Thursday 16 May 2013

Defining 'web-ready' content

The green light.
Photo by lovesonic on flickr,
and used under creative commons
You should not - cannot - blindly accept every request to publish. Web teams act as guardians and gatekeepers to ensure only high quality content that makes sense in the broader organisational context is published online.

For me, ‘web-ready’ means:   
  • If there are PR implications to publication of this information, it has been cleared with the relevant communications or press office lead, and appropriate arrangements for post-publication publicity have been made.
  • The website is the most appropriate place for this to be published (rather than, say, the intranet,  or a newsletter).
  • The content is yours to publish. Who wrote it, and who owns the copyright? Is it already available on another site you can link to? And if yours is an official website, such as that of a government organisation, an additional factor might be whether your organisation or department is obliged to publish this information. If not, why are you publishing it?
  • Any technical content (clinical or scientific, for example) has already been checked by the appropriate expert or authority.
  • Written to house style, with correct spelling, punctuation and grammar.
  • If it is a publication or designed document, it conforms to branding policies, and ‘gateway’ requirements if your organisation has them (a series of checks performed by your publications or communications team, that may result in the issuing of a unique code or publication number).
  • If it is a webpage, a suitable page template has been followed and a location for the content has been identified in the website structure.
  • The content is accessible – for example, all images have appropriate alt text.
  • Any supporting information, such as author details for metadata fields, has been supplied.
  • There is a plan in place for keeping the information reviewed and updated, where appropriate, and a contact for any queries that arise after publication.
These checks can become second nature over time, but every now and again it's worth reminding yourself - and the people supplying content - about what you should be checking for and why.

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