Navigation path

Quality assurance

Table of content


1. Quality assurance

Quality Assurance in the context of EUROPA encompasses a set of activities whose aim is to ensure that EUROPA web sites are compliant with the external and internal (EUROPA-specific and project-specific) standards in force. In order to be effective, Quality assurance activities must be integrated into the entire site development process, starting from the conception stage right up to the site’s final transition into production (going “on-line”); Quality cannot be added to a project “after the fact” or just at the final stages.

Description

There are several closely related concepts classed within the subject of Quality in the context of EUROPA projects. First, some definitions of these closely related terms:

Quality Assurance is process (or set of processes)  of enforcing quality control standards by applying the planned, systematic quality activities and working to improve the processes that are used in producing the web sites and its components, infrastructure and content.

Quality assurance examines the processes of site implementation from inputs to output.

Quality control involves the formal and systematic use of testing to measure the achievements of a specified standards and recommendations; the measurement and enforcement of defined level of standards.

Testing is the process of verifying correct functioning of an Information System or a web site. This verification involves designing, possibly developing, executing and evaluating the results of tests. During testing you compare the site to the standard, recording deviations and shortcomings.

Validation and Compliance

“Quality” is measured by the degree of compliance with the aforementioned standards and other recommendations. Full compliance is the general aim. Validation refers to the process of verifying the compliance to all these standards and other recommendations, and is a mandatory activity. These various verifications take place at each of the appropriate phases of the project.

The mandatory standards (which are applicable in all cases) include:

In addition, a number of other standards and/or guidelines may be applicable, depending on the site or other factors, such as:

  • Usability
  • Any additional standards as defined in the Project’s Specific
    Quality Plan (PQP) – [The purpose of the Project Quality Plan is to define the quality expectations the project/site must achieve and how they will be met.]

Other specific “functional” validations may also be necessary, such as:

  • Links validation, etc.
  • Validation for conformance with the project/site specific Functional Specifications (especially for Dynamic or other sites), etc.

Some QA controls are conducted in the form of tests. There are a variety of tests to be applied as a part of the QA of a web site. These are described in more detail: (subsection)

Timing/Frequency

Quality control is a continual process that is applied in the appropriate way at each stage of any given project. Most importantly, checklists have to be used before a site goes into production.

Steps

Each project phase has specific Quality Assurance activities  (such as the application of standard procedure or controls) which are carried out during that phase. The set of project phases can therfore be considered as the top level "steps" of the activity. See the section on workflow for a more detailed description of these phases.

1) Plan phase

2) Content phase

3) Design phase

4) Build phase

5) Go live phase

6) Maintenance Phase

A detailed description of the quality-related aspects of these top-level steps (for example, “check against presentation standards” for the “Design” phase, etc.) can be found in the respective activity descriptions. A separate activity sheet is defined for each of these quality-related steps which will be referenced by the appropriate related project activity, in sequence.

Inputs

  • Project Plan and schedule (which will determine which QC activities are included, and when they are supposed to take place)
  • Project Quality Plan (which will define the general and specific quality objectives of the project/site)
  • Project/Site Specific Test Plan
  • Quality Control Checklist(s)

Outputs

  • Quality Control Report, including sets of completed checklists

Actions

  • Functional test reports
  • Verifications: Technical, Editorial, Graphical aspects
  • Corrections/ adaptations
  • Validation
  • Submission for Approval

Roles

Work Guidelines and references

Top

1.1. Quality assurance workflow

This section provides a walkthrough of the process of site implementation with a stress of different quality checkpoints that should be considered to assure that the site is compliant to standards.

Details concerning the quality-related aspects of these top-level steps can be found in the respective activity descriptions. A separate activity sheet is defined for each of these quality-related steps which will be referenced by the appropriate related project activity.

For each project phase, the principal focus of the QA activities is described.

1) Definition phase

During this phase the quality objectives are defined in terms of the specific sites characteristics; standard QA activities which are applicable to all projects are applied here; the purpose is to ensure the proper setup of the project and proper identification of the specific quality objectives for the site. These objectives can guide later QA, QC and testing activities

  • Project description (communicated and approved by all stakeholders)
  • PQP (quality procedures identified and described, change control procedure

2) Content Phase

  • Content validation (correctness against content plan, information quality, proofreading)
  • Translations quality (proofreading, compare with original text)

3)  Design Phase

  • Model (check against presentation standards)

4) Development Phase

  • Template (HTML validation, WAI, CSS, etc.)
  • Prototype (verification against concept, functional specifications, etc.)
  • Testing – procedures, sample test plans

5) Publication Phase

  • Overall site control before integration (validation against EUROPA integration checklist)
  • Visibility of the site (Integration of the site into site, promotion campaign)

6) Maintenance Phase

  • Process of monitoring, evaluation of indicators
  • Continuous improvement (systematic monitoring and evaluation of indicators and methodology available; PDCA cycle):

a. PLAN : establish the objectives and processes necessary
b. DO – implement the processes
c. CHECK – monitor and evaluate
d. ACT – apply actions for necessary improvements

Top

1.1.1. Quality assurance in plan phase

The chances of success for any site development project are greatly enhanced if it starts on a good basis. Establishment of a clear Project definition and good-quality planning are an important part of this.

QA activities

The QA activities of this phase are focused on verifications of the use of proper Project Management procedures and actions, and definition and verifications of the outputs, and as such are rather project specific.

Proper project management of any site development project will include mandatory execution of the following steps, and verification of the results of each step:

  • Define the resources to be used on the project, including the team, the budget allocated, etc.
  • Define and agree to a plan (mission statement, objectives, scope, timetable)
  • Identify and understand the intended public for the web site in question
Top

1.1.2. Quality of site content

The objectives of this phase concern the quality of the content of the site.

The QA activities in this phase are concerned with content definition, presentation and structure, including the architecture of your information (and its retrieval) for your audience; this includes the site’s overall structure, navigation mans, search functions, site index, table of contents, URL’s, etc.)

A formal definition of the requirements for and specifications of the content should be produced.

Editing Quality

Writing for the web is different from writing for printed publications. Make sure the site content complies with the Writing for the web guidelines, especially:

  • a specific audience has been defined and the content written in an appropriate style
  • relevant key messages have been identified and prominently placed on each page
  • text has been presented in a way that will aid on screen reading (scanning etc.)
  • steps have been taken to ensure a regular readership
  • content is properly structured (page length, information hierarchies, consistency)
  • both individual pages and the whole site can be easily navigated (headings, grouping, hierarchies)
  • the volume of text has been kept as short as possible on every page (and overall)
  • pages contain only language of the highest standard and appropriate style
  • attention has been paid to links (style, length, format)
  • the right keywords are used in the right places

The editing quality of a site is not confined to its original language. It is important to check the quality in other language versions, in particular to verify that the integrity of texts received has not been altered in the course of HTML formatting etc.

Description of QA Activities

The Quality assurance activities in this phase are focused on:

  • Ensuring the accuracy of the textual elements
  • Proofreading the content
  • Reviewing the presentation aspects
  • Validating and approving the content, and forwarding for translation
  • Comparing translations with the original text
  • Verification of  copyright issues (copyright clearance)

Evaluating web content (checklist)

Look for the following things:

  • A statement of the site’s aims and purpose
  • Author and publisher details and an email contact address (on EUROPA, preferably a unit mailbox) to back up authenticity and offer further information
  • Details on the origin and validity of all information
  • Details of any quality checks or referencing of the information
  • Creation and modification dates
  • Clearly marked archiving information
  • Good design and awareness of readability – whatever its interest, poorly presented content stands less chance of being read
  • A sense of where you are on the site - not necessarily a site map, but some clear navigational hooks
  • A good site search function - vital for an information-rich and complex site

In judging the content ask yourself:

  • does the resource appear to be honest and genuine?
  • is the resource available in other formats (e.g. book, leaflet or CD-ROM)?
  • do any of the materials infringe copyright laws?
  • is the information well researched and documented?
  • is there any clear bias and, if so, is it acceptable?
  • is it the result of a personal hobbyhorse?
  • is the information durable in nature?
  • will the content be adequately maintained?

 

Top

1.1.3. Quality assurance in designing phase

The objective of QA activities in this phase focus on the presentation aspects of the site in question. In general, online publications must meet the same quality criteria as documents published on paper. Disseminating information on the Internet has several advantages, such as:

  • high visibility;
  • the possibility (as expected by users) to closely follow the latest news through daily updates;
  • the possibility to quickly correct errors.

Quality control should therefore be even more stringent and regular, both at technical and editing levels.

QA Activities

One of the important QA activities with respect to design involves the use of the checklist for the presentation/graphic design aspects of the site in question, as follows.

In addition to the general principle of ensuring that the designer or contractor has access to the latest version of IPG, it must also be ensured that these following rules are respected:

  • The obligatory templates are respected
  • Standard images are linked from the standard libraries on the Europa server 
  • Alternatives are provided for animations 
  • Colours are named using the “#nnnnnn” format 
  • The colours fixed in the central CSS are respected. 
  • Tables - The tables are not larger than 760 pixels (standard 1024x768 screen with horizontal scrollbar) or are expressed in percentages. The configuration tags contain the necessary attributes giving the appropriate information and make thus the tables WAI compliant. 
  • The site’s functionalities have successfully been tested on several computer platforms and in different web browsers 
  • Pages from the site can be printed.
  • The images have correct size and will not need to be resized by the browser 
  • Images are compressed. The images' size is as small as possible. It is an acceptable size for an acceptable download time. 
  • All images have HEIGHT and WIDTH attributes in the IMG tag. 
  • There is no use of large images for backgrounds. 
  • Different language versions are created for images containing text. 
  • Titles set as images are placed in Hn tags. 
  • Images are saved in .jpg or .gif format, depending on their type. 
  • All third party material is published following copyright rules and legislation, and necessary proof is kept on file.
  • Images have ALT text.
  • The ALT attribute gives the appropriate information in the language of the page.
  • If the image is decorative, use an empty ALT.
  • If the image is functional (like a bullet), it gives a text alternative of this function (like a simple dash).
  • If the image is a link, it gives information on the link's content and language.
  • All links point to information in the same language as the source page OR the destination language is indicated using the language icon, with ALT text. 
  • The links are coded according to Europa standards 
  • As it is forbidden, any underlined text without proposing any link is absent. 
  • Links are clearly visible.
  • The central CSS files are used as implemented in the templates. 
  • They instructions are not over-ridden by specific ones. 
  • The local CSS file, if any, is validated (online or downloadable validator). 
  • The local CSS style sheets work in most browsers, otherwise giving acceptable. 
  • Relative font sizes are used and can be changed by the users 
  • "sans-serif" font is the minimum alternative.

The use of the template covers these aspects:

  • Banner
    The EU flag, its colours and shape is respected
    A banner, in the language of the page, is present on each page. There is no link on the banner and the DG name, if mentioned, is no abbreviation. The standard size is respected.
  • Title  (<title>)
    The title is present and adapted on each page. It's in the language of the page.
    The recommended structure (EUROPA - Site - Page title) and length (maximum 70 characters) are respected.
    The title is coherent, useful, useable and informative.
  • Tools bar - Compulsory links
    See under "Contact" and "Search".
  • Tools bar - Optional links
    These tools are corresponding to what the templates recommend and, if necessary, the links are adapted.
  • Contact - Compulsory link
    This link is included in each page and points to a functional (and not personal) e-mail address or to the site's Contact page.
  • Search - Compulsory link
    This link is included in all pages.
    The link points to the EUROPA search page (in the same language) or the specific search facility of the site.
  • Cookies - Compulsory link
    This link is included in all pages and it points to a site-specific cookie notice page declaration.
  • Legal notice 
    • Specific texts
      For specific copyrights, this mention is clearly added/adapted to the page and is clearly linked to the appropriate copyright notification.
    • Standard texts
      The links are pointing to the appropriate central copyright and disclaimer texts.
  • Linguistic navigation
    Present on all pages, even if only 1 language available.
    The same level of navigation is ensured, i.e. there is equivalence in the content of the various linguistic versions proposed.
  • Navigation path
    This navigation bar is included in each page and the inserted links point to pages in the same language.
  • Date of the latest update
    This information is well present on all pages
  • Top link
    This feature is present at the bottom of all pages. When pages are longer than two vertical screens a top link is introduced between paragraphs  
  • Graphical design
    The page respects the presentation as proposed in the templates.
    The page is displayed without horizontal scrolling on an 1024x768 pixels screen.     

If you deem it necessary to depart from the IPG rules in some way, discuss this with the Europa team before developing your new site. 

Top

1.1.4. Quality assurance in Build phase

During this project phase the various program elements of the site are created and tested. It is a particularly important activity for dynamic sites, which can entail significant programming. Quality control activities during this phase are more technical than in other phases, and include internal functional testing of dynamic site functionality (unit testing).

QA activities

  1. Production
    a. Follow the standards and recommendations in place
  2. Prototype
    a. Design user interface
    b. Use of the templates
  3. Development (covering all aspects of the production of content and the technical development
  4. Unit and Integration Testing, i.e., internal checking of deliverables

 

Top

1.1.4.1. Testing

Testing is a type of formal validation in which specific results are sought and the actual results obtained are recorded. The purpose is to identify shortcomings, errors or other non-compliance, and hence any necessary corrective actions.

For quality control to be effective, you must test the same things the same way every time you test. This is best achieved via production of a test plan. The test plan is a description of the specific areas (functionality elements, etc.) to be tested, the specific tests to be run (and the results expected in each case), how frequently you will test them, and where in the development or publication process you will test them.

Description

Following is a list of some of the different types of tests that may need to be performed:

  1. accessibility testing measures how well the site supports different platforms and browsers, and how easy the site is to navigate and understand by users with different interactivity impairments, such as blind users (using screen readers) or mobility impaired users (using keyboards commands);
  2. browser compatibility testing, cross-platform and browser; if browsers are being able to handle the site/page functionality;
  3. usability testing measures the site’s interface for ease and intuitiveness of navigation;
  4. integration testing, testing if new elements (adding a new function to a set of existing functions) function properly once integrated with the existing elements;
  5. regression testing, which is related to integration testing, in which previously functioning elements are retested after the integration of new elements to verify that this integration has no negative side effects on other functionality
  6. performance testing; testing the server efficiency (download speed, machine resource usage, server request handling, etc.);
  7. security testing to audit the site and web server configuration; verifies that proper access controls are in place and that the integrity of the site’s content is protected
  8. validation testing; testing adherence to the HTML DTD (document type definition).
Top

1.1.5. Quality assurance in Maintenance phase

The objective of the QA activities during the maintenance phase is to ensure that a continuous process of evaluation and improvement is being followed.

The decisions made as to the content, form and frequency of feedback to be gathered from users of the site, and how this information is to be used to modify or update the site are implemented during the maintenance phase. For some sites, there will be a natural schedule for updating, improvement or extension of the site, such as sites which are concerned with specific external events, or for which the content is particularly short lifetime of validity.

Specific Activities

The main activities cover the systematic monitoring and evaluation of defined quality indicators (such as the results of different means of feedback to measure site effectiveness, etc.). Special emphasis is placed on the cyclic and periodic, regular nature of the process of improvements.

There are two types of QA processes involved in the maintenance phase:

  • Those directly related to the feedback and review process, and
  • other QA processes which may be triggered by decisions to change or update the web site. These can include any of the QA activities that take place in the other phases of site implementation, depending on the scope of the changes or updates to be made
Top

1.2. Quality control checklist

This self-assessment checklist may help you to measure how well your website meets IPG requirements and best practices. The checklist is based on the standards in force and recommendations of this website.

You may find useful this quick checklist for successful websitespdf(141 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  to help identify whether a site is focused or not on its users.

Standards and recommendations checklist

 

Subject Checking
Accessibility of the information The site is well referenced in search engines and indexes.
Various entry points to the information are proposed (thematic, alphabetical, chronological pages, etc.).
The information is presented in a coherent manner on all pages of the site.
The information is not duplicated and preference is given to putting links to the source sites (i.e, any other site of EUROPA being the leader for the concerned matter). Links to sites dealing with matters of the same or similar themes are present.
Various information entries are presented (i.e. contact page, about this site, site map, site index, etc).
Accessibility to the information and editorial quality The page is easy to read and use the appropriate style of writing to match the content and the audience
The rules for writing for the web are applied.
Accessibility to the information for disabled or differently equipped people - WAI initiative The technical specifications needed to reach the conformity AA of the WCAG 2.0 are implemented on the site and each page of it.
The page is WCAG 2.0, level AA compliant.
Accessibility statement A page explaining the accessibility policy of the site and, in case of justified technical or practical reasons for not complying with WCAG 2.0, level AA guidelines, stating the exceptions is well presented on the site.
Architecture The URL is within the europa.eu domain and has been approved by the webmaster and the EUROPA Team.
The folders and pages are named in lower cases, without space or special characters. All the names are in English.
The site is organised by theme and not by language, the linguistical character of the pages being put in their filenames (ending with _xx, xx being the appropriate ISO 639 code).
A clear and coherent organisation of the site and of its tree is ensured in order to make it manageable by more than one person.
Apart from the projects in development, the site's content is the same on both staging and production server, with no cross-over between the servers. A particular attention is thus given to delete obsolete and orphan files on both servers. The folders having received an automatic redirection instruction are also empty on both servers.
The default multilingual homepage is well present in the site (index.htm or index.html).
Archiving The sites having a real historical, legal or informative value are archived. They display the standard archive stamp and host under the /archive folder. See also "Archiving".
Banner See under "Template - Banner".
Colours for text The colours fixed in the central CSS are respected.
Colours in the HTML code The colours are defined in hexadecimal ("#nnnnnn") instead of names.
Colours palette If possible, only the colours of a browser safe palette are used.
Compressed files - File format Use ZIP format. These files contain only authorised formats.
Contact - Compulsory link See under "Template - Service tools".
Cookies If cookies are stored longer than current session, explicit permission is asked for using the cookie consent kit.
Cookies - Compulsory link See under "Template - Service tools".
Copyright and disclaimer

All third party material published has the necessary copyrights.
See also under "Legal notice".

Creation of new site or substantial modifications The EUROPA team has been informed.
The information is present in the central What's New page of EUROPA.
The readers are informed (various media used).
CSS The central CSS are used and these instructions are not over-ridden by specific ones.
The correctness of the CSS file is well validated (online or downloadable validator).
Deletion or change of URL of sites or substantial parts of site The EUROPA team is informed.
The readers are informed (various media used).
A redirection system is present.
DOCTYPE See under "HTML validation".
Download - File formats Pure text files (.txt) files, where information is not available in a richer format are allowed. Other formats can also be used but the standard format (pdf or html) must also be provided. In that case, both the most popular format (MS Office) and the Open Document Format (ODF) must be offered.
The format and size are announced next to the link.
Editorial quality See chapter Writing for the web. See also "Accessibility to the information" and "Up-to-date information".
E-Mail address The functional email address is regularly checked (good state of working).
The emails are permanently read (no "auto-reply") and receive a quick and appropriate answer.
Entertainment files - File format Flash and Shockwave formats are allowed.
Entertainment files - Bypass A by-pass ("skip") for entertainment files is always proposed in the page.
Entertainment files - Plug-in Provide a link to download the plug-in.
Entertainment files - Content alternative A link to a HTML page describing the content of the file is present.
File format For specific types of files, see under:
- Compressed files
- Download
- Entertainment files
- Images
- Proprietary formats
- Sound
- Text
- Video
Flash See "Entertainment files".
Frames If they are well authorised by the EUROPA team, the frames have a NOFRAMES alternative.
Graphical design The page respects the presentation as proposed in the templates.
The page is displayed without horizontal scrolling on a 1024x764 pixels screen.
HTML - Declaration The inserted HTML declaration (!DOCTYPE) is correct and appropriate.
HTML - Validation The correctness of the HTML code is well validated according to the HTML 4.01 transitional standard.
Images as background There is no use of large images for backgrounds.
Images - Content alternative Complex images such as graphics and charts provide a link to a page describing the content of the image.
The link can be proposed via the LONGDESC attribute.
Images - File format

Generally, .GIF or .JPG. PNG is also allowed but only when it is really needed (special transparency).
.GIF for animated images and solid colors
.JPG for photos
.PNG for transparent images

Images - HTML tag attributes All required attributes are present (width, height, alt).
Images - HTML tag attributes - ALT attribute The ALT attribute gives the appropriate information in the language of the page.
- If the image is decorative, use an empty ALT
- If the image is functional or a link (like a print button), give a text alternative of its function (i.e. print this page),
See also under "Images - Content alternative".
Images - Links See under "Links via images".
Images - Size The images' size is as small as possible. It is an acceptable size for an acceptable download time.
Images - Source The site contains no duplication of central images.
Images - Transparency If needed, the PNG transparency is ensured in order to avoid a degradation of the graphical display of the page.
Image maps - Links See under "Links via image maps".
JavaScript Any use of JavaScript has always a NOSCRIPT alternative.
See also under "Links via JavaScripts".
Legal notice

This notice is present at the top of each HTML page.
See also under "Template - Legal notice".

Linguistic navigation Present on all pages, even if only 1 language available.
The same level of navigation is ensured, i.e. there is an equivalence in the content of the various linguistical versions proposed.
Links - Confusion As it is forbidden, any underlined text without proposing any link is absent.
Links - Quality The validity of the links is checked.
The links always point to the source site (i.e, any other site of EUROPA being the leader for the concerned matter) as the duplication of the source information is forbidden.
In general links should only point to pages without access restriction. A page may only contain links to restricted sites when it is aimed at a limited audience. In that case the restriction should be clearly announced next to the link
The following rule is applied:
- absolute URLs are used only for links to other web sites than EUROPA,
- semi-absolute URLs to root are used for links to other sites of EUROPA.
- relative URLs are used for navigation inside the same site,
See also "Up-to-date information"
Links via images The image has no border and proposes a description of the target in its ALT attribute. If different, the language of the target is also indicated in the ALT attribute.
Links via image maps The image has no border and proposes a general description in its ALT attribute. A textual alternative of its content is also present.
Each area has it own ALT attribute proposing a description of the target and, if necessary, indicates the language of the target.
Links via JavaScripts Such links are also proposed in a textual alternative (NOSCRIPT alternative).
Links via text The general rule recommending the underlining of the text proposing a link is applied.
In case of non-respect of the general recommendation, it means that one of the 3 following situation is present:
- authorised exception for well recognisable lists or navigation bars,
- authorized exception if the link is clearly announced in an alternative way,
- compulsory exception for links pointing to another language: the text must then not be a link, but must be followed by the appropriate linguistic navigation images with correct ALT attribute.
Mail forms The destination mailbox is regularly checked (good state of working).
A reply is quickly sent to the reader.
Presence of a warning in case of collection of personal data
Metadata - Coding of text - HTML pages The coding of text is clearly defined in the meta tag which contains the appropriate UTF-8 code of the character used.
Metadata "Reference" - HTML pages Its content is in capital letters, each section separated by a "/".
Metadata "Creator" - HTML & PDF pages Its content is in capital letters, each section being separated by a "/".
Metadata "Language" - HTML & PDF pages Its content is composed of 2 lower-case letters as determined in the ISO 639 codes.
Metadata "Classification" - HTML pages Its content is the appropriate code of 2 numbers, as proposed in the list.
Metadata "Keywords" - HTML & PDF pages Its content is in the language of the page, upper case & accented characters can be used, each word being separated by a comma (without comma, the words are considered as an expression).
The 3 compulsory keywords are present. The other keywords are significant words describing the document.
Metadata "Description" - HTML & PDF pages Its content is 1 or 2 sentences describing the context and the content of the page (of the site for the homepages). It is written in the language of the page and it is not longer than 150 characters - ". See also the recommendations in Metadata - Instructions
Metadata "Date" - HTML pages Date of creation of the page. The creation date together with the date of last update on the template footer is used by the Europa search engine to determine the freshness of the page.
Multilingualism General, official or stable information is available in the 24 languages.
The page may not be a mix of various languages. Each page is thus unilingual.
A multilingual "news" section in a page is nevertheless accepted.
The quality of all the linguistic versions of the page is checked.
Multilingualism - Language policy Explain the language policy of the website in the "About this site" page or in a dedicated page.
Navigability The navigation scheme and labels are consistent across all the website.
It is easy to navigate from the page to related ones, to other sections of the site and to other sites of EUROPA.
Navigation path ("Page path") See under "Template - Navigation path".
PDF files Use only PDF for long documents that are intended for printing, legally restricted documents, claim and application forms for downloading and printing and documents designed specifically for print.
Create an HTML summary/abstract whenever possible.
Use a table of contents for long PDF documents.
Add appropriate metadata / document properties including the language.
Add structure (heading, lists, etc) and alt text in the source document creation application. Test and fix tags using Acrobat Professional.
Optimise PDF files to get a smaller size and to deliver the document page by page.
Try to keep the size of the PDF files under 2 MB.
Describe in the link that the document is a PDF and state its size in KB.
Plug-ins No non-standard plug-ins are used.
An alternative solution to access content is provided for those internet users not having the plug-in.
Proprietary formats Proprietary formats are admitted if agreed by the EUROPA team and if alternative format is proposed next to the link.
See also under "Download - File formats" and "Compressed files - File format"
Search - Compulsory link See under "Template - Service tools".
Sound - Content alternative A link to a page describing the content of the sound is present.
Sound - File format MP3 is the prefered format. Other formats are allowed: WAV, MIDI
Tables Tables are not used for layout purposes.
Tables are expressed in percentages or are not larger than 760 pixels (standard 1024x768 screen with horizontal scrollbar).
The configuration tags contain the necessary attributes giving the appropriate information and make thus the tables WAI compliant.
Template - Banner The logo of the European Commission, its colours and shape is respected
A banner, in the language of the page, is present on each page.
There is no link on the banner and the DG name, if mentioned, is no abbreviation.
The standard size is respected.
Template - Title See under Title
Template - Service tools - Optional links These tools are corresponding to what the templates recommend and, if necessary, the links are adapted.
Template - Service tools- Compulsory links

