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.

 

Pre-Launch

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

 

Consistency

 

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

Accessibility

 

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

 

Security/Risk

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

 

Performance

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

 

Post-Launch

Marketing

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

 

Ongoing

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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