Skip to main content
King County logo

Document Code No.: INF 8-4 (AEP)
Department/Issuing Agency: Information Resource Council
Effective Date: April 18, 1998
Approved: /s/ Paul Tanaka
Type of Action: New

Signed document (PDF, 197 KB)


A standard is an acknowledged measure of comparison for quantitative or qualitative value. It's a criterion that's commonly used and accepted as an authority and conforms to established, educated usage. But most notably a standard sets forth a degree or level of requirement, excellence, or attainment.

For the purposes of this document, a standard is a generic term for a collection of rules and guidelines. Rules require compliance; guidelines should be followed unless you have a good documented reason not to do so. Rules should be audited, guidelines should be monitored (since if no one is following them, they probably shouldn't exist). Every standard here consists of either a rule or guideline.

1.0 PURPOSE:

To establish standards to ensure that King County has a consistent approach for all of its on-line communication, whether for the public or employees. Users who access these sites not only access individual agencies' sites - they tap into the complete, integrated resources of the County's presence on the Web.

2.0 STANDARDS:

2.1 Guideline: County World Wide Web sites should publish content that will be useful to the intended audience. To define the target audience, try asking the following questions:
· What information does the target audience want to receive?

· What information will answer questions or make doing business with the agency easier?

· Is the content in language a user who is unfamiliar with the agency can understand?

· Is the content directly related to the agency's programs and services?

· Has a commitment been made to refresh the site's content on a regular basis to keep users coming back?

· Does the site include links to other King County or government agencies with complementary information?

Example: Generally the target audience for Internet publication is County citizens.

Reason: Identifying the appropriate audience determines the content and presentation of the information.

2.2 Rule: Each County agency will determine who will review and approve content and site design for that agency's World Wide Web site.

Example: Options might be the agency public information officer, the technology manager, or the director.

Reason: It is important that the content of World Wide Web sites be appropriate and reflect the County's and agency's mission.

2.3 Rule: Before publishing a new World Wide Web site on the Internet, test it out on the Intranet.

Reason: The site can be reviewed and tested by agency staff and ITS before it is published on the Internet.

2.4 Rule: All County World Wide Web sites will include the following:

· The name and e-mail address of the person responding to questions about the content of the agency's pages;

· A standard County comment form for users to enter comments and their email addresses;

· The agency's location, phone, fax, and TTY numbers, and hours of business (parking information, directions, accessibility information can also be useful);

· A set of standard graphic elements (provided on the template);

· Descriptive META tags so the site is indexed by search engines correctly.

Example: See metrokc.gov.exec for an example of a County Internet site that conforms to these standards. ITS can provide a template from which to start.

Reason: A common look and feel for all County WWW sites provides a common corporate identity, simplifies use, and decreases development time.

2.5 Guideline: Additional graphics on King County WWW sites should:

· Keep the size of additional graphics under 30 KB, although this is not always possible;

· If a large graphic file must be used, consider making it a separate link and indicate the file size and type next to the link or create a thumbnail of the image.

Example: Put "Map (78 KB.gif)" next to a link to a map graphic.

Reason: Keep your target audience in mind when you make use of graphics. The home user dialing in at 14.4 or 28.8 kbps might have difficulty loading a large graphic file.

2.6 Rule: Each agency must develop a protocol for quick response to questions or comments about its World Wide Web site.

Example: Suggestions are to:
· Designate one or more persons as responsible for responding to WWW email (consider setting up a designated email address that is routed to more than one person).

· Set and publish a response deadline (typically within 24 hours).

· Keep a log of all questions and comments.

Reason: Quick, informative responses to questions make the County's World Wide Web site successful and reflect the County's mission to serve the public.

2.7 Guideline: Alternatives to publishing large documents on the WWW should be carefully considered.

Example: Reports or large documents can be converted to HTML files or to Adobe Acrobat files, or saved in their original formats and made available for download.

Reason: Consider the size of the audience the document will appeal to, the conversion time involved, and the nature of the document when making your decision.

2.8 Rule: Check any files made available for download for viruses before putting them out on the World Wide Web.

Reason: It is possible to spread viruses by putting infected documents out on the World Wide Web.

2.9 Rule: All County Internet web sites must be designed for and use technology that allows for the widest feasible readability.

Example: Web sites must be fully operational and viewable by anyone using the Netscape or Internet Explorer browsers.

Reason: The purpose of the County's web sites is to provide access to County information. They must be accessible by as many people as can be reasonably accomplished.

3.0 DEFINITIONS:

3.1 Internet: a global set of interconnected smaller networks that transfer data between computer applications.

3.2 lntranet: an interconnected network that is separated from the Internet by a firewall, generally internal to an organization

3.3 World Wide Web: a world wide set of documents, software, and the rules to connect them; one of the services offered across the Internet; often abbreviated as WWW.

3.4 Download: to copy and retain computer files.

3.5 World Wide Web Server: a computer that is at least partially dedicated to processing WWW requests; a server that has an Internet application that services HTTP protocol requests.

3.6 META tags: descriptive phrases about WWW sites that are used by WWW search programs when providing search functionality

3.7 Adobe Acrobat: a product supported by Adobe that allows print-formatted files to be published on the World Wide Web

3.8 HTML: a text file containing the content of the WWW page and links to related pages; stands for hypertext markup language

3.9 Firewall: software or hardware that isolates a corporate intranet from the Internet; typically allowing access to the Internet but not allowing users from the Internet access to the intranet.

4.0 REFERENCES:

4.1 King County World Wide Web Publishing Policy

4.2 INF 8-1 (AEP), "Internet and World Wide Web Usage" policy

5.0 KEY WORDS:

5.1 Internet, Intranet, World Wide Web, WWW.

6.0 APPENDICES:

6.1 None.