Learn more about specific terms in online publishing and CMS.

Address Bar 
Address bar is the area in a browser for the websites address. It is also known as a Uniform Resource Locator (URL).

Address bar.

Alternative Text (also known as Alt Tags)
Alternative text is the text that appears in a text box when you mouse over an image. Sight impaired users have "screen readers" read the alternative text to them. By remembering to include alt text for each image you'll improve our site accessibility. Using key words in your alt text will also help improve search results.

A CMS role: an author gathers, writes and inputs content into the template. Authors can access the channel, postings and its corresponding resource gallery. 

Broken Links
Broken links are hyperlinks that no longer take you to the corresponding page or file. Links become broken when the file or webpage being linked to is deleted or moved. You can run a report to locate all broken links to maintain your site.

Previously known as a folder; the channel contains the postings (pages).

Channel Manager   
A CMS role in which the user has administrative rights to create hierarchies, assign rights to channels, and act as an author, editor, moderator, template designer, or resource manager. WSDOT Channel Managers are the Interactive Communications staff.

CMS or Content Management Server, is a comprehensive web-content management solution. CMS allows authors to edit webpages within a webbrowser, instead of using a development software such as Dreamweaver or FrontPage. CMS puts webpages into the hands of the content owners instead of having only IT or tech-savvy staff work online.



Internet Colors  
Intranet Colors  


  • Use a white page background. No background colors allowed.
  • Text colors are specified in the style sheet.

CSS or Cascading Style Sheet is a style sheet language that defines the style and appearance of text and elements within your webpage. CMS uses style sheets to create clear, concise, formatting across the WSDOT website.

Edit Mode   
When a CMS page is in "Edit Mode" you are able to edit the content of the placeholder.

A CMS role: an editor approves or declines pages based on accuracy and overall content suitability, revises pages as required, and manages pages within the assigned work group.

File Names  
Try to include both a subject and version in the file name - without making the name too long. The file name will become part of the web address. It can be helpful to think about it that way.

No one wants to type a long address. Yet, meaningless titles are hard to remember.

Do not: use spaces or the file date. Include the file name in the page properties of document files. You can also add the date to the Resource Gallery notes. Just be sure to update the date when you update the file.  


A gallery is a CMS storage space for either templates or resources (such as images). WSDOT has two galleries – the template gallery and the resource gallery.

GIF or Graphic Interchange Format, is a common format for images. It is best suited for images containing large areas of the same color. GIF format files of simple images are often smaller than the same file would be if stored in JPEG format. GIF format does not store photographic images as well as JPEG.

A GUID is what you see in the browser address bar when you are in CMS Edit mode. It stands for globally unique identifier. For example, a GUID will look similar to this:

Largely, you need not be concerned with the GUID other than to know that it is of use to the computer when locating specific files. Our human eyes prefer the English version of a web address.  

Images are photographs or pictures used to enhance written material on a website. Small images called "thumbnails" should be no wider than 150 pixels (185 pixels for project pages) and less than 10 kilobytes (kb). Large images should be no wider than 510 pixels and less than 40 kb. 

Information Architecture    
Information Architecture (IA) is the art and science of structuring, organizing and labeling information so that content owners can better manage it and users can find what they are looking for.

JPEG pronounced "Jay-Peg"        
JPEG or Joint Photographic Experts Group, is a common format for image files. JPEG file format is best used for photographs and images containing many colors and shading.

Each webpage should contain a set of keywords - or words used by search engines to locate your page. Use keywords that match your topic or the subject of the page.

Learn how to create OneDOT maps.

A CMS role: a moderator is similar to an editor but can be required to approve pages if the page properties are changed. WSDOT Moderators are the Interactive Communications Staff. (If your page has been waiting for Moderator Approval for more than 24 hours, please contact WSDOT WebHelp at 360-705-7079).   

Orphan Files   
Orphan files are pages that are not connected (linked) to the rest of the site. Therefore a user could not navigate to the file. A search engine could still find it though. They can be any type of file or attachment: pages, images, PDFs and word documents. This is also part of maintaining your site.

Page Revision   
A page revision occurs each time changes to a page are approved and published. A history of page revisions can be viewed at any time. A newly created and published revision in CMS always has one revision in its revision history.

PDF or Portable Document Format a technology used to format documents so that they can be viewed and printed using the Adobe Acrobat reader. Used frequently for Word documents or other file types that you don't want altered. Also, PDF files are good to use on the external site because the visitor does not need the program used to create the document. They only need Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is a free program IT can install on your computer.

A placeholder is a location (box) in a template where content (text or images) can be added.

A posting is a CMS webpage. A posting is created by adding content, such as text or images, to the placeholders in a template.

