Explanation Checklist


Websites need to be maintained as well as developed. Designers of websites need to consider how easy the site will be to add onto and to maintain during its lifetime. One issue involved in maintaining a website is how easy it is to port the site from one server to another. Using relative links within the site make porting easy. Other issues include appropriate chunking of information presented in the site so that sections that need updating frequently can be easily replaced. Organizing a site so that new information can easily be added at the appropriate levels is also important. Website expansion can be accommodated in the original design by careful consideration of the categories used. Care should also be taken when designing images and icons for use on websites. Could another icon be designed that would fit into the current set? Can the image be easily replaced or can additional graphics be easily incorporated into the existing image?

If it is important to the user that the information be timely, a "last updated" message should appear on all pages in the website. The contact person along with their e-mail should also appear if a viewer has a question about the information. If information is updated periodically, it is a good idea to post the update schedule.


Checklist for Maintainability

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The following table contains the checks performed by WebSAT along with the problems that might be caused by failure to provide the indicated html. For more information, see maintainability guidelines.


Html check

Potential problem


Relative links should be used when possible.

WebSAT returns:

# of absolute links on the page.

If links are internal to a site, the use of relative links makes the site easily portable. If links are external, they must be frequently checked to make sure that the link can still be traversed. A good reference on the benefits of relative versus absolute addressing can be found in the course notes on relative addresses. Visit the following sites for more information on designing for maintenance in web sites.


Head information should be given.

WebSAT returns:

A "NO" if the page does not contain a Head tag.

Each page should contain information about who wrote the page and when it was last updated. This information can be useful when another person takes over site maintenance and has questions about specifics in a site. A good reference on the benefits of including the head tag can be found at HTML: Required Tags.


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Page last modified: 15 May 2002
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)