At the beginning, it was just best practices.
When we created Opquast in 2004, we decided to name the project Open Quality Standards and list quality best practices for websites. After a few months, I realized that the notion of best practices could refer to anything and everything. This is why I published an article (in french) in 2005 to clarify things.
For Opquast, a best practice is not advice, a recommendation, or an opinion. It is a universal rule, useful, documented, without numerical value, which has obtained consensus, which is not bound to a country or a specific law. In short, it is a best practice yes, but in actuality, it is much more. It is now time to take stock of this shortcoming.
Much more than a list of best practices
With the release of the English version, we no longer benefit from the degree of understanding or recognition that we have in the French-speaking market. So when English speakers discover this list of best practices, they can say to themselves, we’ve got a new checklist with 240 tips, that’s nice! But for those who know the background of the project know that it is much more than that.
Opquast offers a list of 240 fundamental, verifiable and universal rules. The 240 rules cover a large number of subjects which are fundamental for users and for the profitability of sites. This covers useful and verifiable fundamentals in terms of accessibility, eco-design, security, respect for privacy, and e-commerce.
These rules describe the potential impact on the user experience (UX), and in particular on the least considered users i.e: disabled, those with poor bandwidth, senior, untrained, illiterate, or for those that may not speak a language well. I am talking about accessibility here and I’m also talking about inclusion. And I’m talking about all of the 240 rules here.
These rules have a potential impact on the ecodesign of sites. And I’m not just talking about the rules that relate exclusively to performance, I’m also talking here about all of the 240 rules. I will definitely come back to this in the coming months.
But what is it then?
These 240 rules are a foundation of quality assurance for the user experience, what Paul Houston – Mr. Sales and Marketing at Opquast – likes to call UX-QA . We’re really going to have to think about this notion, because currently, UX (user experience) is an activity without QA (Quality assurance) and it cannot last. But that’s another topic.
So when Opquast presents you with 240 rules, there are several hundred other tips, or best practices or recommendations that have been rejected because they were not sufficiently sound. We only offer you tried and tested, non-refutable and durable rules, valid if possible for at least 5 years.
As a web provider, these 240 rules are the ones you can explain or oppose to your customers. As a customer, these 240 rules are the ones you can show or even demand from your providers. If you are a student of the web, these are the 240 rules you need to know to claim that you “make the web better”.
The end of Opquast best practices?
I recently spoke with Paul Houston about the difficulty of some of the English-speaking community, who are just discovering, have in understanding the importance and the uniqueness of what we offer, Paul replied that among the reasons for this state of affairs, the notion of best practice was not ideal for explaining what Opquast does. Not only have I decided to agree with him, but I have also made the decision to change the way we are going to talk about this content in the future.
Opquast best practices are not just good practices. They are rules.
You can respect them or not, but you must know them. Every word is discussed. Each element is argued. They are robust, and unless we are mistaken there is no global equivalent to this list of rules (verifiable, transversal, useful, universal, sustainable).
So here’s what we’re going to do:
- We will continue to talk about documented checklists;
- We will continue to talk about the repository;
- We will favour the notion of rules rather than best practices
We will also ensure that these rules are seen as such and not as mere advice or recommendations. This notion of talking about rules was present in some of our English translated content; and so this has given rise to ‘The Opquast rules’ which also looks interesting as OPQUAST RULES😀, and we certainly think the community is doing a wonderful job!
So we are going to follow this up by gradually replacing the notion of best practices in our content with the notion of rules. I think that after almost 20 years of talking about best practices, for quite a while we’re going to be coming across this term. We talk about it a lot in the training, for example, and we will obviously have to make a gradual transition to rules.
So I hope you forgive me for the title of this article, this is not really the end of the Opquast best practices, but the birth of the Opquast rules and the Opquast rules are very much more than just a list of best practices.
Your comments are always welcome.