Image Policy for the Web

Image Policy for the Web

Images on a web page can help tell a story, provide more information or trigger interest in reading more. Images can also confuse the user, cause content to appear outdated or provide misleading information.

Choosing an image to post on your St. Catherine University website isn’t as simple as picking out something you like and uploading it. We have a few important set standards that you, as web administrators, must pay attention to.

Choosing an image

Your image should help tell your story but not detract from your content. At this point, I want you to ask yourself if an image is necessary and if it helps tell the story, detracts or is neutral. Basically, be intentional about your choice of images. 

Image Source and Permissions

All images are not created equal and are not all allowed on the St. Catherine University website.

Approved Sources

Not Approved Sources

  • No clip art: We do not allow clip art to be used on the website.
  • No images from other sites or artists: By law we can only post images that we own.

If you have any questions about whether or not an image is allowed, please contact

Size and Placement

Size, placement and the resolution of the image are almost as important as the image you choose. Please follow the guidelines below:

  • Images should not exceed 400 pixels in either height or width.
  • Sizing should be completed in your photo/image editor of choice, not in the CMS. Resizing in the CMS will cause snafus and delays in the page loading.
  • Top image: 830 x 320 pixels – You can post an image of this size at the top of a page.
  • Resolution: 72 dpi.
  • Save as JPEG, GIF or PNG: Whichever gives you the highest quality image for the load time. (In general photos are Jpegs.)

Resizing Images

Never resize a photo in the CMS. Instead, edit it to the appropriate size and save it on your computer before uploading it to your CMS folder.

A free online photo-editing tool we recommend is PicMonkey. In PicMonkey, click on "Edit" and then "Open" at the top of the page to upload your photo. The option to resize is at the bottom of the left-hand menu.

Alternative Text

When adding an image to a page, you will see a field in the image editor for "Alternative Text." The alt text serves three purposes:

  1. It is read aloud by screen readers, to let the user know what content is in the image. (Screen readers are often used by people with visual or physical impairments, or  difficulty reading.)
  2. It is displayed by the browser if the image does not load, or if the user's settings prevent images from loading.
  3. It provides readable information to search engines.

Thus, good alt text should be succinct, descriptive of the image, and not redundant when paired with your page text.

Use of Text in Images

Avoid relying on images that contain text overlays, or making image files to display text a certain way. There are two main reasons for this:

  1. The Google crawler cannot read text that is in an image. Therefore any content contained in an image can't be found in a site search, making it more difficult for people to find your page.
  2. The text can't be read by a screen reader. People who use screen readers will not be able to access potentially-useful content if it's in an image.