APPROACHES TO website ownership, development and maintenance differ widely across different companies and over time, dependent on company size and scale of web activity. As soon as website activity extends beyond a core central specialised team, one of the biggest issues to address is maintaining quality.
Where this works best is when a central team retains ownership of quality assurance, to ensure that site integrity and brand compliance are met when maintaining quality standards.
While essential documents to be issued to all contributors should include a comprehensive style guide, technical standards documentation, and user experience standards, these alone will not guarantee that your contributors will be as dedicated as the web team who created the standards and set up the website to maintaining quality. Especially when business drivers may pull in the opposite direction to standards essentially established in a development vacuum, no matter how much they had the aim to serve all future business needs.
The maintaining quality loopThe key to keeping your site on brand and of the highest quality is to ensure that you establish an ongoing process of governance and guidance. After an initial training period to ensure that new contributors are aware of the site goals and standards, a regular feedback loop will ensure that site standards continue to grow with the development of the site and that the site continues to serve often fast-changing company needs. As part of the establishment and launch of any new website in any company, an essential ingredient is a flexible set of metrics that will allow you to measure not only technical site issues but also content and design site issues. Making metrics an essential part of your site development will then allow you to make key performance-driven enhancements as part of your regular cycle of review and compliance.
One way to approach the quality assurance issue is to divide your website into logical sections, by business owner or by subject matter, and to address your attention to each section in turn on a regular rotation.
Having agreed metric targets beforehand will allow your discussion to be as objective as possible, and by incorporating customer feedback and your own expert position, you will be able to agree on the top issues to address and results to action.
A methodical approach like this to maintaining quality on your website will ensure that even as the site gets bigger and more complex over time you will have a robust framework that will allow you to build your own authority and also protect the integrity of your company’s website.
A quality assurance like this won’t mean that all challenges and different thinking about approach from other sections of your company can be met;but it will provide the foundation and correct methodology to meet any challenges with confidence.
How does your company structure ensure that your website always adheres to the highest standards for maintaining quality? Do you have challenges in this area that I could help you with? I have worked in many different companies over the years who have faced and overcome these challenges in various different ways, and would be happy to bring that experience to any quality assurance issues you may have.