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.
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:
- EUROPA specific standards
- W3C standards
- Web Accessibility Initiative guidelines
In addition, a number of other standards and/or guidelines may be applicable, depending on the site or other factors, such as:
- 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)
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.
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
3) Design phase
4) Build 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.
- 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)
- Functional test reports
- Verifications: Technical, Editorial, Graphical aspects
- Corrections/ adaptations
- Submission for Approval