- Publication date: 7 november 2019
- Due Date: 13 December
- Project Management:
Mercier, Head of W3C Marketing & Communications
- Access level:
- This document is public; the work will be conducted in the
The W3C is accepting proposals from outside vendors to
redesign the existing W3C website
current website was redesigned in 2008, moving to a responsive
layout, revised architecture and a custom CMS. Now over 10 years
old, the website is showing its age. W3C is looking to
incrementally redesign its Website and revise the information
architecture, to show the world who we are
and what we offer, to improve the organization and usability of
the website for key audiences, communicate the W3C brand more
effectively, and motivate people to participate in the
1.2 About the W3C
W3C celebrated its 25th anniversary last October. The W3C’s
mission is to lead the World Wide Web to its full potential by
developing protocols and guidelines that ensure the long-term
growth of the Web. The social value of the Web is that it
enables human communication, commerce, and opportunities to
share knowledge. One of W3C's primary goals is to make these
benefits available to all people, whatever their hardware,
software, network infrastructure, device, native language,
culture, geographical location, or physical or mental
ability. W3C's standards define key parts of what
makes the World Wide Web work.
W3C does not have a single physical headquarters and staff
members are distributed around the world. There are four
institutions that "host" W3C: MIT (in Cambridge, MA, USA), ERCIM
(in Sophia-Antipolis, France), Keio University (in Tokyo,
Japan), and Beihang University (in Beijing, China).
2.1 Why are we doing this?
- Our website is supposed to show the world who we are and
what we offer (note: our website generates awareness, is
informational for potential new Members or participants, is a
tool for active participants, but is NOT a primary driver of
- The website is well-designed but
- Is hard to navigate
- Is out-dated in look and not consistently responsive
- Has too much content that is unsorted
- Lacks a cohesive look
- 75% of people judge a business by its website
- W3C plans to launch as its own Legal Entity in 2021
- Solidify brand authority, consistent design, uniform
- Create an engaging and easy to navigate experience
- Increase engagement (Members to join) and funding
(crowdsourcing) (Join/Donate buttons)
- Ability to re-use redesign (to expand to other phases);
enable us to evolve the style guide to cater for new needs &
usages; likewise empowers us to make the information
architecture evolve based on new themes, priorities
- Optimize (layout, tooling) to make content that meets user
needs (content design)
- Optimize presentation, then archive redundant/stale
content (inventory of the current content / URL Mapping and
- Simpler and robust editing/maintenance (we expect the
markup+style to be as simple/minimal as possible, and easy to
understand and update over time)
- Create a long-lasting partnership with a web design agency
to continue to work with us as our needs and organization
3. Project purpose
The current website was implemented ten years ago and the
organization has determined that it is not as effective in
supporting the W3C’s mission and goals as it could be.
W3C explored a redesign in 2014 but that project was not
fulfilled. We are building on the research conducted by the
W3C’s ‘2013 Headlights Redesign Task Force’ that identified key
audiences, collected usage patterns (via site analytics) and
user feedback (via a 30 question user survey) in order to craft
a new vision for the website. The research supported anecdotal
evidence that the website navigation is often unintuitive,
useful/important information is difficult to find, and designs
are cluttered and inconsistent.
W3C believes that by implementing current web best
practices and technologies, revising the information
architecture, creating a content strategy and revamping the
visual design, we can provide our audiences with the best
information in a more user-friendly fashion, motivate
participation in the organization, and communicate the nature
and impact of the W3C more effectively.
The outcomes of the W3C’s 2013 Headlights Redesign Task Force
research can be viewed at
Matomo (1) September 2019: https://www.w3.org/2019/10/export-page-urls-september-2019.xlsx
Web stats for www.w3.org, 2019 W41: https://www.w3.org/2019/10/export-week-traffic-2019-W41.html
(1) People who block JS or who have enabled DNT are not taken into account by Matomo.
