action, not the “receiver.”
    Yes: “IEEE members hold more patents than any other professional society members.”
    No: “More patents have been awarded to IEEE members than to members of any other professional society.”
    (The first sentence is shorter, yet it conveys the same message as the other; it also more accurately describes what IEEE does.)
  • Avoid self-referential terms: “Click here” and “follow this link” provide little information for the user, sound unprofessional, and pose accessibility concerns.
  • Use IEEE properly
    - Avoid adding an apostrophe to the name IEEE, such as "IEEE's publication…" Instead use “... publication of IEEE.”
    - Use “IEEE,” not the “Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers” or “the Institute.”
    - Only use IEEE when referring to an activity or policy of the overall organization. If the statement refers to a specific area of IEEE only, be sure to clearly state this.
    - When “IEEE” is part of the name of a product, publication, service, Society or other title, it should never be dropped. This applies to first and subsequent references. (Examples: IEEE Xplore®, IEEE Spectrum, IEEE Computer Society).

A style guide should be established and followed to ensure consistent practices throughout your site. Generally, anything other than sentence case should be used sparingly, as capitalization is an important attribute in helping readers distinguish the names and titles of products, services, and events from other content, particularly when scanning content.

Punctuation of the following commonly used IEEE terms is as follows:

Uppercase Lowercase
  • Section
  • Region
  • Society
  • Council
  • Chapter
  • Student Branch
  • Chapter
  • Student (or Life, Senior, etc.)
    member
  • unit
  • organizational unit
  • geographic unit
  • committee
  • member

 

Use the following formats:

Dates
  • Formal correspondence: DD MONTH YYYY (ex. 17 September 1999)
  • Computer applications: YYYY-MM-DD (1999-09-17) or YY-MM-DD (ex. 99-09-17)
Phone numbers
  • US: Plus sign/one/area code/number (Example: +1 732 555 1212). 
  • Non-US: Use appropriate country code.
  • Note: Be sure that forms address the phone number formats of all international audience members, not just the US format.
Seasons
  • Use the month or quarter of the year to refer to dates, not the season. 
     
Time zone
  • Use local and UTC (example: 2:00 p.m. ET/1800 UTC-05).
     
Currency
  • When referencing US currency, include “US” in front of the dollar sign (example: US$25).
     
Humor and colloquialism
  • Avoid using puns, clichés, popular expressions, and jargon in your writing.

 

 

 
 

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Search engine optimization

At a minimum, all sites must adhere to following best practices for SEO:

Home page and top-level landing pages metadata descriptions

  • should be well written to convey the purpose of the site;
  • should include primary, relevant keywords.

Proper use of page titles throughout the site

  • should include keywords relevant to the page content;
  • should be no more than 65 characters (including spaces) in length;
  • should use H1 header tags.
 
 

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Multimedia and interactivity guidelines

Design

Adhere to the design elements and IEEE Master Brand standards within the IEEE Visual Identity Guidelines (PDF, 3.11 MB)
 

Usability and accessibility guidelines

  • Clearly identify the number of steps at the beginning of a sequence. For example step 1 of 5 (if applicable).
  • Provide an explanation of the animation file before it begins will help users better understand the animation and associated content.
  • Indicate which type of viewer/player is necessary and provide a link to download the viewer/player (if applicable).
  • If the file is downloadable always indicate file type and size in parentheses after the link, for example IEEE presentation template (ZIP, 755 KB).
  • Allow animation to be user-controlled. The user should be able to pause, stop, replay, or ignore animation or other multimedia elements.
  • Place actionable controls (such as buttons) in an intuitive place within the file so users do not have to search for a way to advance.
  • The typeface size within the file should not appear smaller than 8pt or .07 em.
  • The file should have an absolute end and not loop.
  • Provide an HTML or transcripted version of the file for users using assistive technology.

 
 

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Advertising

Advertising on IEEE digital pages should be contextual to the site's purpose and should be used sparingly.

Contact the Digital Innovations Team with any questions regarding advertising issues on IEEE digital sites.

 
 

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