Putting Web Site Quality and Accessibility into Context

31/10/2009

When it comes to assessing the quality of a Web site, what really matters? Unlike diamonds, Web sites don’t have a standard like the 4Cs to assess how they compare to other Web sites. The assessment is a far more subjective one. What we have instead is a set of terms such as usability, performance, and accessibility that we have all heard of but that lack precise definitions that we can use to measure the quality of a Web site. So, given this lack of clear definitions, how do we as an industry assess if we have produced a high-quality Web site? In reality, we can’t, at least not in a consistent manner against known and agreed-upon standards. Instead, our assessment, if we do it, is based on our own views of what constitutes quality.

A survey conducted by the Cutter IT Journal looks at five main areas:

(1) what organizations do to define the purpose and objectives of the Web site; (2) what factors organizations believe are important in terms of quality; (3) what companies actually implement in terms of quality; (4) what organizations understand and do about adhering to maintenance guidelines; and (5) how organizations deal with accessibility.

The information contained here is based on this international survey as well as my experiences in the industry over the last 12 years.