By Élie Sloïm, on 13 January 2021, in Opquast.
This post is intended for English-speaking readers just discovering Opquast and its contents, especially its web quality assurance checklist. To start with, here is a short summary: Opquast is a French company which has two activities: it creates quality assurance checklists under an open CC-BY-SA license and it sells training. In the French-speaking parts of the world, Opquast and the certification is quite well known, but more widely that is not the case currently. We are hoping our growing international team and the recent introduction of the Opquast training and website in English (Spanish coming soon in 2021), will help change that.
Opquast produces checklists under open license, in online workshops with web experts. We have produced several checklists on different topics, but the communities ongoing mission is the Web Quality Assurance checklist. The other checklists (OpenData, GreenIT, performance, Mobile Web are available for download but are now static). The web quality assurance checklist looks at the quality of sites in the broadest sense and therefore covers topics as varied as security, performance, digital accessibility, eco-design, performance, e-commerce etc. For our user focus we rest upon a UX model produced in 2001, which is know as the VPTCS model (Visibility, Perception, Technical, Content and Services).
So to clear something up which may be troubling you: This best practices checklist is genuinely a departure from other somewhat fuzzy and wildly used notions of best practices. When you hear about best practices at Opquast, it corresponds to a very precise definition. It’s not advice, it’s not a recommendation. It is a set of rules that are useful, universal, realistic, verifiable online, and agreed upon by the community. For this, every 5 years, for 3 to 6 months, we discuss each rule online, so there is one forum per rule. The first version dates from 2004, then there were versions in 2010, 2015 and then the recent version of 2020 which includes 240 best practices.
The rules must be irrefutable, and they should be valid for 5 years or as far as possible. Many rules are discarded that do not meet these requirements. To be sure of the relevance and solidity of Opquast’s best practices, we have written 240 supporting sheets (example: Best practice n° 90 – Copy-and-paste is possible in the form’s fields). These 240 sheets present 240 objectives (which prove that they are useful), 240 implementations (which prove that they are realistic) and 240 control means (which prove that they are verifiable).
You now have in hand a list of 240 rules that can guide your design decisions or aid you with convincing your clients of their customer’s requirements. Please note, we do not think you need to respect them all, but we suggest that you are aware of them all, so that you make your decisions according to your means, your requirements and with full knowledge of the facts. Your decisions will have an impact on the users. As a Web professional you must know what best practices will affect them. This is one of the core focuses of our e-learning certification – ‘Mastering Web Quality Assurance’.
So for the Opquast checklist, we’re not claiming that we have the ‘ultimate checklist’, while quite objectively that may be true, we will let you be the judge of that 🙂 . If you, like our community, agree that the continual development of such a checklist is important for the future of the web then we need your help to spread these best practices further afield. Opquast’s work on checklists has been going on for almost 20 years. It has been and continues to be a huge amount of work carried by a growing community. That community can now be extended to include English speakers, Spanish and of course anybody using web translation tools.
Finally, please note that the production of checklists in open license is fully supported and financed by Opquast under its own means. Our work is financed by our commercial activity, which is based on training and certification. Thus, from these checklists, the VPTCS model, a glossary of 260 terms, Opquast created it’s e-learning certification. This training is officially recognized by the French government and we will soon surpass 11,000 certified. If you want to know more, please contact us, we will be delighted to see you join the project and the community.