Privacy Notice
WSDOT's privacy notice addresses the collection, use and security of and access to information that may be obtained through use of the WSDOT website. Any page that collects information from the public must link to WSDOT's privacy notice.

Redirect Page  
If an address change happens, you will want to place a redirect page at the old address. When users type the old address, the redirect page appears in its place. This page will inform users of the change, impart the new address, and automatically send their browser to the new address.

To create a CMS redirect page:  

  1. Go to the channel where the old page was located.
  2. Switch to Edit site and choose Create New Page.
    The Template Gallery appears.
  3. Choose the Standard folder and select the Redirect template.
    The redirect page appears.
  4. Choose Save the Page from the Web Author Console.
    The Create New Page dialog box appears.
  5. Enter the old page address in the Name field.
  6. For Display Name simply type: Redirect. Click OK.
  7. In Page Properties, select the Custom tab and enter the new page url in the RedirectURL field. This url will appear on the redirect page after "The new address for this information is: ."
  8. Select "Hide When Published" so the redirect page will not  appear in the left navigation on pages where automatic navigation is used. 
  9. Click OK. Then Approve the page in the Web Author Console.
    Your redirect page is now in place. Be sure to test it by entering the address in a browser.

To create a redirect page in HTML:

  1. Contact WebHelp for the redirect template.
  2. Add the old and new page addresses to the template.
  3. Place the file in the old address file's location on the server.
    First be sure to archive the old file, if necessary; this process will overwrite the old file.

A resource is any file (pdf, graphic or photo) that can be inserted or attached to a posting (webpage). Resources are stored in the Resource Gallery.

Resource Gallery   
A resource gallery is a CMS storage space used to organize and control access to resources, You must have permission to a gallery to add images to the resource gallery or insert images into postings (pages).

Resource Manager    
A CMS role, resource managers maintain and update resources in the galleries. If you are an author or editor on a channel – you will have resource manager rights for the corresponding resource gallery. This role allows you permission allows you to add, replace, preview, and delete resources. 

Revision History
Revision History is a tool in CMS that allows you to see the edits that have been made to a posting. 

When you click on "Save" in the Web Author Console, it saves your page but does not close out of the page. You can continue editing.

Save and Exit
When you select "Save and Exit" in the Web Author Console, it saves your page and exits.

  • TIP - If you use this option, the page will be locked by you. No one else will be able to edit the page until you release the page.

Save, Exit & Release
If you select "Save, Exit & Release" the page is exited and released, so others in your work group can access the page.

  • Be careful - If you release the page, anyone can edit and submit your changes. Use caution with this option.

Searchability refers to the ease in which your page will surface as a search result. Nearly half of the usage on the WSDOT website is from people entering the site via a search engine. Learn how to make your page searchable.

Search Engine   
A computer program that searches webpages and documents for specified word or words, and provides a list of Web address where they can be found.

Sticky Note Exercise  
A sticky note exercise can help you design or tweak your site architecture. To conduct a sticky note exercise: Write the name of each subject area the site needs to address on a post-it note. Use one post-it per subject. Repeat until you have one post-it note for each subject area.

Gather your team, and place the post-its on the wall in logical groups. Working together, the team should decide on the logical groups. When you are done, you'll have your information categorized in a way that is agreeable, or mostly agreeable, to all concerned.

Style Sheet         
A style sheet is a set of rules (patterns or styles) that define the appearance or formatting of a webpage. Style sheets are essential to structure and consistency across webpages. CMS uses cascading style sheets (css).

A template contains the basic source information about a set of pages. Templates outline the placeholder and custom properties, and identify how the page works. 

Template Gallery   
A template gallery holds all the available templates for a channel.

The tooltip is the text that appears when the mouse cursor is placed over the hyperlink (text or image). It's similar to an "alt-tag" for images.

Web Help
Web Help is the WSDOT help desk for website questions and problems. Run by the web Team, Web Help provides personal assistance for most online and CMS issues on the WSDOT site.

Web Optimized       
Every file that goes onto a server should be optimized for the website. Optimized images and PDFs have a smaller file size - which speeds up download times and increases available bandwidth. Learn more about optimized images and PDFs .

A wireframe is a diagram of every click-through possibility on your site. Its purpose is to identify all the entry and exit points your users will experience on every page of your site. The goal is to ensure your specifications and the needs of your visitors will be met in the website that results from the wireframe. 

Wireframing is not concerned with design, navigational layout, content or even the developers' and designers' concepts of how to produce your website. You wireframe first, before any code is written, a graphic or color is chosen, or a word of copy is composed.

One of the major advantages to CMS is that each channel has a defined workflow so different people can be given different levels of access and pages are approved before being posted.