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Quality Assurance
For Your Web Site


Brian Kelly                            Email
UKOLN                                  B.Kelly@ukoln.ac.uk
University of Bath                     URL
Bath                                   http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/

UKOLN is supported by:

 A centre of expertise in digital information management       www.ukoln.ac.uk
    About Me / QA Focus
    Brian Kelly:
         • UK Web Focus: adviser on Web standards and
             best practices
         • Funded by JISC (and MLA 1 Aug 2003)
         • Web developer since 1993
         • Based at UKOLN
    QA Focus:
         • Project funded by JISC to support JISC's digital
             library programmes
         • Has developed a quality assurance methodology
             and range of support materials
         • Provide by UKOLN and AHDS
         • Project manager is Brian Kelly
    A centre of expertise in digital information management www.ukoln.ac.uk
2
    What Can Go Wrong?   What Can Go Wrong?
                                                           Accessibility problems

                                                                                   Usability problems
                                  Corrupted display

                          Incorrect content                                         Broken links
                                                          Problems                          Broken forms
                         Out-of-date content
                                                                                   Broken scripts
                         Ambiguous content
                                                                                          Why Do Things
                          Incomprehensible content                                        Go Wrong?
                                                                   Device problems        The problems
                                     Interoperability problems                            may be due to:
                                                                                           • People
                                                                                           • Technologies
                         A centre of expertise in digital information management
                                                                                           • Systems
                                                                                              www.ukoln.ac.uk
3
    What Can Go Wrong?   Finding Errors
                         How do we spot such errors?
                            • Automated tools
                            • Manual checking
                            • User feedback
                            • Failure of systems to work correctly
                            • Failure of systems to be interoperable
                            • …
                         But:
                            • How systematic are we in checking?
                            • Do users really give us feedback?
                            • Do we know when are systems are non-
                              interoperable?

                         A centre of expertise in digital information management   www.ukoln.ac.uk
4
    What Can Go Wrong?   Fixing Errors
                         If we spot errors or errors are reported what are our
                         approaches to correcting the errors:
                             • Fix them straight away
                             • Scope the extent of problems and make plans for
                               fixing problems
                             • Do nothing – there are too many errors to fix
                             • Do nothing – it's somebody else's responsibility
                             • Do nothing – it's a problem with the CMS, the
                               user's browser, …
                             • Something else



                         A centre of expertise in digital information management   www.ukoln.ac.uk
5
    What Can Go Wrong?   Why Do Things Go Wrong?
                         Things can go wrong for several reasons:
                            • Failure to understand the bigger picture:
                               • Importance of open standards
                               • Limitations of open standards
                            • Use of an inappropriate for the deployment of
                              solutions
                            • Failure to check compliance with standards
                            • Failure to appreciate limitations of testing tools
                            • Failure to understand what should be tested




                         A centre of expertise in digital information management   www.ukoln.ac.uk
6
    Quality Assurance   QA Focus Approach
                        QA Focus approach to these issues:
                          • Advice on reasons for use of open standards
                          • Advice on specific open standards
                          • Case studies describing approaches taken by
                            projects (including any problems experiences and
                            lessons learnt)
                          • Advice on approaches to testing
                          • Development of a quality assurance methodology




                        A centre of expertise in digital information management   www.ukoln.ac.uk
7
    Quality Assurance   A QA Approach
                        Quality Control:
                             • Spotting errors and then fixing them
                             • CF production line processes (rejection of bottles,
                               cars, … which aren't up to scratch)
                        Quality Assurance:
                             •   Having documented procedures
                             •   Addressing the underlying causes of problems
                             •   Fixing the workflow processes
                             •   Addressing human issues (training, …)
                             •   Introduced in the 1940s


                        A centre of expertise in digital information management   www.ukoln.ac.uk
8
    Quality Assurance   We Need Policies
                        Quality Assurance requires documented policies:
                             • How do we know if something (non-trivial) is
                                 broken if we haven't got a documented policy
                             • The policies should be realistic
                        In a Web context we need policies on:
                             • HTML compliance
                             • CSS
                             • Links
                             • Accessibility / usability
                             • Error reporting
                             • …
                         It is recognised that policies may need to be lightweight
                          centre of expertise onerous to management
                        Aand not too in digital informationdevelop.   www.ukoln.ac.uk
9
     Quality Assurance   We Need Checking Procedures
                         Quality Assurance requires systematic procedures for
                         ensuring compliance with policies:
                            • Without this, our policies can be meaningless
                              'motherhood and apple pie' statements
                         The procedures:
                            • Should be systematic
                            • Should provide an audit trail
                            • Should result in action if deviations from policies
                              found



