Tips and Tricks for Web Site Managers

By Mark Kerr | Go to book overview

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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Tips and Tricks for Web Site Managers
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents iii
  • Acknowledgements iv
  • Introduction 6
  • Chapter 1 - Site Definition and Planning 8
  • Chapter 2 - Information Architecture and Navigation Design 20
  • Chapter 3 - Page Design and Graphics 73
  • Chapter 4 - Site Quality and Accessibility 94
  • Chapter 5 - Web Site Policies and E-Commerce 142
  • Chapter 6 - Marketing and Promotion 146
  • Conclusion 162
  • Appendix 163
  • Bibliography 165
  • Index 166
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