NICS - Web style guide
Abbreviations should be capitalised. Abbreviations formed by using the first initials of separate words should not have any full stops between the letters:
Make an abbreviation plural by adding an s. An apostrophe should not be used, for example:
Spell out unfamiliar abbreviations at first mention, with the abbreviation immediately following in brackets, for example:
Thereafter, you may use the abbreviation only. However it is highly recommended that you avoid the use of too many abbreviations within your text. They can make it look technical and off-putting to the average reader. Abbreviations can also cause accessibility problems.
Use small capitals and no full stops. Have a space between the number and the am/pm.
Not to be used in general text unless referring to a company or brand where it is used as a convention.
Apostrophes are not to be used in plural words.
A very common misuse of the apostrophe is with "its" and "it's." Remember, when "it is" or "it has" is shortened, it becomes "it's." When you say-"its sales declined"-do not use an apostrophe.
Use "an" before words that begin with a vowel sound and words that begin with a silent h:
Where the h is pronounced use "a":
For people or things, spell out billion. For money use bn. Leave a space after the figure.
Avoid using too much bold within body text - text that is not a heading or summary. Use for emphasis only. The exception is for press releases which use bold within the body of the release for ministerial quotes) Also, because many websites don't use underline for their links, some people may think bolded text is a link and try to click on it.
Bold may be used in instructional text. For example, if you are providing information on how to subscribe and unsubscribe to an email newsletter:
Capitalise the first word only.
When referring to the name of a button, use the capitalisation style that is used on the keyboard:
Avoid overuse of capitals, as capitalised text is more difficult to read. For headings, only capitalise the first letter of the first word and other words that require capitalisation from a grammatical point of view.
Do not use "click here". Instead, put the keywords into the link text. (Using "click here" causes accessibility problems; another reason not to use it.)
Government is a collective noun. As a general rule, collective nouns are treated as being singular:
Use the symbol for a currency on the website :
The following conventions should be used for dates:
Don't abbreviate dates.
Depending on the context, decades may use numbers or text.
Remember not to use an apostrophe when writing the plural of a decade in numbers.
Avoid using e.g., i.e. Instead, use "for example" and "in other words". The use of etc. should also be avoided.
Use three dots for the ellipsis, even when dealing with text left out between sentences. Always leave spaces between the ellipsis and the preceding and following text:
The letter e has become very popular in relation to all things Internet. For a while, it seemed that every word in the English language required an e before it if it was to seem modern. It is recommended that you use words such as eGovernment and eBusiness sparingly.
The following is recommended:
One word - email
Keep email addresses in lowercase. Always make them a link. The general rule is to spell out email addresses:
firstname.lastname@example.org not John Maguire
Use "fewer" when dealing with things that can be counted and with plural nouns. "Less" is used to refer to a degree or amount of effort - something measurable but not countable.
Capitalise Internet (as there is only one). If you're writing for a young audience, you may use Net.
Lowercase (there are many intranets).
Italics are difficult to read on a screen and should be used very sparingly for emphasis only.
"Its" is the possessive form, "it's" is a contraction of 'it is' or 'it has'.
Abbreviate as KB. Leave a space between number:
Links are a navigation aid, not a graphic design feature. Adhere to the following:
The verb is to "log on". Logon is the adjective and noun:
Measurements should be expressed as numbers. Leave a space between the numbers and the measurement unit. There is no full stop and no "s" in the plural:
Capitalisation is important. For example, Mb means megabit, but MB means megabyte.
Abbreviate as MB. Leave a space between number:
Metadata is the who, what, where, when and how of a particular piece of content. The principal function of metadata is to help people quickly find the content they are looking for.
Metadata has three core functions:
Spell out million for people or things. Use m after currency:
As a rule, spell out numbers up to and including nine. Numbers over nine should be given as figures:
If, in the same sentence, a mix of numbers above and below nine appear, use figures:
Avoid starting a sentence with a figure. Either rephrase it or spell it out (even if it's over nine).
The spelling-out-below-10 rule does not apply to, figures containing decimals, dates and clock time, numbers with percent, units of measurement, sums of money, degrees of temperature, and building numbers. In these situations, always use figures.
Thousands are normally in digits, millions in words. Spell out million for people or things. Use m where money is involved. Use commas in four-digit numbers and upwards:
One word - offline
One word - online
If the parentheses enclose a full sentence, place the full stop or question mark for that sentence inside the parentheses:
When it is not a full sentence within the parentheses, the period or question mark should be left outside:
Spell out percent for both web and email text:
Telephone and fax numbers should be published as follows:
Use a dash - plug-in
Put quoted text into double quotation marks. For quotes within quotes, use single quotation marks.
Always use a comma before a direct quotation:
Closing quotation marks should come after the full stop and before other punctuation:
In continuous quoted material that is more than one paragraph long, place opening quotation marks at the beginning of each of the paragraphs, but place closing quotes at the end of the last paragraph only.
Avoid using special formatting, such as bold or italics, for quotations (except in press releases). Italics are hard to read on a screen and bold looks like shouting.
Avoid altering quotations. As a rule, always reproduce exactly the wording, spelling, capitalisation, and internal punctuation of the original. The following are exceptions to the rule:
Use a single space between sentences.
Be careful in the use of "he" when referring to people in general. The use of he/she looks stilted, so it should be avoided as well. The best approach is to write in the second person or in the plural:
Unsolicited, mass distributed email.
Don't use full stops with titles:
Avoid the use of trademark symbols in body text, as it makes the text more difficult to read on a screen. Place such information in the legal section of the website, with a link to it at the bottom of the page.
Never use underlining except for links.
One word - webpage
One word - website
Capitalise World Wide Web. Use Web for short. Capitalise when referring to the noun:
Lowercase when using as an adjective: