• Users will often skim and select content on web pages in an F-shaped pattern.
    • Keep the most important information at the top.
  • Less is more.
    • Users are often better served by content that is concise as opposed to exhaustively thorough.
    • Remember that the more you add, the more likely users will infer that your selections are comprehensive and there is nothing more besides what is listed in the guide.
  • Avoid long and text-heavy writing as much as possible.
    • Users are more likely to skip at worst or skim at best.
    • Try to use lists whenever possible, and keep lists short.
  • Avoid jargon and words unfamiliar to your users.
    • Problematic: The link resolver will direct you to intermediary pages with direct links to publisher and vendor-provided sites with PDF or HTML versions of articles and other resources.
    • Preferred: Use YUFind to search for resources.
  • Be inclusive.
    • Avoid gendered language (e.g., he or she) and instead use gender-neutral language (e.g., you, users, students, everybody, they, them).
    • Avoid bias that excludes whether in language, content, sources, etc.


  • Order link lists by relevance, not alphabetically. Remember that users typically use the resources listed first.
  • Try to limit lists to 5 items or less. Users appreciate a short, curated list of items.
  • If you absolutely have to have more than 5 items, then see if it's possible to break up the items across multiple lists.


Users access the guides for information. Always ask yourself if including an image helps the information, or does it instead blunt, hinder, or distract? A common school of thought might assume that images "liven up" a guide; but one should temper that line of thinking, and instead try to anticipate how users would feel and what they would think of any images used.

  • Upload images to LibGuide's Image Manager. Don't link to off-site images.
  • Always remove any set width or height dimensions in pixels to avoid breaking responsive design. If you insist on adjusting an image's presentational size (not the actual size of the image) using the width or height dimensions, use percentages (e.g., 50%) instead of pixels.
    • If images are too big or sized unfavorably, then you should reduce them yourself before uploading them to LibGuide's Image Manager. This will also put less strain on a user's bandwidth.
  • All images should either be photographed by yourself (i.e., you are the creator and owner of the image), or you should source them from the public domain or sites with Creative Commons images (e.g., Pixabay or Unsplash).


Whenever possible, use and reuse link assets (via the Add / Reorder dropdown bar) instead of using the link tool in the rich text editor or manually adding links in HTML. That way we can automatically check for dead links across all guides, and edit link assets and have them updated across-the-board.

  • Reuse link assets (including those from other librarians)—don't create copies or duplicates.
  • Give links short but meaningful descriptions—ambiguous or vague phrasing obscures what the link is about.
    • Leave the Description Display set to display beneath item title (where it is automatically).
  • Don't link to databases with link assets—use the database assets via the Add / Reorder dropdown bar.
  • When you use links within the text (i.e., not assets; links via the link tool in the rich text editor or manually adding them in HTML), have the links be part of the text and indicate where or what they lead to.