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LibGuides v.2 Toolkit: Best Practices

Help for building v.2 LibGuides for Marshall University Libraries

Good Practices for Creating Content

  • Decide what you want to do with your guide
    • Think about what the guide you have in mind will do that existing guides don't or can't.
    • Think about your intended audience - what do they need, and in how much detail
    • Check the LibGuide Community to see if there is a guide already in existence that you can borrow from or copy entirely (with permission)
  • Be aware of web reading habits
    • Place key information in a capital F-shaped pattern - users scan pages in this pattern
    • Create a links box that acts as a navigation menu or "table of contents" if your page contains a lot of content
    • People skim - use headings & bulleted lists liberally!
    • Write simply and concisely - readers will skip large blocks of text
    • Resist the urge to include everything - limit lists (of databases, for example) to five items
  • Add the most important information to the first page of your guide
    • Show, don't tell - use bulleted list or links box rather than explaining what's in your guide
    • Front-load your content - most important information should come first
    • Put your profile only on the first page
  • Keep navigation items to a minimum
    • Keep tabs to a minimum - one or two lines worth of tabs
    • Keep tab titles short - long page names "break" the tab
    • Use sub-pages - organize like information under a single tab
  • Make your guide easy to find
    • Create a friendly URL - """ rather than ".../content.php?pid=207494"
    • Add appropriate tags and subject associations
  • Fonts and Colors
    • Avoid customizing font size in an individual box - these are defined at a system-wide level using CSS
    • Don't underline text - users identify underlined text with links
    • Bold & italicize sparingly - bold a word or phrase, but not an entire sentence or paragraph
    • Use color sparingly, too - make sure the contrast between the box background & your colors is readable

Resources from other libraries

Don't reinvent the wheel

Springshare,  the developer of LibGuides, urges users to look at other guides that have been created.  Some are freely available to be copies and some require owner permission.  In all cases, you will be inspired with the wide variety of guides that are available.

Acceptable color combinations

Colors have been chosen for the standard templates that meet accessibility guidelines. Please consider using these basic colors for your guides, in order to promote a uniform look and feel. If you decide to change colors for a particular guide, follow the guidelines on these tabs.

  • Matching your library website colors creates continuity for users.
  • Do not use jarring can be blinding. Some examples of what to avoid are here,
  • Keep the color palette to a minimum - simplicity is beautiful.
  • Make sure you check for contrast between background and font colors - you want your page names to be readable, after all!
Note: MU Green and White combinations for LibGuide tabs fail three of the four contrast tests; you can use a slightly darker green (02582c) instead. Black and Gray combinations are acceptable.
    MU Green   #04954A  Brown   #794400 Light Brown   #BE854C
    White   #ffffff Black   ##000000 Gray   #B0B7BC
Color Combinations that meet WCAG AA and WCAG AAA Standards
In this table, "Black" can be either #000000 (Black) or #222222 (Mostly-Black).
Colored Text /
White Tab
White Text /
Colored Tab
Black Text /
Colored Tab
Colored Text /
Black Tab
Other Combinations
 Blue  #1d1dff  Blue  #1d1dff  Lt Blue  #b9b9fff  Aqua  #66ffff  Yellow #ffff88 on Red #990000
 Drk Red  #990000  Drk Red  #990000  Lt Red  #ff9090  Lt Red  #ff9090  Red #990000 on Yellow #ffff88
 Purple #7500e9  Purple #7500e9  Lt Purple #d2a4ff  Lt Yellow #ffff16  Yellow #ffff88 on Blue #1d1dff
 Drk Green #02582c  Drk Green #02582c  Yellow #ffff88  Lt Orange #ffbd5b  Blue #1d1dff on Yellow #ffff88
 VDrk Gray  #363636  VDrk Gray  #363636  VLt Green #ebffd7  Lt Gray  #ebebeb  Drk Green  #474747 on Lt Green #ecffd50
 Brown #78451C  Brown #78451C  Lt Brown #d7b38f  Gray  #b0b7bc
 Black #000000  Black #000000  White #ffffff  White  #ffffff