E-Commerce Fundamentals (VI) - HTML: Beyond Scripting - As owner of website, how do you ensure quality ?

In this concluding article on HTML, we discuss few precautions and checklists that would help you weed out avoidable mistakes and ensure quality of your web-site.

Whether you design your website yourself or get it done by a skilled designer/consultant - as owner of the website you are ultimately responsible for its success or failure. Website is your face to the world. Your customers may or may not get to see your impressive office or ISO-9000 production facility - but they will certainly see your website and form a first-hand opinion about your company from it. And as we all know, first impression generally lasts the longest.

Amidst technicalities and scripting jargons, we often forget that real work begins only after HTML pages are scripted ! Because, simple mistakes and misspells can convey an extremely negative image about your company not to talk of design glitches. The only way you can avoid such embarrassment is to make sure that your web pages are properly tested before your customers view it.

Testing involves everything from spell-checking your content to tracing each and every link on each individual page to make sure that all the pieces hook together properly.

Once you have checked your work to make sure its mechanically correct and accurate, you need to make sure that your content is being properly communicated. That means interacting with knowledgeable persons within and outside your organization, potential customers etc., soliciting their feedback and then acting on what they have to say.

Following steps guide you through few essential but simple tests that your web pages must go through (there might be more tests required for your particular application).

  1. Run it through spell-checker - Avoid most commonly occurring silly mistakes
  2. Check the grammar and readability. - MS-Word has a very useful feature for checking readability. It even allots readability statistics for comparison.
  3. Test the relative links in the page from your own computer
  4. Run the page through at least two browsers (e.g. Netscape and Internet Explorer) and at least two different display resolutions. Your pages should behave in a uniform manner under different browsers and screen resolutions.
  5. Upload the pages in your web-server and check loading time, outside links and server side applications (CGI, Forms, BBS etc.)
  6. Submit the page's URL to an online HTML validation service. Some of the popular validation services are:

    Website Garage

  7. Show the pages to a select knowledgeable user-group. Solicit feedback and act on what they say.

You may ask 'Why spend so much time in testing ? It's delaying the project' The answer, in a word, is quality. If you want quality web pages, capable of creating positive impression about your organization, testing is a crucial ingredient.

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Source: FAIDA - Newsletter on Business Opportunties from India and Abroad Vol II, Issue 22' November 7' 2001

Author : Dr. Amit K. Chatterjee
(Amit worked in blue-chip Indian and MNCs for 15 years in various capacities like Research and Information Analysis, Market Development, MIS, R&D Information Systems etc. before starting his e-commerce venture in 1997. The views expressed in this columns are of his own. He may be reached at amit@infobanc.com )

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