A solid web design checklist.

images11Checklists, checklists, checklists, can you ever have enough?  We all know that websites are complex beasts, full of complexities and things that can go wrong.  So it is always nice when somebody, or a few some bodies, try and come up with the ultimate pre-launch website check list. 


That is exactly what box.com are trying to do, and are welcoming feedback at their site.  So why not take a look, and better still implement it.  This will be especially useful if you’re planning to launch a website soon.



Content and Style

Typography and layout


Check for incorrect punctuation marks, particularly apostrophes, quotation marks and hyphens/dashes


Check headings for where you could potentially use ligatures


Check for widow/orphan terms in important paragraphs


Spelling and grammar




Capitalization (especially of main headings)


Tense/Style of writing


Recurring/common phrases (e.g. ‘More about X’ links)


Variations in words (e.g. Websites vs. Web Sites, or UK vs. US spelling)


Treatment of bulleted lists (e.g. periods or commas at end of each item)


Check for hard-coded links to staging domain (i.e. ensure all links will change to ‘live’ URL/domain when site is launched)


Ensure no test content on site


Check how important pages (e.g. content items) print


For re-designs, ensure important old/existing URLs are redirected to relevant new URLs, if the URL scheme is changing


Check all ‘Hidden Copy’ (e.g. alt text, transcriptions, text in JavaScript functions)


Standards and Validation



HTML validation


JavaScript validation


CSS validation


Search Engine Visibility, SEO and Metrics

Page Titles are important; ensure they make sense and have relevant keywords in them.


Create metadata descriptions for important pages.


Check for canonical domain issues (e.g. variations in links to http://site.com http://www.site.com http://www.site.com/index.html should be reduced to a single consistent style)


Ensure content is marked-up semantically/correctly (<h1>, etc.)


Check for target keyword usage in general content


Check format (user/search engine friendliness) of URLs


Set up Analytics, FeedBurner, and any other packages for measuring ongoing success


Create an XML Sitemap


Configure Google Webmaster Console and Yahoo! Site Explorer


Functional Testing

Check all bespoke/complex functionality


Check search functionality (including relevance of results)


Check on common variations of browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Chrome etc.), version (6, 7, 2.2, 3.1 etc.) and platform (Windows, OSX, Linux)


Check on common variations of Screen Resolution


Test all forms (e.g. contact us, blog comments), including anti-spam features, response emails/text, etc.


Test without JavaScript, Flash, and other plug-ins


Check all external links are valid



Configure backup schedule, and test recovery from backup.


Protect any sensitive pages (e.g. administration area)


Use robots.txt where necessary


Security/Penetration test


Turn-off verbose error reporting


Check disk space/capacity


Set-up email/SMS monitoring/alerts (e.g. for errors, server warnings); consider internal and external monitoring services



Load test


Check image optimization


Check and implement caching where necessary


Check total page size/download time


Minify/compress static (JavaScript/HTML/CSS) files


Optimize your CSS: use short image paths; make full-use ‘cascading’ nature of CSS, etc.


Check correct database indexing


Check configuration at every level (Web server, Database, any other software e.g. Content Management System)


Configure server-based logging/measurement tools (e.g. database/web server logging)


Finishing Touches

Create custom 404/error pages


Create a favicon




Social Marketing: Twitter, LinkedIn, Digg, Facebook, Stumbleupon, etc.


Submit to search engines


Set-up PPC/Google Adwords where necessary


Check formatting of site results in SERPs



Monitor and respond to feedback (direct feedback, on Social Media sites, check for chatter through Google, etc.)


Check analytics for problems, popular pages etc. and adjust as necessary


Update content




As you can see this solid web design checklist, is comprehensive and relevant.  If you think of anymore, leave your comments below or tell box.com.  We’d both like to hear your views.

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