Website Policy - NIU - Northern Illinois University

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Northern Illinois University’s web presence is an important part of NIU’s brand identity. For many, it is their main channel of communication with NIU, and the impression they receive from the website can influence a student’s decision to attend NIU.

The Division of Marketing & Communications is responsible for developing, coordinating and delivering the university’s strategic communications and marketing initiatives.

The division’s Department of Web Communications develops web templates that capture the unique brand characteristics of NIU and ensure that university web pages are easily navigable and accessible.

The department also ensures that top-level web pages feature relevant and current information regarding academic programs, faculty and student accomplishments and important news, events and deadlines related to recruitment and retention efforts.

Web Communications provides training and resources for departmental website managers who maintain sites within the domain or under the control and use of Northern Illinois University.

Policies and Guidelines

Branding Requirements

To present a consistent, unified image and reinforce NIU’s branding and marketing initiatives, all division, college, school, department and special information websites and pages must clearly identify their relationship with the university.

University departments and related organizations are required to use official NIU-branded web templates. Exceptions include – but are not limited to - the Barsema Alumni & Visitors Center, the Convocation Center, Econ Illinois, Intercollegiate Athletics, the NIU Alumni Association, the NIU Foundation and Northern Public Radio, which have their own brand identities. For a current list, or to request an exception, contact Web Communications.

Custom templates may be developed at the college- or division-level with approval from Marketing & Communications. Design assistance is available from Web Communications.  

University departments that host any of the official NIU-branded templates outside of Cascade Server are required to ensure that the templates reflect the most recent global content and design requirements, especially the global navigation at the top of each web page and the content and links in the template footer.

Use of the Huskie Athletics logo on sites other than is prohibited without written consent from Intercollegiate Athletics, or its designee. Legacy logos such as the centennial logo and the NIU wordmark, as well as the university seal, should not be used. See the graphic standards website for more information on the use of logos and identity marks.

No university trademarks may be altered or manipulated in any way or merged with or placed directly against any other logo.

All NIU websites should include the following elements: 

  • The NIU logo, implemented according to the university’s graphic standards. The logo must link back to the NIU homepage (
  • Copyright information as follows: © 2xxx Board of Trustees of Northern Illinois University. All rights reserved.
  • The full name of the university – Northern Illinois University – must appear somewhere on every Web page.


As a state institution, the NIU website is required to comply with the Illinois Information Technology Accessibility Act (IITAA) which requires Illinois agencies and universities to ensure that their websites, information systems and information technologies are accessible to people with disabilities. Individuals responsible for web pages within their area should review IITAA requirements on a regular basis.


Non-NIU advertising within the domain is strictly prohibited. Special considerations can be given to sponsors. For questions, contact Marketing & Communications.

Content Guidelines

  • Web pages should be reviewed by departmental website managers at least once a semester to ensure that content is current and links are functional and correct.
  • Always link to the official online document. (Do not re-create information on your site that exists elsewhere on the NIU website.) For example, link to the official, current catalog for course descriptions and degree requirements. Link to the Bursar’s Office for current tuition and fees information.
  • Web pages must include complete contact information for the unit or a clearly visible link to that information.
  • Write content for the Web: Use meaningful page titles (Page Title – NIU – Department Name); use headings to introduce sections and sub-sections; use lists to identify series of related items and give links names that clearly indicate their destination or function (do not use “click here”).

For additional content guidelines or more information, contact Web Communications. 

Domain Names

All NIU websites must reside in the domain unless granted approval by Marketing & Communications.

Domain names should be brief and search-engine friendly. All centrally-hosted websites are automatically set up with URLs in the format of: as well as  Web Communications can provide site name recommendations.  Additionally, site managers may request special URLs within the domain, such as

Domain name requests for public-facing websites are approved by Web Communications. Domain names requests for internal systems, utilities and applications are approved by ITS.

Marketing & Communications purchases and holds certain NIU-specific domain names to maintain the integrity of the NIU brand. Contact Web Communications with recommendations.

Mobile Apps

NIU Mobile is the university’s official mobile app and is strategically managed by the Division of Marketing & Communications and developed by Information Technology Services. Requests for module development in NIU Mobile should be submitted to for consideration.

Any apps using the NIU or Northern Illinois University name or branding must be approved by Web Communications prior to being developed and submitted to mobile app stores.

Repurposing of data or content – both static and real-time – from any NIU website, or which is otherwise owned or controlled by NIU, through a mobile application is prohibited without prior written consent from the authorized university department or official that owns or controls the original data or content. The written consent should address: 1) the period of time for which the consent applies 2) how recognition of the data/content owner(s) will be provided in the app; 3) whether there is an obligation on the part of the data owner to provide notification of a change to the data or the mechanism through which it is shared, and 4) who is responsible for the accuracy of the repurposed data or content.

Unauthorized use of data or content by a mobile application is monitored by, and should be reported to, Web Communications. Apps found in violation of this policy will be reported to the appropriate app store(s) as cause for removal.  The university reserves the right to take any additional actions it deems necessary in furtherance of the protection of its data, content, intellectual property, or other university interests. University disciplinary actions for unauthorized use of data or content are outlined in Section 6 (Violations of Policy and Misuse of Information) of the NIU Information Security Policy.

Privacy and Collection of Personal or Confidential Information

Individuals responsible for web pages within their area must review the university’s Website Privacy Policy to make sure all pages are in compliance. Please note that NIU is prohibited by law from requiring an individual to transmit his or her social security number over the Internet, unless the connection is secure or the social security number is encrypted.  Please also see the NIU Information Security Policy.

Web Content Management

Cascade Server is NIU’s official Web content management system (CMS). WebCRMA is the university’s legacy CMS. New sites should be created and managed in Cascade Server. Web Communications provides training materials, classes and support for Cascade Server users. For more information, contact ITS Web Services designs and develops custom web applications. For more information, contact