Web Standards at a Glance

Standards are set to maintain a consistent look and feel throughout the WSDOT Web site.

If you find that you have a business need that can't be met within these parameters, please contact Jeremy Bertrand.

At a Glance

Create any WSDOT websites and navigate CMS efficiently by:

  • Sticking to the templates (link) and don’t change any logos, banners or the design code such as adding frames or different fonts
  • Using only the standard WSDOT web colors (link) on a white background (included with the templates)
  • Using short, descriptive file names with no spaces or special characters
  • Adding original photos to pages; no videos, clip art, stock photos or animated graphics
  • Optimizing your photos (link to that help section) and limit to three photos per page
  • Including the file type and size of PDF or any files like: (PDF 80kb)File Name
  • Never publishing a page before it is complete; no “under construction” or “coming soon” pages
  • Never linking users in a new window, use the default “target” setting when adding a hyperlink
  • Ensure you follow accessibility standards
  • Following what is listed in the Style Guide


The WSDOT brand is not just a logo and a shade of green. It is conduct that guides our work. We deliver projects and services, we are accountable, and we talk about what we do .

WSDOT should be recognizable by our conduct. It's the agency's identity.

1. No surprises

WSDOT is the first and best source of information about the agency, whether the news is good or bad. WSDOT provides accurate, timely, complete and open communications on issues for which the agency is responsible, including current programs, projects and policies.

2. WSDOT cares

WSDOT is customer-focused and provides two-way communications. WSDOT staff should take advantage of opportunities to listen to our customers and employees. This fosters trust and teamwork, maintaining and improving public confidence.

3. Manage expectations

WSDOT tells the whole story. Building and maintaining transportation systems is not easy. Sharing successes and admitting shortcomings boosts our credibility, and helps foster understanding of the difficult decisions we make.
Strategic communicators

In addition to project information, WSDOT looks for opportunities to communicate policy, budget, or other big-picture information.

4. WSDOT is a can-do agency

WSDOT staff are problem solvers. Sometimes we can't meet the expectations of every customer, however, due to limited resources, conflicting public opinions and interests, legal constraints or other limitations. If this is the case, WSDOT should explain why and give workable alternatives.

Further details and examples of WSDOT branding principles are in the Communications Manual, which is available only to WSDOT employees on the Intranet.

Writing for the Web

Catering to an online audience is very different than writing for print.

View or print our one-page Write for the Web desk reference (pdf, 70 kb) to use as a quick guide.

People won't read your Web page
People come to a website to complete a task as quickly as they can. Tasks range from locating information to creating an online account.

People will scan your Web page . That's what the testing says. As few as 16% of people read Web pages word by word.

Scanning takes seconds. If scanners do not find what they are looking for right away, they move on. Writing for the Web is writing for scanners. 

Getting the attention of people who scan


  1. Sentences that are simple and direct
  2. Paragraphs that are short and concise
  3. Headings that are short and concise
  4. Simple words and phrases in plain English
  5. Without using acronyms such as SR for State Route or AWV for Alaskan Way Viaduct
  6. So the subject is understandable to someone who is not an expert
  7. Without using bureaucratic language:
     Bureaucratic Better 
     commence  begin
     initial  first
     facilitate  help
     presently  now
     prior to  before
    utilize use

For more guides on writing for the Web:

Now that you know more about Web standards, it's time to move onto accessibility standards.