3.3 Key audiences & benefits
||Benefits of redesign to audience
||Impact on W3C
|Web developers & designers
||Get work done more easily; learn more about W3C's many activities; find useful materials that already exist
||Increase feedback, participation, relevance
|C-level decision makers
||Learn about the value of Web, Membership
||Increase visibility in new industries, generate more interest in W3C work
||Increased participation and satisfaction by Members
||Lower cost of managing group operations
||Improve participant experience across groups
||New resources for business development
4. Project scope
W3C wants to proceed in several phases. The first phase is a
subset of the public-facing pages that are the most
- Website homepage
- Primary navigation targets (2):
- W3C Blog
- Vertical industries landing pages
- Public Work Groups homepages (ala IETF data tracker)
- /TR homepage (only the frame)
- Account pages (request, my profile () (and its edit
- Others as determined by information architecture
(2) The four primary categories we have today
may be artifacts of the current design. We should clearly
identify who the targets for the site are and then determine
what that means from an architectural perspective.
(3) This page is not public-facing but the
public account pages lead to it, hence it’s in scope.
The design chosen for Phase I needs to look at the rest of
the site, so we don’t run any risk that Phase I will not scale
well to cover the expectations for the rest of the site.
Future phases: Member and team spaces, internal
(non-restricted) Work Groups homepages, specifications template,
mailing lists archives, W3C Community Groups and Business
Groups, wikis, blogs.
- HTML5, WCAG 2.1, ideally Level AAA (level AA as a
minimum), standards compliance
- Consistently responsive: mobile first, then desktop
- Modern best practices and simple, maintainable markup and
- Device-independence, reusability (i.e., semantically rich
and machine-readable, future-proof)
URI persistence policy
- Performance must be as good as or better than the current
- Integrates with existing W3C-maintained back-end services
(e.g. database of groups and participants, …)
- Testing throughout the process
- Support for bidi (content and navigation)
- Provide advice on a modern replacement for the custom CMS
used for the current site
- We need a CMS that is long-lived and easy to maintain,
because we run our systems for decades.
- Full change histories identifying who made each
- The CMS may need to enable collaborative editing
- Willingness to work in the open: to publish and explain
your work as it is completed in phases and collect and accept
Bids should include cost estimates for the services W3C is
seeking outside vendors for:
- User research (4) (ideally including participants with disabilities)
- Information Architecture / wireframes (New website infrastructure)
- Having in mind the user-security architecture
- Visual Design
- Adopt, or define & draft a website governance
document / project specification / design system
- Mobile/responsive design
- Style sheets and templates
- Organic SEO
- Search strategy
- Content strategy
- Content migration
- Multilingual site, language negotiation (e.g., Accept-Language
header in combination with page links to alternate languages, and
'sticky' content negotiation techniques)
- Browser & Device Testing, Usability testing (Ideally
including participants with disabilities. We have resources
for that, including
- Advice on software (e.g. CMS, analytics --Matomo is being
used; preferably open-source)
- Migration strategy
- Advice on how to maintain accessibility
needs of W3C
- MFA (ideally with webauthn) infrastructure for Member and
- Project Management
- Maintenance and future collaboration
(4) The 2013 user research provides some
elements, but it was conducted on 35 persons and is
probably not sufficiently representative.
W3C will provide:
- Oversight team
- W3C Systems team: feedback on information architecture and
handling of legacy content, back-end integration (around 1.5
- W3C Web design task-force: consultation (as needed; up to
0.50 Full-Time Equivalent)
- Accessibility expert analysis (from W3C and Tetralogical
staff in a limited fashion)
- Draft W3C style guide
- November 2019
- 7 - Announcement of the RFP
- 7-29 Open Questions and Answers period (Directed
- December 2019
- 13 - Bids due no later than 1700 UTC
- January 2020
- 10 - Project awarded & notification sent to all
bidders by 1500 UTC
Project initial timeline
The vendor is expected to propose a timeline which makes
clear what the phases are and what the process is to accept
feedback from the W3C community (website team, Communications
team, Systems team, W3C management, W3C team, W3C Advisory
Board, broader W3C Community).
