Global Page Element and Branding Requirements

IEEE digital publishers are asked to include IEEE-wide styles when structuring site templates in order to create alignment, provide orientation, leverage the IEEE brand, and prevent users from having to learn each site. IEEE styles are detailed here for the enterprise-wide navigation, favicon, and site footers and headers.

Enterprise-wide meta-navigation

The meta-navigation is a menu to appear on all IEEE websites (enterprise-wide) allowing visitors to quickly access IEEE flagship websites and options.

Requirements for the IEEE meta-navigation are as follows:

  • Placement: outside of the main page above the site header. Within the meta-navigation:
    – Site links should appear at the upper-left and flushed left to the edge.
    – The upper-right side is reserved for single sign-on. To request single sign-on, please work with your IEEE employee representative to initiate a project with IEEE Information Technology.
  • Links: Align site links to the left side of the page in the following order with the noted destinations:-
    – IEEE Xplore Digital Library: (The word “Xplore” should be italicized)
    – IEEE Standards:
    – IEEE Spectrum:
    – More sites:
  • Size: minimum height of 30–40 pixels
  • Link interaction: should only underline upon hover and have no “visited” link color change
  • Link separation symbol: should be a vertical bar (l)
  • Typography: Verdana, no smaller than .07em
  • Color: light or dark text can be used depending upon the background color/contrast

Sample meta-navigation:

IEEE Master Brand

Sample IEEE Master Brand:

Site identifier
  • The logo or name of the site must appear in the upper-left corner of the site header and link to the home page of the site.
  • This logo or name must contain the letters I-E-E-E and appear larger in size than the IEEE Master Brand to avoid confusion as to which site the visitor is on.

Sample of site identifier:

IEEE favicon
  • All official IEEE sites are required to use the IEEE favicon, or an approved IEEE sub-brand favicon, as a way to improve user experience and leverage the IEEE brand.
  • Color can be customized to align with the color themes of the site. Contact the Digital & Creative Innovations team, if approval is needed.

Download the IEEE 16×16 pixel and 57×57 pixel favicons (ZIP, 4 KB)

Sample favicon usage within a browser:

Site purpose

The site purpose should be obvious either through the site identifier or through positioning copy placed prominently within the site header. However, if for some reason the site’s header cannot adequately convey this information, it should be placed in another prominent position within the home page.

Sample site purpose:

Search tools

Search tools help users find content on a site through the use of a search engine that indexes the content on the site. This tool is most useful when users do not want to browse for content or are unable to find content via browsing.

Sample search area using conventional placement in header area of the site:

Sample search area with dropdown treatment using conventional placement in header area of the site:


  • If used, search tools (field, label, and button) must be placed in a consistent and global area within the digital site’s design.
  • Search tools are traditionally placed in the header area of a site or in proximity to the global navigation for quick access.
  • Global search tools must appear on all pages of the site for quick access and aid findability of content.
  • Other search tools, if warranted, should appear contextually with content on the relevant page(s).


  • Global search tools can be presented using either:
    • A search field/box (conventional usage), or
    • A search field/box designed as/alongside a dropdown if providing faceted search options.
  • Search tools must be clearly visible and recognizable through the use of good recognition aids such as:
    • Field labels placed to the left of the search field or inside (note accessibility requirements for placing the label inside) Example: Search IEEE Xplore
    • Search button
      • Must be placed in close proximity to the right of the search field
      • Button label text must say “Search” instead of “Go” or other text labels
    • A magnifying glass inside the search field [optional]
    • Hint text inside the search field [optional]
    • Search tips and advanced search can be included if available.

Accessibility requirements

  • When using a magnifying glass ensure that the code label says “search” and not “magnifying glass”
  • Hint text if placed inside the search field must meet the following code requirements to support screen reading software via invisible form labels. Use one of the following three suggested techniques to apply invisible form labels.

1. Hidden <label>

Hide the <label> element off-screen using CSS. The label will not appear visually, but will still be read by a screen reader. Create a CSS style called “hidden” and apply it to the label of the form label.

HTML<label class=”hidden” for=”s”>Search Terms</label>
<input type=”text” id=”s” name=”s”>




2. Title Attribute

If a form field has a title attribute, but no <label>, the screen reader will read the title as if it were a label.


<input id=”s” type=”text” name=”s” title=”Search Terms”>

3. Aria-label

The aria-label attribute can also be used when there is no text label on the page. Add the aria-label to the input element.


<input id=”s” type=”text” name=”s” aria-label=”Search Terms”>

Important to note:

  • Only one of these recommendations should be implemented. Using two or more together (e.g., a hidden <label> and a duplicate title attribute) can cause information to be repeated by a screen reader.
  • Placeholder text (e.g., <input type=”text” placeholder=”Search WebAIM”>) is not a suitable label and should never be used in place of the above techniques.


Home page content layout best practices

All IEEE digital sites should adhere to the following best practices and principles for page layout.

Establish hierarchy to aid readers’ understanding and focus

  • Place important elements near the top of the page.
  • Use headings, subheadings, or bolding for key words, phrases, or topic divisions (but use bold sparingly).
  • Use white space to separate topics or to make important elements stand out.

Show relationships between content

  • Group similar items together and place them in proximity to each other to show similarity.
  • Nest an item under another item to show a child/parent relationship.

Other tips for creating a more readable, interesting page layout

  • Break text into short paragraphs or create bulleted lists.
  • Incorporate links to other relevant content.
  • Use left and right columns for appropriate content.
  • Use images, charts, graphs, videos and/or tables where appropriate to present or support complex information.

Alert messages: Home pages should be designed with a prominent area in which user notifications can be posted by the site owner in the event of an emergency. A process should be in place to ensure that such messaging can be posted or removed in a timely manner.

Sample alert message:

Image carousels: Billboard-like promotional areas may be used on home pages and/or sub pages; however, the following conditions should be met:

  • All content should align with the purpose and tone of the site.
  • Animation should be user-controlled (advance, pause, stop, play, mute, etc.) and optimized for accessibility and usability. Ensure there is enough color contrast between the controls and the background images.
  • Animated frame advancement should allow all content to be read (typically eight–ten seconds).
  • Flash files (if used) should be animated at 18 frames per second (fps).

Sample image carousel:

Please reference the sample home page wireframe in the following section as a guideline for how home page elements might appear on an IEEE site.

Sample wireframes

When planning to create a website, the site’s information/design structure is very important. Some tools that could be used in this planning phase are wireframes, visual comps, storyboards, and interactive prototypes.

A wireframe is a very basic visual guide used in digital design to lay out a structure. The sample wireframes below illustrate a home page and a subpage that contain the basic design elements that would improve the user experience.

Home page wireframe (left)        Lower-level page wireframe (right)

Policy adherence

In addition to the requirement to include the IEEE Privacy Policy, Terms & Conditions, and Nondiscrimination Policy in site footers, all IEEE sites and digital teams are required to adhere to the practices specified within the policies.

Sites may not have a unique privacy policy unless it is more restrictive than the IEEE privacy policy. In these instances, permission for an exception must be approved by the IEEE Privacy Officer.

Additional questions related to the privacy policy should be emailed to

Reviews and website evaluations

All new/redesigned IEEE websites should be reviewed by the Digital & Creative Innovations (DCI) team during the following stages: wireframes, visual designs, and prior to launch at the beta URL stage. The DCI review will include prioritized comments on IEEE branding and accessibility requirements, ways to increase the website’s usability, and enhancements to the SEO/meta data. These reviews are meant to identify potential opportunities for optimization and to ensure all of the requirements are met prior to launch.

To learn more, review the following: