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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) to help identify whether a site is focused or not on its users.

 

Standards and recommendations checklist

 

SubjectChecking
Accessibility of the informationThe 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 qualityThe 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 initiativeThe 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 statementA 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.
ArchitectureThe 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).
ArchivingThe 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".
BannerSee under "Template - Banner".
Colours for textThe colours fixed in the central CSS are respected.
Colours in the HTML codeThe colours are defined in hexadecimal ("#nnnnnn") instead of names.
Colours paletteIf possible, only the colours of a browser safe palette are used.
Compressed files - File formatUse ZIP format. These files contain only authorised formats.
Contact - Compulsory linkSee under "Template - Service tools".
CookiesIf cookies are stored longer than current session, explicit permission is asked for using the cookie consent kit.
Cookies- Compulsory linkSee 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 modificationsThe 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).
CSSThe 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 siteThe EUROPA team is informed.
The readers are informed (various media used).
A redirection system is present.
DOCTYPESee under "HTML validation".
Download - File formatsPure 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 qualitySee chapter Writing for the web. See also "Accessibility to the information" and "Up-to-date information".
E-Mail addressThe 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 formatFlash and Shockwave formats are allowed.
Entertainment files - BypassA by-pass ("skip") for entertainment files is always proposed in the page.
Entertainment files - Plug-inProvide a link to download the plug-in.
Entertainment files - Content alternativeA link to a HTML page describing the content of the file is present.
File formatFor specific types of files, see under:
- Compressed files
- Download
- Entertainment files
- Images
- Proprietary formats
- Sound
- Text
- Video
FlashSee "Entertainment files".
FramesIf they are well authorised by the EUROPA team, the frames have a NOFRAMES alternative.
Graphical designThe page respects the presentation as proposed in the templates.
The page is displayed without horizontal scrolling on a 1024x764 pixels screen.
HTML - DeclarationThe inserted HTML declaration (!DOCTYPE) is correct and appropriate.
HTML - ValidationThe correctness of the HTML code is well validated according to the HTML 4.01 transitional standard.
Images as backgroundThere is no use of large images for backgrounds.
Images - Content alternativeComplex 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 attributesAll required attributes are present (width, height, alt).
Images - HTML tag attributes - ALT attributeThe 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 - LinksSee under "Links via images".
Images - SizeThe images' size is as small as possible. It is an acceptable size for an acceptable download time.
Images - SourceThe site contains no duplication of central images.
Images - TransparencyIf needed, the PNG transparency is ensured in order to avoid a degradation of the graphical display of the page.
Image maps - LinksSee under "Links via image maps".
JavaScriptAny 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 navigationPresent 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 - ConfusionAs it is forbidden, any underlined text without proposing any link is absent.
Links - QualityThe 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 imagesThe 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 mapsThe 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 JavaScriptsSuch links are also proposed in a textual alternative (NOSCRIPT alternative).
Links via textThe 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 formsThe 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 pagesThe coding of text is clearly defined in the meta tag which contains the appropriate UTF-8 code of the character used.
Metadata "Reference" - HTML pagesIts content is in capital letters, each section separated by a "/".
Metadata "Creator" - HTML & PDF pagesIts content is in capital letters, each section being separated by a "/".
Metadata "Language" - HTML & PDF pagesIts content is composed of 2 lower-case letters as determined in the ISO 639 codes.
Metadata "Classification" - HTML pagesIts content is the appropriate code of 2 numbers, as proposed in the list.
Metadata "Keywords" - HTML & PDF pagesIts 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 pagesIts 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 pagesDate 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.
MultilingualismGeneral, 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 policyExplain the language policy of the website in the "About this site" page or in a dedicated page.
NavigabilityThe 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 filesUse 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-insNo non-standard plug-ins are used.
An alternative solution to access content is provided for those internet users not having the plug-in.
Proprietary formatsProprietary 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 linkSee under "Template - Service tools".
Sound - Content alternativeA link to a page describing the content of the sound is present.
Sound - File formatMP3 is the prefered format. Other formats are allowed: WAV, MIDI
TablesTables 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 - BannerThe 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 - TitleSee under Title
Template - Service tools - Optional linksThese 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 navigationPresent 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 pathThis navigation bar is included in each page and the inserted links point to pages in the same language.
Template - Date of the latest updateThis information is well present on all pages
Template - Top linkThis 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 declarationSee under "Metadata - Coding of text - HTML pages".
Text - EncodingThe 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 formatHTML or optimised PDF
The .TXT format is used when it's not available in rich format.
Text - UnderlinedThis is refused if the text does not propose any link (see "Links confusion").
Text fontVerdana is used for all typographical elements. The "sans-serif" font is proposed as the minimum alternative in the CSS.
Text font - ContentThe fonts are not embedded.
Text pages - SizeThe 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 informationThe 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 - ArchivingThe 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 AlternativeA link to a page describing the content of the video is present.
Video - File formatMP4 is the recommended format. Other formats can be used: FLV, AVI, MPEG, MOV, RM, WMV.