The developer of a well-engineered Web site should prepare a project plan, or follow an existing plan, covering the entire life cycle of the well-engineered Web site, including development, maintenance, and retirement. The well-engineered Web site project plan shall incorporate consideration of the implications of both minimum and maximum Web site life expectancies. The project plan should address Web site maintainability. The plan should address requirements for dates (see 7.4) and contact information (see 4.2.6 for privacy, 5.7 for Webmaster, and 5.11 for site center). Some well-engineered Web pages have as a significant objective the delivery of specific information to individuals who need that information. Well-engineered Web sites shall have an identified set of metrics that can be evaluated. Ease of access to information by targeted-user communities is an example of one of the possible design goals.17

Navigation aids, buttons, user readable body metadata, and other items commonly appearing on multiple well-engineered Web pages should be consistent across the site. The consistency shall include the common look and feel as well as a common location within the well-engineered Web page.18

This recommended practice should be reviewed, in its entirety, during the early part of the design stage to identify all factors that need to be considered for the design, development, and maintenance of a well-engineered Web site. Design shall take into consideration the characteristics of the client and server environment. Failure to do this may interfere with access to the presented material by some of the target-user community.

Plans should include contingencies for technical obsolescence and growth. Test cases shall be designed considering the user interaction with the Web site. Some testing effort shall stress performance and scalability features supported by servers that will be used when the site is in operation. Recommended security practices for connecting to the Internet are being defined in a draft IEEE Standard which currently has a proposed designation of 2002.

These recommended practices for Internet operations are also applicable for Intranets and Extranets. Well-engineered Web site design shall consider the recommended security practices contained in IEEE Project 2002 once it is published as an approved IEEE Standard. If a well-engineered Web site is complex or if it implements interactive functionality, it may be useful to consider it as a software product and to apply appropriate standards for software development and maintenance. Several IEEE standards may be useful in this regard:

a) IEEE/EIA Std 12207.0-1996 [B15] prescribes processes useful throughout the entire software life cycle including development, operations, and maintenance.

b) IEEE/EIA Std 12207.1-1997 [B16] describes minimum data that should be recorded for the purposes of producing documentation.

c) IEEE Std 829-1998 [B4] provides material helpful in test planning, specification, and reporting.

d) IEEE Std 830-1998 [B5].

e) IEEE Std 1016-1998 [B7] provides the necessary information and recommendations for the design description of software.

f) IEEE Std 1028-1997 [B8] explains the conduct of design reviews.

g) IEEE Std 1058-1998 [B9] provides requirements for the management of software projects.

h) IEEE Std 1074-1997 [B10].

i) IEEE Std 1490-1998 [B13]

General requirements

Target-user community

A Web site may address one or more diverse sets of users. Designers shall identify and document one or more targeted user communities. Representatives of these communities, which may include persons with disabilities, should be included in the design process and the ongoing evaluation of the site.

The evaluation shall include the client environments of these target-user communities. Diversity of browsers in use, complementary capabilities (e.g., script, byte code, graphics, etc), and the bandwidth of connectivity shall be included in this environmental evaluation. The target-user community may have a wide diversity of display devices and/or selected presentation formats within the display windows; this may establish some presentation constraints (consider displaying Web pages to pocket devices, etc).

The selection of implementation tools (e.g., servers, generators, and selected “levels” of HTML, CSS, XML, scripting, etc) shall be based on this evaluation of the target-client communities. The site should be monitored to determine changes in client environment that could affect the Web site design. The designer shall document the targeted environment range for the Web site for future reference. It may be advantageous to establish documentation or specifications applicable to the Web pages for an entire network, and encourage or enforce conformance to these.

The documentation shall include statements about the page formats generated, including HTML version (and in some cases excluded functionality), CSS version, XML version and XML DTD(s), graphics formats, scripting and/or byte code executable versions and/or limitations, human-language considerations (as well as character sets), bandwidth considerations, and other characteristics from this recommended practice or as identified during the design phase. The documentation should be updated based on actual experience. Specification in terms of vendor-specific products should be avoided along with the associated loss of product independence