EPA Resource Directory Format
This document explains how to create resource directories so that they comply with EPA Web standards, One EPA Web guidance, and best web practices. Be sure you have first considered whether Resource Directory or Microsite is most appropriate for your content.
On this page:
- Resource Directory Development
- Requirements of a Resource Directory
The resource directory format organizes topics using a simple "hub and spoke" model. Topics presented in this format have a single navigation page (a hub) that links to the most important related content (spoke pages), often including content you don't own. Spoke pages link back to the hub page (this link is above the page title and is added by the WebCMS in the template). Apart from the links between the hub page and each spoke page, resource directories include little or no internal navigation.
- Provide a unified gateway to a topic.
- Raise the most appropriate content for targeted audiences to a top level.
- Actively manage the content.
- Editor‐in‐chief for each topic will be responsible for keeping the resource directory up to date, reviewing metadata, managing and reviewing content, checking links, responding to comments/questions, etc.
- Not every topic warrants the creation of a resource directory. Resource directory topics are selected during the process of developing annual AA‐ship and Regional web plans. Individual offices and divisions, both at headquarters and in the Regions, are expected to work with their Communications Directors, Public Affairs Directors, and Web Council representatives to determine topics each year.
- Resource directories will not link to every piece of related web content, only to content most relevant for the targeted audiences.
- The hub page for a particular topic links only to information about subtopics. The exception is that a hub page can contain a Related Topics section/box.
- Spoke pages do not link up to broader content except for the links back to the hub page(s).
- Improved visitor experience, measured by ACSI scores and other feedback methods.
- Fewer broken internal links by using the Drupal WebCMS.
- Identify the purpose for the resource directory.
- Identify one to three top audiences to properly focus content selection.
- Choose content that most directly supports the audiences' top tasks. Note: link to only the most directly supportive information, not all information.
- Ensure that metadata for all content, no matter the file type, exists and is appropriate. Maintain and update the hub page and any newly created spoke pages, complete metadata review, manage and review content, review results of any usability testing, check links, respond to comments/questions, etc.
- See Roles and Responsibilities of OneEPA Web Editors‐in‐Chief for more information.
Resource directory hub pages and all new spoke pages go into the WebCMS. The WebCMS templates control the look and feel.
Look and Feel
The hub page uses the RD home page layout in the WebCMS. When you request that a new website be created in the WebCMS, if you indicate that you are creating a Resource Directory, the hub page will be created in the RD home page layout. Do not use other layouts.
Elements of a Hub Page
- At top, an optional brief text description of the topic. If you include this description, keep it to 50 words or less. No banners, other images, or other features should be included in this section.
- 2 – 6 content sections (if you think your page will have only one content section, please contact Angela Shogren, who can help you consider the best way to structure your content). Each section includes:
- Title (H2 for heading size). All major words should be capitalized.
- Photo (325w x 100h pixels).
- Follow the standards and processes described in the Image Guidance.
- Photos that contain text should not be used unless selected by the Office of Web Communications (OWC) staff.
- Program logos should not be used in these sections.
- Program logos may be displayed at the top of the right side of the hub page, above right‐side boxes.
- The photos should be clickable links to the most significant content in that content section.
- Relevant links:
- Link text should clearly explain where the link is going.
- Capitalize only the first word, plus any proper nouns.
- If possible, avoid links that wrap to a 2nd line to make the page easier to scan.
- Each content section should include no more than five links. If you have more than five links in a section, do this instead: replace two or more of them with a link to a new "landing page", which can then in turn link to multiple pages that would otherwise have been linked to from the hub page. Example: on Pest Control and Pesticide Safety for Consumers, the "Controlling ants, bed bugs, mosquitoes and other pests" link takes visitors to the landing page Got Pests? Control Them Safely page.
- Top questions, tasks, concepts. These should be addressed in the top content sections in the main body. The right‐side column (i.e. where boxes are usually displayed) should not include a Top Tasks/Questions box.
- Maps (optional). Maps can be used to display local or regional information in either the main body or the right‐side column.
- List of links to related topics (optional). Three to six links is optimal. This section goes in the right column and is always the last box/section in that column.
- Contact us links (top and bottom). These links go to a page with a contact form. The WebCMS automatically generates a Contact Us page, although you will need to customize it, and the Contact Us links at the top and bottom of all pages in a site. See Web Standard: Contact Us Page and Links.
- OWC requires that the EIC or a designee respond within one business day of receiving questions. At a minimum, acknowledge that the question has been received and give an estimate of when you will provide an answer.
Selection of Linked Content
- Most RDs should include a page of general information about the topic (“Basic Information about XXX” or “Learn about XXXX”); the hub page would link to that page.
- Other languages:
- If the topic for the page has an existing equivalent in another language, link to it.
- When there are only a few existing links to material in other languages, include them in the resource directory.
Some of the spoke pages you link to might be existing pages you own. If you revise them, create new versions of these pages in the WebCMS. Some content will be entirely new. Create new content in the WebCMS.
Some spoke pages you link to might be pages owned by other content owners. You can ask the owner to rewrite for the web and you can suggest improvements. You can't force the owner to make the rewrites and improvements, but the Office of Web Communications (OWC) can help you ask. If the owner won't rewrite and make improvements, you can choose not to link to the content, but do not duplicate that content to make the changes you’d like to see.
Look and Feel
- New spoke pages created in the WebCMS use either the basic one‐column layout or the basic two‐ column layout.
- Spoke pages link at upper left (above the page name) to all hubs that link to them. Examples of spoke pages with multiple hub links:
Selection of New Content, Including Links
- Do not use sidebars, local area footers or other additional local navigation to create navigation among spoke pages.
- Follow writing for the web principles and EPA web standards.
- Content about laws and regulations must follow the guidelines set forth in Creating and Editing Regulation Pages and should follow the Regulatory Template Web Standard.
- Limit inline links (i.e., links in the middle of a paragraph). Most links should be below or to the right of the related content so that:
- You can provide your viewers with more context.
- Viewers and screen readers can scan linked content more easily.
- Other languages:
- Do not create new spoke pages in languages other than English.
- If you need to create new content in Spanish, please contact Lina Younes in the Office of Web Communications. Lina manages epa.gov/español.
- If you need to create new web content in languages other than English or Spanish, please contact Angela Shogren (firstname.lastname@example.org). Angela coordinates foreign language content other than Spanish.