Lego figure sitting at a desk with a look of despair on his face.
Avoid sadness! Know the rules before you sub-theme!

Stay on-brand: Use campus policy like a checklist while you sub-theme

With all the tools available to you to not just build a site but put a personal imprint on it to distinguish your department amongst all the others on campus, it's vital to know when, where, and how you're required to "color within the lines" as it were so you stay on-brand and within campus policy as you go. Let's review.

The Office of Strategic Communications has contributed much to defining the campus' identity and branding markers and translating that information into the campus' web policy 310-70 to help guide web designers and content editors in creating sites that meet required standards.

From a customization and sub-theming perspective, the applicable sections include the following information:

A. All UC Davis-hosted websites  

  1. Must have a domain name registered using the campus domain name service or using a domain name service provided by their campus unit.
    • a. Domain name services provided by campus units must be compliant with applicable policies.
    • b. Department heads of units providing domain name services are responsible for ensuring compliance.
  2. Must have a top-level domain name unless granted an exception.
    • a. The Associate Chancellor—Strategic Communications is responsible for reviewing and approving top-level domain names.
    • b. Exceptions may be approved by the Associate Chancellor—Strategic Communications (Davis campus) or Vice Chancellor—Human Health Sciences (UCDHS).
  3. Must comply with laws and policies governing the use and distribution of personal information, electronically collected personal information, and copyright (see Section 250-01).
  4. Must be reviewed and approved by Development and Alumni Relations if they collect personal information from alumni or donors, or solicit donations for the University.
  5. May include advertising and acknowledgements only as allowed by Section 270-25. Section 310-70 10/22/13 3 of 5

C. Administrative websites and the Official website

  1. Must prominently display the official UC Davis logo at the top of the home page, a link to the official website on the home page, and include the official logo or the text “University of California, Davis” or “UC Davis” on all other pages.
  2. Must adhere to campus content, graphic, editorial, and Web development standards unless an exception is approved by the Associate Chancellor—Strategic Communications. [More information on the website]
  3. Must include a reliable method for contacting a person responsible for the site.
    • a. Contact information must appear on at least one page of the site, preferably the home page.
    • b. Web page authors may not use a false identity but may use a pseudonym (e.g.,
  4. Must include the most recent date of modification on each page.
  5. Must design and present Web content so that it can be used without requiring a specific browser or operating system.
  6. Must include a link to the site’s home page in the same position on every page within the site.
  7. Must include the following copyright notice: Copyright © UC Regents, Davis campus. All rights reserved.
  8. Must comply with W3C WCAG 2 Level AA guidelines ( If a user is unable to access content on a website due to disability, the department head of the unit hosting the site is responsible for providing information in an acceptable alternative format.

SiteFarm Policy

SiteFarm, by default, adheres to all these policies out-of-the-box, and the aim of this service is to promote a level of consistency in branding, user experience, and service whether sub-themed or not. If you choose to introduce custom elements to your site, please use these policies as a checklist to make certain you're not overriding or eliminating aspects of your site with which policy requires compliance.

So, uh...what if you...strayed?

Let's say you colored outside the lines. Perhaps you were completely unaware that some of your changes might be a problem. If you read this and discover you've changed something you shouldn't, please review it now. If we should come across your site and discover your site doesn't meet these standards we will be contacting you to request that you change these aspects of your sub-theming as soon as possible and stipulate a reasonable timeframe to meet policy. Not making these changes will mean your site is in violation of the Service Level Agreement—which references the above-mentioned policy 310-70—an agreement electronically signed by the site requester when the site was provided by the SiteFarm service. While the Service Level Agreement states such violations do mean your site may be subject to site termination with cause, please rest assured, we will always first be in touch to communicate our concerns and work with you to find solutions.

Not sure how to address an existing sub-theme style that violates policy or you want to create something that could be questionable? Join us at one of our SiteFarm co-working sessions and discuss the issue with one of our developers. 

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