Images and downloads



Subject matter

Academic homepages
Images used on academic homepages should follow the general University brand, e.g. a person/or people.

Photography is done for each department for the print prospectus, but new images can be sourced if preferred.

Other images
There is much more flexibility with images elsewhere on your website.

It is best where possible to use images appropriate to the subject of a page. Random images that have no relevance to the page can look unprofessional.

General guidance

While pictures make a website more attractive they should not impede on the text. A page dominated by overly bold or large graphics will distract or repel users looking for more substantive content.

Equally, a page that takes a long time to download is likely to exclude a portion of the potential audience.

Tips and guidelines

  • File size. When adding images to a page try to limit the file size for the whole page to around 50KB (single image around 20KB).
  • Image size. The physical size of a portrait image should be around 180px by 270px (approx 5.5cm by 8cm) and a landscape should be around 270px by 180px (approx 8cm by 5.5cm). This is current guidance and may change alongside style/design developments.
  • Alt text. Always add meaningful alt text - text that is displayed or read out in place of a picture. CMS requires that alt text be added for all pictures but it is not sufficient to simply write 'picture'. Try to be as concise but descriptive as possible.
  • Saving. If using Photoshop: use the 'save for web' function to control the filesize and preview the image.
  • File type. Images should be saved as a JPEG (.jpg or .jpeg), block graphics (clip art, words etc.) should be saved as a GIF (.gif) or PNG (.png).
  • Editing. Beware of excessive 'Photoshopping'. Photoshop is a very powerful tool when used sympathetically, but many of the more 'creative' options, such as blurred edges, are not suitable for an information website.
  • Linking images. It is sometimes useful to make an image link to another page on your website. However, always add an alternative text link.


Any document that will open using another application (such as Acrobat Reader or Word) is classed as a download. Downloads can be saved to a user's computer, viewed, and/or printed and closed.

For longer pieces of text, such as newsletters, brochures and forms, it is often useful to offer the information as a download as well as or instead of web page(s).

Labelling a download
Always use descriptive text for a download. It should be immediately obvious when a link is a download, including the format of the download (e.g. PDF, Word).

All downloads should be labelled as such. The type of file that will open (e.g. PDF, Word) and the size of the file (e.g. 1MB) should be included in the link text.

E.g.: Writing for the web guidelines (PDF 49KB)

Types of downloadable document allowed:

  • Microsoft Word (.doc)
  • Adobe PDF (.pdf)
  • Adobe Shockwave (.swf)
  • Quicktime by Apple (.mov)
  • Microsoft Excel (.xls)
  • Comma-separated values file (.csv)
  • Microsoft Powerpoint (.ppt) or Powerpoint Show (.pps)