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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.

 

General Evaluation Criteria

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.
 

Images

  • 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.
 

Links

  • 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.
 

CSS

  • 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.
 

Template

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.