We have an ambitious schedule. In responding to
this RFP, bidders
are asked to balance the target schedule, completeness, and
quality - and identify trade offs where the tight schedule
could impact completeness or quality.
The following milestones are upcoming opportunities on the
- January 2020
- Kick-off meeting: planning begins, approve work items,
- March 2020
- Update W3C management, W3C Advisory Board, W3C Team
- May 2020
- W3C Advisory Committee Meeting update
- June 2020
- Proposed Drop-dead date (no new concepts/functionality
- Update W3C management, W3C Advisory Board, W3C Team
- July 2020
- Alpha site launch (internal/private)
- August 2020
- Beta site launch?
- October 2020
- TPAC 2020: W3C Advisory Committee Meeting update
- December 2020
- Launch site
guidelines & evaluation criteria
Please submit a written proposal to Coralie Mercier by e-mail
December 2019 1700 UTC.
Note: all proposals will become available for public viewing
but costs figures and schedules you wish to keep confidential may be submitted
as separate attachments
to Coralie Mercier.
Bidders need to include line items, rates, resources,
expenses, estimate vs. cap. Please, itemize to explain how your
fees break out for each aspect requested in this RFP.
Copyright: The contractor agrees to assign to W3C all rights,
title, and interest, including copyright, in all data,
intellectual property, and copyrightable information developed
by the contractor in performance of this project.
W3C will evaluate all proposals based on the following criteria:
- Overall proposal suitability: Proposed solution(s) must
meet the scope, requirements and needs included herein and be
presented in a clear and organized manner.
- Organizational Experience: Bidders will be evaluated on
their experience as it pertains to the scope of this
- Previous work: Bidders will be evaluated on examples of
their work, notably, bidders must have a demonstrable ability
to produce accessible websites.
- Value and cost: Bidders will be evaluated on the cost of
their solution(s) based on the work to be performed in
accordance with the scope of this project
- Technical expertise and experience: Bidders must provide
descriptions and documentation of staff technical expertise
Language: English must be used for proposals and milestone
publications. As the project managers are French native
speakers, some meetings can be conducted in French upon
7. Frequently Asked
- 1. Can firms outside of the W3C Hosts countries apply?
- 2. Is there any fixed budget?
- The average cost estimate of $200,000 is based on figures
given by people who are in the ecosystem. We would like
vendors to propose what they recommend even if it exceeds
From the RFP, please note the paragraph “We
have an ambitious schedule. In responding to this RFP,
bidders are asked to balance the target schedule,
completeness, and quality - and identify trade offs where
the tight schedule could impact completeness or quality.”
- 3. Why isn't the W3C team redesigning its website?
- We do not have the skills or mandate. The W3C team helps
coordinate W3C work groups in creating specifications for the
Open Web Platform that progress on the W3C Recommendation
track, or manages the execution of the W3C Process Document
and operations of the Consortium.
- 4. Why was the 2014 redesign not fulfilled?
- The funding for this project had to be prioritized
elsewhere. Today we plan to become an own legal entity in 2021 and
that further motivates the redesign project.
We have needed a
redesign for many years and the upcoming relaunch as our own legal
entity provides us with an anchor in time for when to have
accomplished a visible (phase 1) redesign of our website.
- 5. How is the W3C website hosted?
- We host the website ourselves. However, we intend to move
our infrastructure to the cloud.
- 6. Can you describe the current CMS?
- Our current website relies on a solution developed
in-house in 2008 that aggregates HTML fragments coming from
different sources (Wordpress, Symfony, manually maintained
files, in-house tools, etc.).
- 7. Do you have any preference in terms of CMS?
- The CMS does not need to be custom.
We are open to
tools and platforms advice by vendors and our Systems team
can handle implementation
It would be nice if the CMS
provided a way to integrate data from various sources
without requiring us to customize said sources.
have a strong preference for Open Source technologies that
are standard based.
Unlimited data versioning would be
- 8. How well structured are the content models in your
existing CMS, or does this just require a complete review as
part of this project?
