# Slide 2
As Opquast is all about web quality, before speaking about Opquast it is useful to define what is web quality first.
# Slide 3
If we ask to someone what is a quality website, people generally answer it has to be beautiful, ergonomic, fast, etc.
In a way this is true but it has actually no sense.
Beautiful, well, performant are subjective words and everyone has his own vision of what it means.
Moreover, this is impossible to not having some defaults on a site, there will always be some.
With that in mind, how can we define quality in a meaningful way?
# Slide 4
What we need is to find a way to objectively control web quality.
Basically, the idea is to find tools and methodologies to apply quality assurance as it exists in any industry. Because the web is an industry.
Anyway, this is to answer to this need that Opquast is born.
Opquast means Open Quality Standard and it started in the early ages of the web, in 1999, on a forum where some web professionals created a directory to list resources dedicated to quality practices in development.
In 2004, they published a first best practices checklist and put a definition of what means "web quality".
I'm going to give you more details on all this but this is a truly unique project in the world even today, and it all started more than 20 years ago!
For a long time it was available in French only but they're beginning to go international since last year, with English to start (and they are currently developing Spanish too)
# Slide 5
So here is how "web quality" has been defined by Opquast in 2004:
"Web quality represents the ability of an online service to satisfy explicit or implicit requirements"
The important thing here is that the focus is put on the user's needs.
We must understand the expectations of the users as they formulate them, but also those they are not necessarily able to express.
This also means that as conceptors of online services, we must ensure how to give to the users what they need on our sites or applications.
# Slide 6
Beyond the definition of web quality, there is an other thing Opquast founders has defined in 2001: the VPTCS model, which highlight the multidisciplinarity of the web.
# Slide 7
VPTCS summarizes all user requirements under 5 categories that gave its name to the model:
- V for Visibility
- P for Perception
- T for Technical
- C for Contents
- S for Services
Each on of them corresponds to a user requirement.
By meeting each of these 5 needs, we can guarantee the quality level of a website.
# Slide 8
From a conception point of view, the model also highlight the skills and competencies required to create a website or un application.
# Slide 9
Finally the model covers the whole user experience.
Contents and services represent the reason why we use a site.
Visibility, perception and technical represent how we use the site.
The model also covers the timeline of user interaction with any online service.
Visibility represents the phase before the visit. Perception, technical and contents represent the phase during which the site is used. And finally the services represent the phase after the visit.
Last but not least, it is highlighting the phase during which user interacts with the interface. So as the global experience with the site, from a search in Google to the delivery of an order at home for instance.
# Slide 10
Now we have a global of what is hidden behind "web quality", let's see how we do to manage it.
# Slide 11
As we have already seen, there are lots of topic to deal with when we talk about a website or application.
For each one of those topic, we can reach a certain level of excellence, which is represented by these pyramids.
But we could do what we want, we will never be able to be reach excellence for every topics. It's impossible, just because there are some criteria from a topic which can be conflictual for an other topic.
The alt attribute is a perfect example of the the type of conflicts we can face. From an SEO perspective, the ideal would be to insert a value in it for every image so we maximize keywords for search indexes. But from an accessibility perspective, we must not put a value at every time. There are many case where the attribute must be empty.
But if we can not reach an excellent level for all the topics, we can get a minimal level solid enough to ensure the quality of a website. This is the Opquast approach
# Slide 12
This is where the best practices appear. Following the work on VPTCS model, a first checklist of best practices has been published in 2004.
Those best practices have been defined by a various number of professionals in the French web community and are shared under Creative Commons.
So anyone can use and share them. The only condition is to quote the authors.
It is also important to say that the checklist is updated over time. Because practices, technologies and tools evolve over time too.
Checklist are updated approximately every 5 years and we are actually at the fourth version, which came out last year and contains 240 rules.
Rules are grouped under different topics so we can easily limit the rules to work with.
For instance, if we manage a blog, we can ignore all rules under E-commerce topic.
# Slide 13
So far I talk about best practices and rules but this is still quite vague. So let's see what is a rule exactly, according to Opquast.
A rule, to be considered as one, must strictly follow some requirements. If only one of these requirements is not reached, so we can not talk about a rule.
First, the rule must be useful for users.
For instance there is a rule saying that information must not be conveyed only by color. This rule is useful for people with daltonism because they can totally miss an information if it is only conveyed by color.
The rule must be realistic.
This means that we can apply it to any kind of site or application.
For instance we could not have a rule saying the site must be in two languages because there are lot of sites that don't need to be in more than one language. Or we could not have a rule depending on a specific technology.
The rule must also be verifiable.
We must be able to measure and control it without any difficulty. This is related to the technical ability to control it obviously. But this is also about the ability to clearly check if yes or no the rule is applied. For instance, if we have a rule saying "the site must have a 404 and a 403 error pages", this is not a valid rule because it contains two conditions. So we can't verify it for sure.
An other important criteria is that a rule must be universal.
This means that a rule can not depend on a language, a culture or reading direction. It must be applicable in any context.
For instance, we can't have a rule that depends on some local law because it is by definition local.
Finally, a rule must agreed upon by the community.
This is a direct legacy of the community foundations of Opquast. If any of the professionals who work on the rules propositions disagree on any point of a proposition, so it can't be defined as a rule. It has to be reviewed and reworked until every participant agree, or it has to be dropped.
So as mentioned earlier, there are 240 rules in the current checklist, and each one of them exist because it follows these requirements.
# Slide 14
To make it more clear, here is an example of a rule.
So rule has a clear title: "Copy-and-paste is possible in the form's fields"
And each rule is structured this way.
A goal which explains how the rule is useful for users.
The implementation details explaining how the rule can be applied.
And finally it details how we can control it.
So this one rule and there are 239 other rules like this one!
# Slide 15
All this is pretty cool, but how do we do you may ask?
# Slide 16
To me, the most useful thing is to make the certification.
The main interest is to get a shared knowledge across the whole team and to improve everyone's skills.
It allows us to master best practices and take wise decisions knowing all constraints and risks.
I've made it almost 3 years ago, and even if I was following Opquast project for something like 10 years now, I have learned a lot while preparing this certification. It is really a must have!
It costs 250 € and gives access to an online training platform with lot of contents to read or watch, so as quiz and various training to prepare the final exam.
The exam is a multiple choice question with 125 questions to answer in 1 hour and a half.
Once done, we get a notation from 0 to 1000, with defined level of expertise starting 500 points.
And we get a certificate valid for 5 years.
# Slide 17
Beyond the certification, we can use Opquast checklist as a base for continuous improvement.
We indeed could start by selecting what we think are the most important rules to apply them. Then the more we're mastering rules, the more we can add new rules to follow, step by step.
We also can build and define our own criteria and rules.
And most importantly we should share good practices with other teams and why not invite them to make the certification too!
As we have seen the Opquast rules are applied to all skills and competencies of web projects so it can be very useful to involve all profiles we work with.
The more we share, the more we'll improve quality.
# Slide 18
Thank you for listening!