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Requirements & Guidelines: The Framework of Requirements and Checks

The principal can use the requirements when ordering the construction of a website. This way the principal specifies precisely what he expects of the website. The contractor receives a clear specification of what the principal expects of the website, and will have to take this into account during the design and realisation of the website. During acceptance of the website the Framework of Requirements and Checks can be used as a means of assessing the website.

The Evaluation section introduces the checking method based on the Framework of Requirements and Checks, which can support this process. This can be used to improve the quality of issuing an assignment and reduce or prevent unpleasant surprises when the website is delivered.

Aspects of accessibility and sustainability versus quality criteria

The framework is based on a selection of aspects that describe sustainable accessibility as well as quality criteria. With regard to the sustainability aspects, a distinction is made between the concept of information and the applications with which the information is made available. In addition, the archiving aspect pays attention to storage and access in the long term. Furthermore, there is an architectural aspect which considers the composition and connection between the aspects mentioned and the underlying information system.

Together these aspects form the properties according to which accessibility is checked. Detailed aspects are then defined for each aspect to further define the information, publication, archiving and architectural aspects.

The quality criteria then indicate about which area we can say something concerning sustainable accessibility of websites. These are criteria defined by the user (visitor to the website) as well as the administrator/principal. The criteria can be categorised as accessibility and sustainability. Accessibility is further divided into availability, reachability, understandability and usability. Sustainability is divided into robustness and maintainability.

This way the different aspects of sustainability can be systematically checked according to various qualitative standards. The different requirements for sustainable accessibility can be derived from this. For a detailed substantiation of the framework, please refer to the research.

Organising the sustainable accessibility aspects in relation to the quality criteria results in a framework in which to place the requirements for achieving a sustainable accessible website.

Sustainable accessibility requirements are specified in the framework. These requirements were drawn up on the basis of the WCAG 1.0 guidelines, supplemented with specific requirements concerning sustainable accessibility of government information. These requirements are concentrated mainly on the information and publication aspect, defined from the various quality criteria. This part of the framework gives an important initial impetus to the specification of sustainable accessibility requirements.

The requirements as stated in the framework are directly related to the guidelines as defined in the chapter development. Where the requirements support the principal, the guidelines help the contractor in the realisation of the requirements. The guidelines contain concrete instructions concerning how a requirement should be interpreted, and simultaneously provide a further concrete definition of the requirements. The guidelines regularly refer to the use of certain technologies. Therefore, the guidelines can be expected to have a limited shelf life; after all, technologies are regularly replaced by others. Because the requirements have a more general nature, they are not expected to become outdated as quickly, and instead defined with other guidelines.

Furthermore, the requirements in the framework are used as the basis for the framework of checks as introduced in the evaluation chapter. The purpose of these checks is to verify whether the requirements as defined in the assignment have been realised. A check is defined for each requirement in the framework. The principal can use these checks to verify whether the accompanying requirement has been realised.

Before a complete specification of requirements for sustainable accessibility can be achieved, requirements will be needed for the missing section. These requirements will be defined at a later stage. This will result in a completely defined framework of requirements which the principal can use when specifying an assignment for the realisation of a sustainable accessible website.


Web Guidelines version 1.3, November 2007.