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Building a Quality Website - What it Means

"How do you as a website owner, know if you have a purpose built quality website, designed to attract visitors and get them to take the actions you want ?"

Tony Simpson

Before you can develop a quality website you need to understand what quality means. It’s a common enough term but what does it actually mean and how do we define quality ?

Webster’s Collegiate dictionary gives a definition for quality as “being of high quality” ... really useful !

The Oxford Reference dictionary gives the definition of quality as “degree or level of excellence.”

I think of quality as being something that’s well designed, well made and fit for its purpose. If it looks good and stylish that’s a bonus.

But if something looks good, but is not well designed or made and not fit for the purpose it was intended I would strongly argue it's also not of good quality.

There’s a lot more to good quality website design than what a site looks like. In fact when we do an evaluation that accounts for less than 5% of the elements that make up an effective website.

That may surprise you if you’re a website owner or web designer who places a lot of emphasis on appearance

There are two common sayings that apply just as much to websites and they are:

  • “don’t judge a book by its cover“
  • “appearances can be deceptive”

For a website being well designed and made is the stuff under the hood, much of which you don’t see but it affects whether the website will be fit for its purpose.

 

But what is the purpose of a website ?

Well for a business website it’s to attract visitors and get them to take some desired action.

In the product design and manufacturing world things like quality control and quality assurance are common place. But in designing and building a website quality control and quality assurance are far from being common place.

In fact in my experience quality control in website design is as rare as finding rocking horse s_ _ t, I’ll leave you to fill in the blanks.

Ensuring a quality website in the web world should mean doing what they do in the manufacturing world. That is using quality controls that evaluate the product and its processes against pre-defined standards.

In manufacturing a product you only know if you have a quality product fit for its purpose if you test and evaluate it. Similarly you only know if you have a quality website fit for its purpose, if you evaluate the website.

“That means carrying out a website evaluation
also known as a website audit”

I recently updated two checklists we use during website development, one a web page evaluation checklist, the other a website checklist. The number of aspects to evaluate about a web page has grown to over 170, with another 120 to consider for the overall website.

These design aspects were spread over 12 categories for a webpage and 12 categories for a website and are:

  1. Loading
  2. Navigation and orientation
  3. Functionality
  4. Help and support
  5. Error handling
  6. Visitor control
  7. Visitor language & security
  8. Keeping visitors informed
  9. Consistency
  10. Visual design
  11. Conversion
  12. Search engine optimization

 

Looking good doesn't count much in a Quality Website

In the above list there is only category that deals with website appearance and that’s under “10. Visual design.”

"There’s not a single check that asks if the site looks good"

That’s because appearance counts for only 5 checks out of over 170 for a web page, which makes it largely irrelevant to developing a good quality webpage and website.

Whether you’re a web designer or a website owner
you should be evaluating your website

  • The web designer should carry out a website evaluation as part of the design process to ensure they design and make a website the owner wants.
  • The website owner should do a website evaluation to ensure the web designer has made a website fit for its purpose.

Quality control should be in place and applied.

 

Why do website owners not expect a guarantee ?

A website should not be different to any other product you buy from a manufacturer.

Would you spend even $50 on a new product
and not expect a guarantee ?

"Then why spend $500 on a website and not get a guarantee"

Not only do website owners buy a website without getting a guarantee but they also don’t bother to really evaluate what they just bought.

I strongly advise you to carry out you own design evaluation which you can do by downloading either our web page checklist or website checklist.

Alternatively you can use our online quality calculator to determine a quality rating out of 10.

To your Success
Website Auditor
Tony Simpson
Website Audit Expert

 

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Tony Simpson provides website optimization, conversion improvement and web business advice to site owners.

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