Tips and Tricks for Web Site Managers

By Mark Kerr | Go to book overview
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Chapter 4

Site Quality and Accessibility

The practical design and construction processes are just part of the web site mix: testing and validating the site, and running it according to a realistic and ethical set of policies, are as important as elegant design and relevant content.


Testing and Validating
One of the Web’s shortcomings as a publishing medium is its lack of a formal editorial process. Anyone can publish anything without external checking. This is excellent for freedom of speech and for universal access to the medium, but it is very limiting in terms of quality control. A quick search on AltaVista for a simple typing error such as ‘univeristy’ comes up with over 80,000 pages containing the error—and the vast majority of these pages are official institutional pages. Many sites also have sloppy HTML coding, with broken images, links that don’t work, browser incompatibilities and other errors and omissions that demonstrate a poor approach to quality control on the part of the web team—often caused by lack of resources. A web site should reflect favourably on your organisation, deliver a message and present a positive image. Few things undermine customer confidence more effectively than sloppy workmanship. Establishing and maintaining the technical quality of a web site involves at least five steps:
Validating the HTML
Testing the page
Proof-reading the content
Testing the instructions
Testing the back end.

‘Check your facts, Spell check Cut extra words. Then use the tools at sites such as http://www.web-trends.net to get a second opinion.

Matt Martel

ContentGenerators


Validating the HTML

HTML validation ensures that your code meets the formal standards. This should mean that it appears properly in all versions of the main browsers. One feature of the HTML standard is that older browsers will simply ignore any code that they are not able to understand—this is called graceful degradation, or backward compatibility—which is

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