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Website Quality Control: “Web Checker” Service Release

October 5, 2018

Toshiki Kohie
New Projects Leader
Manager, Quality Control Dept.

On 5 October, we released our “Web Checker” website quality control service. In this Column, I'll introduce this service.

Launching our “Inspection” Service for Client Developed Work

Internally we have our own Quality Control department, which works independently from development divisions, to verify work before delivery to clients. So, in addition to developers individually verifying content, we implement a third-party check process to further reduce the risk of errors in deliverables. In-house we call this "Inspection", and our basic premise is to deliver client work only after it passes Inspection.

Being entrusted by our various clients to create and operate webpages, we've gained much experience in the inspection of websites and related web technologies. In the last financial year alone, in total, we've inspected over 100,000 pages.

To leverage our acquired know-how, we've decided to offer Inspection as a standalone service. To date we've been verifying content developed in-house that is to be delivered to our clients, however, with the release of this service, we now offer bespoke inspection support services for clients who develop their own content as well as perform their own website operations.

Inevitability of Human Errors and the Necessity of Inspection

Webpages, unlike industrial products mass-produced in mechanized manufacturing processes, are assumed to have unique information on each page. However, it's also common to modularize the parts which can be shared across individual pages. Therefore, generally, pages which combine the use of modules with unique information are the most common of present-day webpages.

Working in the creative industries everyone has a unique approach to their work. This means that the occurrence of human error is inevitable in website operation work. For example, if there are typos at the preposition level they may only be minor but such mistakes could make it difficult for some users to clearly understand service content and important announcements. Therefore, with reference to studies on human error, it's important to consider cause analysis and implement preventive measures in the work environment.

Supporting Site Operation through Inspection

The minimum expected quality for webpages is the ability to read text without typos or other errors and that links connect to the intended pages etc. In this service, based on the results of our inspection, we aim to ensure basic website quality.

To prevent webpages from being released with mistakes, as a preventive measure, we conduct inspection after the actual work is completed by the client. Furthermore, by fine-tuning the PDCA cycle based on the results of the inspection, it's possible to extract often occurring errors and mistakes as well as offer workflow improvement feedback.

Consulting on the Development Process

Furthermore, by examining the development process itself, it's also possible to consider preventive measures effective for reducing errors. Regardless of industry, the notion that "quality is built into prior processes" is widespread. Improvements can also be considered by retrospectively reviewing production and operational processes.

For example, from this April, for six months, we offered consulting services to a client with the intention of reducing human error and improving website quality. We learned that in their legacy system only the web director performed in-house checks, from the manuscript formulation stage to publication, because of the need for speedy publishing. Having this director solely responsible for quality control in addition to performing direction duties increased the risk of human errors occurring.

As a countermeasure, we extracted the important information updates and introduced a limited double-checking mechanism. In addition, we introduced a task management tool and prepared a system to compile and feedback the check results. Based on the situation it was assumed that a half-year implementation would be sufficient, however, we also supported the actual operation until it was well under way in order to confirm successful implementation and deal with any initial issues.

A Slice of Cheese

Finally, there is something known as the Swiss Cheese Model which likens risk management to slices of Swiss cheese. For example, cheese slices, as business processes, will contain some holes, or risk areas, however, when layered side-by-side, the holes should be covered by the next slice, or process, thus mitigating risk. However, sometimes there are flaws in each layer, ie. the holes are aligned through multiple slices, or processes, as risks are not mitigated and errors occur. Therefore, it's desirable to arrange the slices (or build up business processes) so that if any holes, they are rather alternated and not aligned.

In maintaining a stable web site operation while guaranteeing basic quality, we hope clients use our web quality management service as an additional slice of cheese. Along with consulting to reduce cheese holes, we're awaiting your order.