                          It is recognised that procedures may need to be
                         Alightweight and not too onerous to implement.
                           centre of expertise in digital information management www.ukoln.ac.uk
10
     Quality Assurance   A Template Policy
                         Area: Give the area covered by the policy
                         Standards / Best Practices: State the standards or
                         best practices which will be used
                         Justification: Give reasons for chosen standards /
                         best practices
                         Exceptions: State any permitted deviations
                         Implementation Architecture: If applicable, describe
                         the architecture used to implement the standards
                         Change Control: Describe the responsibilities for the
                         policy, its implementation and for making changes to
                         the policy.


                         A centre of expertise in digital information management   www.ukoln.ac.uk
11
     Quality Assurance   A Template Procedure
                         Area: Give a link to the policy.
                         Procedure(s): Describe the procedure(s) used for
                         ensuring compliance with the policy.
                         Limitations: Describe any limitations in the
                         procedures.
                         Audit Trails: Describe any audit trails used to record
                         the findings of the procedures.
                         Correcting Errors : Describe the approaches for
                         correcting errors which may be found.
                         Change Control: Describe the responsibilities for the
                         procedures, its implementation and for making
                         changes to the procedures.

                         A centre of expertise in digital information management   www.ukoln.ac.uk
12
     Quality Assurance   QA Areas
                         Areas in which QA Focus has been developing QA
                         policies and procedures and accompanying support
                         materials include:
                             • Web/access                Digitisation
                             • Metadata                  Software
                             • Service Deployment        Standards selection




                         A centre of expertise in digital information management   www.ukoln.ac.uk
13
     Quality Assurance   QA For Web
                         QA for Web sites will cover areas such as:
                              •   HTML compliance
                              •   CSS compliance
                              •   Functionality in Web browsers
                              •   Link checking
                              •   Accessibility checking
                              •   Usability checking
                              •   Accuracy of content
                              •   …



                         A centre of expertise in digital information management   www.ukoln.ac.uk
14
                         QA For Web (HTML/CSS) -
     Quality Assurance
                         Policy
                         Area: Web standards (HTML, CSS).
                         Standards / Best Practices: Web site will comply with
                         XHTML 1.0 and CSS 2.0.
                         Justification: Compliance with HTML &CSS standards
                         with help to maximise access to Web site.
                         Exceptions: Files derived from MS Office apps need
                         not comply with HTML standard.
                         Implementation Architecture: PHP on Apache
                         platform used, which includes HTML fragments. Also
                         makes use of backend MS SQL Server database and
                         MT Blog.
                         Change Control: The project manager is responsible
                         for the policy, its implementation and for making
15
                         changes to the policy.
                         A centre of expertise in digital information management www.ukoln.ac.uk
                         QA For Web (HTML/CSS) -
     Quality Assurance
                         Procedures
                         Area: Web standards (HTML, CSS).
                         Procedure(s): The ,validate tool should be used
                         when pages created/updated. The ,rvalidate tool
                         should be used at least quarterly. The W3C Web Log
                         validator should be used monthly.
                         Limitations: The ,rvalidate tool only validate up to
                         100 files. The W3C Web Log validator only validates
                         the 10 most popular pages.
                         Audit Trails: An audit trail will be kept of the output
                         from the monthly W3C Web Log validator output.
                         Correcting Errors : Errors spotted using ,validate and
                         ,rvalidate should be updated immediately. A
                         record of pages fixed/not fixed should be kept for the
                         W3C of expertise in digital information output.
                         A centre Web Log validator management           www.ukoln.ac.uk
16
     Quality Assurance   QA In Other Web Areas
                         CSS:
                            • Similar to HTML standards (see briefing doc)
                         Link-checking:
                            • Need systematic use of link-checkers.
                            • Need to ensure tools covers links other than <A>
                              and <IMG> e.g. links to CSS & JavaScript files.
                            • Need to have policy on fixing broken links.
                         Accessibility:
                            • Important to have QA to cover "reasonable
                              measures" clause in DDA.
                            • Will need automated and manual checks.
                         Usability:
                            • Related to accessibility.
                            • Will need automated and manual checks.
                         A centre of expertise in digital information management   www.ukoln.ac.uk
17
     Quality Assurance   QA And Metadata
                         Metadata is the glue for interoperable services. It is
                         therefore important that we have QA to ensure that our
                         metadata is
                            • Accurate
                            • Represented in correct format
                            • Interoperable with other services
                         For further information see:
                            • An Introduction To Metadata (briefing 41)
                            • Metadata Deployment (briefing 42)
                            • Quality Assurance For Metadata (briefing 43)
                         See <http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/qa-focus/
                         documents/briefings/#metadata>


