In the third of his series on construction industry websites, Martin Hornagold turns his attention to surveyors and again finds that they are failing basic tests

The third group to have its websites tested are surveyors. Like the other groups, there is a trend of poor accessibility and coding standards.

Although almost 90% of pages passed functional tests, only half passed mandatory accessibility requirements and less than 2% passed recommended accessibility requirements. Eight failed both mandatory and recommended accessibility requirements on every page. Less than 30% of pages passed coding standards and one site had 29,472 code standard failures. Five were dependent on Flash or JavaScript, which are not accessible to all users and so were not tested.

It is clear that time and effort has gone into developing these sites, yet some still fail basic tests. Let’s have a look at the top surveyor’s site, for example – www.wtpartnership.com. This scored 10 out of 10 for functional and code standard tests, seven for performance and six for accessibility. These seem like good scores, yet the site fails one basic test: if you increase the font size in Internet Explorer 7, some of the words wrap over each other, which makes them difficult to read and means some links cannot be opened.

In the article “What users want” (15 February, page 98) we questioned whether websites are tested from a user’s perspective. Following on from that, do companies know what testing criteria their sites should pass?

The software industry has always admired the construction sector for its mature processes, best practice and quality assurance procedures. Any building project will have a set of acceptance criteria to protect the client’s interests. The same should apply to website development.