1.2 Quality criteria of Web sites
There are some simple objective indicators of the quality of information on Web sites that can help frame general guidelines. For instance, quality can be judged in terms of accuracy, timeliness, usability and retrievability of the contents of a Web site.
The technical accuracy of Web content is the responsibility of the appropriate technical officers, but not all aspects of accuracy require technical knowledge. For instance, correct and consistent citations of sources, statements, names of countries, maps and chronologies, can be ratified without subject knowledge. Editorial accuracy can be achieved in part by following spelling, grammar and style compatible with the FAO House Style guide (and the official translations of key terms found in FAOTERM) and allowing for appropriate proof checking of materials.
Lack of duplication
Duplicating content that can be found elsewhere is not advised. It is recommended to reference the material and provide links to the source/original content.
Timeliness and freshness
Information should be released in a timely manner; for example, annual updates of standards, reports of meetings and monthly disease status or emergency reports should be made available as soon as they are due. All Web sites should show "This page last updated <date>" text or similar. Archives of earlier information can still be made available if the content is deemed valuable, but should be separated to avoid confusion with current information.
The Web site content and interface must be suitable for the intended audience - geographical location, age group, interests, language etc. Layout of pages and forms should be consistent and uncluttered. Text should be easily readable in a Web style with key points early in the text, with further detail available under "more" type links. The system download speed should be as quick as comparable sites accessed from the same location and navigation systems should be intuitive, with a logical flow of tasks across the site or system. Usability can be quantitatively measured in terms of efficiency and effectiveness with which users can achieve tasks in a particular environment.
Site management should ensure that the Web site contains relevant metadata so that it is retrievable (findable) through the FAO Web site and main Internet search engines. In addition, ensure that there are links to the site by other sites of interest to target users. All of these things can be measured objectively/quantified.
This quality criterion applies to the underlying technology. The Web site's, or system's, must be compatible with common computer configurations - in terms of memory, processor and operating systems, as well as browser versions. For information about the current coding standards, contact CIO.