- A large amount of our content is not well structured and
we believe it would need a complete review.
- 9. What are the W3C-maintained backend services? How many
are there? What do they do?
- We have plenty but they are all interconnected. Those have
been developed internally and are also maintained internally
by our Systems Team. They are almost all (re)written in PHP
using the Symfony platform.
- The main backend services relate to:
- User and account management (authentication and rights)
- W3C Membership (Membership application, organization details, contracts, basic financial reports)
- Work groups (join/leave a group, display group info and participants)
- W3C Specifications
- Management of W3C news items (using WordPress)
- 10. Is the aim to merge all different language sites into
- Perhaps. We are open to suggestions from the vendor.
- 11. How many content administrators are there expected to
be within your organization after the site launch?
- The W3C staff amounts to 50 or so people and today
everyone more or less has write access, but not everyone
contributes equally. We are aiming to limit this to
e.g. Marketing & Communications team, Business Development
team, Systems team.
- 12. What is the expertise of the W3C Systems team?
- Our Systems team has a strong technical expertise in PHP
(WordPress CMS and Symfony framework) and APIs for our
NodeJS. We have 25 years of legacy site that this team has
managed well. The Systems team's experience is strong at the
infrastructure level. Importing old content and moving XML
and other files can be done in-house.
Vendors should not
worry about details regarding handling the legacy site.
- 13. How is the legacy website being preserved?
- The current W3C website static content is under version
control (CVS) and is also under backup.
We anticipate that
this soon to be legacy site will need to coexist (in a more or
less frozen version) with the new site and that the W3C
Systems team will handle the implementation of this
- 14. Are there existing Branding guidelines?
- There is a draft W3C style guide.
It aims to be a
comprehensive place that compiles, and keeps all of the
essential aspects that pertain to the W3C style. Its sources
include documents and guidelines there were written by Tim
Berners-Lee at the start of the Consortium 25 years ago,
graphical elements of the W3C brand, our manual of written
style for specifications, best practices for CSS, HTML,
etc. It also currently includes a number of additions that are
opinions and preferences of its author (Bert Bos, co-inventor
of CSS and W3C Staff member).
Note: That document has
gotten limited internal review due to its “draft” nature and
due to limited bandwidth and the lack of a great opportunity
for wider internal review.
Vendors should be allowed to
propose changes, and/or should feel free to use this as a
basis to build a design system.
- 15. Are you open to a combination of in-person and remote
usability testing to account for your geographically diverse
- Yes, to the extent that we do not have a preferred
- 16. Do you anticipate needing full recruitment for
usability study participants?
- We may have a few recommendations, but we indeed
anticipate needing full recruitment.
- 17. Is it appropriate to include automated and manual
evaluation in our proposal?
- Please, include in the proposal your process for
validating and evaluating accessibility.
Yes, it is
appropriate to include automated and manual evaluation in your
proposal; it’s important to know how you handle QA
- 18. What development workflow and version control, if any,
are you expecting such as Git hosting; Development or staging
- We use both GitHub for our public work and a private
GitLab for our internal development. We are used to peer
review, continuous integration and continuous deployment.
- 19. What level of site administration do you anticipate
your team will be responsible for after the site is completed (versus
none or only content administration and updating)?
- We are
prepared to handle site administration and are aware that this may
depend on the solution we adopt. We are also interested in creating a
long-lasting partnership with the vendor to continue to work with us
as our needs and organization evolve (as part of our Objectives in the
RFP), and this may include some administration.
- 20. Is there a desired or already in use CRM platform that
will integrate with the new site for member engagement and
- There is one already (BigContacts) that we are not happy
with as it proved difficult to use and has not been integrated
with our internal users and members database. Our Business
Development Team has an interest in moving to the Salesforce
CRM, we recently opened discussion with Salesforce to see how
this transition could happen and how to better integrate with
our internal systems.
- 21. Is the content inventory complete, or will this be a
part of the scope of work?