Contact link is included in each page and points to a functional (and not personal) e-mail address or to the site's contact page.

Search link is included in all pages. The link points to the EUROPA search page (in the same language) or the specific search facility of the site.
Cookies link is included in all pages. The link points to a local cookie notice page informing the user about the cookies used on the specific site.
Template - Legal notice

Standard texts
The links are pointing to the appropriate central copyright and disclaimer texts.

Specific texts
For specific copyrights, this mention is clearly added/adapted to the page and is clearly linked to the appropriate copyright notification.

Template - Linguistic navigation Present on all pages, even if only 1 language available.
The same level of navigation is ensured, i.e. there is equivalence in the content of the various linguistic versions proposed.
Template - Navigation path This navigation bar is included in each page and the inserted links point to pages in the same language.
Template - Date of the latest update This information is well present on all pages
Template - Top link This feature is present at the bottom of all pages. When pages are longer than two vertical screens a top link is introduced between paragraphs.  
Text - Coding declaration See under "Metadata - Coding of text - HTML pages".
Text - Encoding The correct character as specified in the UTF-8 code fixed in the page is used and the use of its HTML equivalent is avoided.
Text - File format HTML or optimised PDF
The .TXT format is used when it's not available in rich format.
Text - Underlined This is refused if the text does not propose any link (see "Links confusion").
Text font Verdana is used for all typographical elements. The "sans-serif" font is proposed as the minimum alternative in the CSS.
Text font - Content The fonts are not embedded.
Text pages - Size The page has an appropriate size ensuring an acceptable download time.
Title  (<title>) The title is present and adapted on each pages. It's in the language of the page.
The title is coherent, useful, useable and informative.
The recommended structure (EUROPA - Page title for europa.eu domain or Page title - European Commission for ec.europa.eu) and length (maximum 70 characters) are applied.
Up-to-date information The information furnished is regularly checked.
The consistency of information in the various linguistic versions of a page is ensured.
Obsolete or orphan pages are deleted from both staging and production servers.
If necessary, a redirection system is installed.
Up-to-date information - Archiving The sites having a real historical, legal or informative value are archived better than deleted from the site.
User feedback

Measure user satisfaction using an online survey preferably once per year.
Monitor the site regularly.
Respond promptly to any enquiries.
Analyse the questions frequently submitted and if appropriate create a 'Frequently Asked Questions' (FAQ)

URL

Names of directories and files are in conformity with the IPG rules (in English, typography, linguistic attributes).
Logical integration under EUROPA.
The URL has been approved by the webmaster and the EUROPA team.

Video - Content Alternative A link to a page describing the content of the video is present.
Video - File format MP4 is the recommended format. Other formats can be used: FLV, AVI, MPEG, MOV, RM, WMV.
Top

1.3. Quality assurance and quality control tools and services

The efficient execution of quality control activities can be greatly enhanced by application or use of the appropriate tools.

The webmasters toolbox provides several tools to check the quality of your pages.

The following are recommended:

HTML validation - to check the correctness of the document against declared DOCTYPE

CSS validation – checking the validity of external style sheets called by your document.

Validating Accessibility - measuring how easy the site is to navigate and understand by users with different interactivity impairments, such as blind users (using screen readers) or mobility impaired users (using only keyboard commands)

Cross-browsers compatibility tools – measuring how well the site supports different browser applications and different operating systems.

Links validating – verification of links integrity

JavaScript - check the quality of the code

Website performance - check how long it takes to download a page

Multiple validators - checking HTML, CSS, accessibility, spell checker, broken links, screenshots, SEO, social services, etc.

 

Top