I was doing some late night research (what else is new?) and came across a very useful post by Carsten Cumbrowski, born in Germany, now living in California, specializing in website development and internet marketing.
This is a great overall check list that you should review prior to designing a website, and then again, prior to making your website live (to make sure that you did not miss anything). Even bouncing this list by your web designer/developer (hopefully its DIF Design) will be helpful. Its a good way to set goals and to follow through with them. So, thanks to Carsten, we have the following list.
Now, some of the points might now apply to you or might be to technical, either way, take a look for yourself.
- Is content structurally separate from navigational elements?
- Is the website cross-browser compatible?
- How compliant is the website with W3C coding standards? Valid HTML/CSS?
- Are ‘alt’ tags in place on all significant images?
- Are text-based alternatives in place to convey essential information if this is featured within images or multimedia files?
- Are links labeled with anchor text that provides a clear indication of where they lead.
- Depth – what is the maximum number of clicks it takes to reach a page within the depths of the site?
- Responsive on Click feedback – Is a response given immediately (0.1 seconds) after a click is made on a hyperlink?
- Do clickable items stylistically indicate that they are clickable?
- How intuitive is it to navigate? Are signs obvious or obscured? Buttons/Links Like Text, that are not clickable and vice versa, links/buttons that cannot be identified as such
- readability (somewhat addressed already), type face, font size
- clear statement of PURPOSE of the site? Purpose must become clear within a few seconds without reading much or no text copy at all.
- Call to action on every page, no dead ends
- Is a logical site map available?, If not, is a keyword-based search feature available? Note: Large (multi-thousands of pages) sites should have a search form.
- Is the site’s design aesthetically appealing?
- Are the colors used harmonious and logically related?
- Are the color choices visually accessible? (For example high enough in contrast to assist the colorblind and visually impaired in reading the site appropriately)
- Is the design audience appropriate?- The standard text size should be readable, for visitors who don’t know how to adjust their browsers.
- The fonts should be easily readable, and degrade gracefully.- Should look OK on various screen resolutions.
- Is the website copy succinct but informative?
- Does the copywriting style suit the website’s purpose and ’speak’ to its target audience?
- Are bodies of text constrained to <80 characters per line?
- Can text be resized through the browser or do CSS settings restrict size alteration?
- Is the contrast between text and its background color sufficient to make reading easy on the eyes?
- Is text broken into small, readable chunks and highlighted using headings, sub-headings and emphasis features where appropriate to assist in skimming?
- Within articles, there should be links to more detailed explanations of subjects, or definitions of jargon terms. Are you doing that?
- Do you have an “about page” that identifies the author of the content, credits to source for content that was not written by the site owner himself
- Do you have testimonials and publish them on the site?
- Do you update the content regularly and don’t live by the phrase “set it and forget it”?
- Any obvious security flaws?
- How resilient are forms to special characters?
- Private directories password protected via .htaccess?
- Are public non-document directories (cgi-bin, images, etc) index able or are blank index.html pages or appropriate permission settings in place to block access?
- Is customer data stored online? If so, is this database appropriately safeguarded against external access?
Other Technical Considerations
- Does the site load quickly – even for dialup users?
- Are all links (internal and external) valid and active?
- Are scripts free from errors?
- Is the website free from server side errors?
Other Marketing Considerations
- Is the website properly optimized for search engines (essential text emphasized, title tags relevant, title text presented in H1, outbound links reliable and contextually related, etc)
- Does the index page entice a visitor deeper into the site or shopping cart?
- Does the website contain elements designed to encourage future or viral visitation (i.e. a contest, newsletter, tell-a-friend feature, and forum with subscription option, downloadable toolbar, RSS feed or similar)? – Different Title for every page that start (or at least have it as 2nd or 3rd word) with the single most relevant key phrase that describes the content or function of the page the best. (if you have to explain what the page is for and can only use 1-3 words as Keyword or Phrase, what would it be?)
- Robots.txt configured?
- Site Map available?
- Is every individual page only accessible via a single URL or are several URLs available (and worse, used) to access the same page? Duplicate Content Issue, Canonical URLs.
- Contact Page with Real Address, Phone Number (Toll Free for Business) and Contact Form or Email available, basically a clear and easy to use feedback/contact mechanism? A visitor might not assume [email protected] or you might want them to write elsewhere, or you might prefer to give them a form to structure their communications.
Feel free to add to the list by leaving a comment.