- We have a good grasp on content inventory, but it may
still be part of the scope of work, as it may be related to
the information architecture work. For example, we may have
some ideas regarding migration that a vendor may make us
revisit as part of their migration strategy advice, or we may
have ideas of elements for future phases that the vendor may
advise we re-prioritize. I expect that our Systems team may be
involved for that aspect as well.
- 22. How many content languages are we expected to
- Currently, our content is in English mostly.
- 23. Regarding localization, any particular requirements?
How consistent is your localization today or envisioned?
- Currently, our content is in English mostly. Our Press
releases are consistently translated (a handful every year),
some of our recommendations are translated by a community of
volunteers. Ideally, we’d like our website to be translated in
all languages but we do not have the manpower to translate
over time. At least 4 to 6 languages (English, Japanese,
Chinese, French, Spanish, German for example) would be great
to start with; content to be supplied by us.
- 24. What third party apps need to be connected to the
website and how does W3C want that to function?
- We have a number of integrations with GitHub. The Systems
team will continue to handle that.
- 25. Will W3C be setting up the server for environment and
related file storage repository? Or should that be included in
- We will be setting this up but any aspects which may
require training should be included in the proposal.
- 25. Regarding MFA WebAuth, how many users will need to be
considered for this functionality? At a high-level how many
different permission based groups would need to be
- We have 12,000 to 15,000 active user accounts, and expect
only a few hundred to a few thousand would ever add MFA to
their account if available. For MFA/webauthn we are primarily
looking for advice, not an actual implementation. For the site
redesign we need to consider user workflow including logged
- 27. What are your primary drivers of sale currently? Are
you looking to involve the site more in that?
- The site is not a driver of sales.
We are a non-profit and
intend to remain so, and our income is principally W3C
Membership dues and then grants and other funding sources such
as participation in European Commission projects.
To drive W3C
Membership applications, our website is one entry point (in
addition to the “sign up for Membership” forms) and then we
have a small Business Development team that concludes
So our website needs to be appealing to prospect
Members (both visually and at the information architecture
level) as well as other of the audiences we list in the
We are indeed looking to involve the site more in driving
crowdfunding. The existing “donate” page and experience isn’t
- 28. How much of the work needs to be published in the open?
In what form?
- Enough that significant milestones are
understandable. Working in the open does not have to be a
barrier or add too much overhead.
- 29. Who can give feedback?
- Our stakeholders and interested parties. For example, the
core W3C Staff is a group of 50 to 60 people; our Members is a
group of 400+ organizations; our work group participants is a
group of 10-12K people. And then, we may get feedback from
people we do not interact with in the same fashion we do with
the previous groups, but are part of our audience (and a
subset of our site is for the public).
- 30. Who is allowed to give feedback when “working in the
open”? We don’t mind explaining our choices and clarifying
them, but designing by committee is slow, tedious, and does
not provide good results in our experience.
- I concur! I propose there is one single person who is the interface between W3C and the vendor.
- 31. Other than Coralie, who are the other key
stakeholders, who are responsible for the decision making
process on this project?
- Coralie as
head of W3C Marketing & Communications is project
manager and owner of the website. She may consult as
appropriate with the oversight team which includes
Lacourba (W3C Systems team
Swick (W3C COO), Alan
Bird (W3C Business Development Lead); and possibly with
other groups in close circles (other members of the W3C
team, W3C Advisory Board.)
We will, however, limit to
one or two the number of people who act as interface between
W3C and the vendor.
- 32. When are the sign-off moments?
- This is to be determined. The vendor is expected to
propose a timeline that would work with their methodology and
proposed plan. There probably are “organic” sign-off
- 33. Are there going to be interviews before awarding the
project? Can you elaborate on the selection process a bit
- We may wish to schedule meeting time with bidders
individually before awarding the project.
team will look at costs, review portfolios, compare how the
proposals are presented, and how close they are to what the
RFP identifies. I may consult with selected Members of the W3C
Advisory Board who volunteered time and expertise for