                         A centre of expertise in digital information management   www.ukoln.ac.uk
18
     Quality Assurance   QA And Software
                         Software may be:
                            • Used software to create, manage and deliver
                              resources on our Web site
                            • Purchased, developed locally or used as open
                              source
                         There is a need to:
                            • Ensure software is appropriate for its purpose
                            • Ensure we have resources needed to use /
                              develop software
                            • Ensure software outputs are compliance with
                              appropriate standards & guidelines
                         See <http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/qa-focus/
                         documents/briefings/#software>

                         A centre of expertise in digital information management   www.ukoln.ac.uk
19
     Quality Assurance   QA And Service Deployment
                         Project-funded work can help to develop content,
                         applications, etc. which will then be deployed in a
                         service environment.
                         There is a need to ensure that project deliverables:
                            • Can be deployed easily
                            • Are legal and unencumbered with IPR restrictions
                            • …
                         See <http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/qa-focus/
                         documents/briefings/#service>




                         A centre of expertise in digital information management   www.ukoln.ac.uk
20
     Quality Assurance   Deviation From Best Practices
                         QA is about “fitness for purpose” – not necessarily the
                         ideal solution.
                         The NOF-digitise Technical Advisory Service defined
                         a reporting process when non-optimal solutions (e.g.
                         proprietary formats like Flash) were to be deployed:
                            • Description of preferred open standard/best
                              practice
                            • Proposed solution
                            • Reason for choice of proposed solution
                            • Description of migration strategy
                         A NOF-TAS FAQ gives scenarios such as use of Flash
                         and use of externally-hosted Web services

                         A centre of expertise in digital information management   www.ukoln.ac.uk
21
     Quality Assurance   Matrix For Standards Selection
                         The selection of formats to be used is not necessarily
                         easy. Open standards may be immature, costly to
                         deploy or fail to be widely deployed (cf. OSI networks)
                         We have developed a template matrix for selection:

                                 Maturity of standard
                                 Complexity
                                 Availability of tools
                                 Resource issues
                                 Organisational culture


                         A centre of expertise in digital information management   www.ukoln.ac.uk
22
     Quality Assurance   Useful Tools
                         A number of simple tools and techniques for checking
                         compliance have been documented:
                         ,tools
                            • Append ,validate ,rvalidate ,checklink
                               etc. to any URL on UKOLN Web site
                            • Easy to implement – see ,tools
                         W3C QA Log Validator
                            • Periodic report on 10 most popular pages which
                               are non-compliant
                            • Means of prioritising pages to fix (and spotting
                               workflow problems and motivating page authors to
                               address problems)
                            • Simple Perl script
                            • See <http://www.w3.org/QA/Tools/LogValidator/>
                         A centre of expertise in digital information management   www.ukoln.ac.uk
23
     Quality Assurance   QA In "Softer" Areas
                         There may be a temptation to address only the „hard„
                         areas with use of automated tools
                         It is equally important to address „softer‟ areas such as
                         accessibility, usability, content, functionality, etc.
                         (cf. DRC Accessibility Report)
                         How can QA be used in these areas:
                              • Still a need for policies
                              • Testing compliance cannot be done with
                                automated tools
                              • See Alice Grant‟s report on approaches to
                                evaluation – to be published on MLA Web site
                                shortly
                              • Sarah Agarwal's talk on usability testing

                         A centre of expertise in digital information management   www.ukoln.ac.uk
24
     Quality Assurance   Embedding QA In Your Library
                         QA Focus resources:
                           • Developed for JISC digital library community
                           • Looking to extend remit to include MLA sector
                           • You can help by providing feedback on:
                              • Existing resources
                              • QA methodology
                              • What‟s missing
                              •…

                            Please complete feedback forms and return



                         A centre of expertise in digital information management   www.ukoln.ac.uk
25
     Conclusions   Conclusions
                   To conclude:
                      • Web sites now provide mission-critical services
                      • Robustness and reliability are therefore crucial
                      • We could react to problems
                      • A better approach is use of well-established
                        quality assurance principles
                      • QA need not be onerous to introduce
                      • QA Focus have developed a methodology and
                        accompanying materials which are freely
                        available



                   A centre of expertise in digital information management   www.ukoln.ac.uk
26

				
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