Website Support Clinic update – Quality Assurance

In last month’s support clinic, we conducted a ‘QA‘ assessment: a review of a site that is due to go live, to ensure it meets the best practices of the University website.

On request, the UWP offer evaluations of sites that are due to go live in order to flag up best practice considerations to ensure that the site adheres to legal requirements (such as accessibility), and key principles of the University website writing guide.

Key considerations

Our assessment will cover accessibility issues such as:

  • applying alternative text
  • proper use of link text and link titles
  • tagging of acronyms and abbreviations

You can read more about these on our Polopoly support wiki.

Abbreviations, tagging and accessibility

We’ll also try and identify where the key points of information architecture and the editorial style guide should be applied:

  • primary and secondary navigation should be consistent
  • appropriate use of overview pages – these should function as navigational pages that effectively signpost the content within sections
  • no more than 9 items in the left- or right-hand navigation

Further details of the Information Architecture guidelines are available on our Website Support wiki.

Information architecture

Where we notice issues that don’t adhere to the Writing for the Web guidelines, we’ll also flag them up:

  • short, concise paragraphs
  • use of subheadings to aid skim reading
  • always use sentence case rather than title case
  • no typos, correct date formatting

If you’re interested in attending our Editorial training (Writing for the Web) course, full details are available on our site:

Editorial training

After the QA

Although we aim to catch as many issues on a site as possible, it’s not possible for us (or, depending on the size of site, realistically anybody) to pick up on every typo/dead link on a site. Even links that once were correct can be rendered incorrect by changes on the destination site, often without notice.

Due to this, we also highly recommend the regular use of automated checking tools on your site. These tools will only work on pages which are already live, so can only be used once your site is up and running.

Google Analytics will flag up unused pages (and also broken links within Polopoly, where visitors have clicked on them); Sitebeam will crawl your site and identify spelling errors, broken links – and many of the issues our own QA process would flag. Full details of how to obtain these reports are available on our support wikis.

University web stats with Google Analytics

Sitebeam automated site checker

Requesting a review

If you’d like us to review a site that is due to go live, please get in touch with us with details of the site, and we’d be happy to conduct a review.

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