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The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international community that develops open standards to ensure the long-term growth of the Web. This document is part of a project for redesigning W3C's Web site.

Birds-eye view of Site redesign proposal

Research phase activities

    • Identify key audiences and constituencies
    • Light content audit (not covered in detail here; see listing in wiki)
    • Collect usage patterns & feedback
    • Craft a vision for site
    • Outline next steps

Key Audiences and Constituencies

Audience Type Benefits of redesign to audience Impact on W3C
Web developers and designers External 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 External Learn about value of Web, Membership Increase visibility in new industries, generate more interest W3C work
W3C Members Internal Easier administration Increased participation and satisfaction by Members
W3C Groups* Internal Lower cost of managing group operations Improve user experience across groups
Business Development Constituency New resources for business development Drive membership

*Open question: Whether Groups includes Community and Business Groups (CGs/BGs). We are working on a CG/BG site redesign; that will influence this work but degree of integration not yet known.

Usage patterns

We analyzed server logs, search data from Google Webmaster tools, and results of a user survey.

Log analysis

Search stats

User Survey

    • 30 questions on:
      • Home page
      • Technical reports
      • Member site
      • Group pages
      • General site features (such as Information Architecture and Search)
    • 256 surveys completed (by Public, Members, Team)
      • The majority of users self-identified as Web Designers, Web Developers, User Experience Designers/Information Architects/Content Strategists or Engineers.
      • 36% of the respondents participate in W3C Working Groups, but 46% don't formally participate in the W3C (the "general public/community").
      • We also heard from Chairs (22), Team contacts (23), Editors (25) and Test Managers (7).

Highlights of survey results

    • More than 60% of survey respondents visit the home page weekly or monthly.
    • Most important content: technical reports, validator, news, blogs
    • Not easy to find information (Respondents cited unintuitive content organization/navigation, lack of content prioritization and cluttered or inconsistent designs as primary issues.)
    • Groups would support templates that improve consistency and usability of their pages.
    • Members want streamlined access to the basics (administrative info, events, actions/news/mail/discussion, etc.) with relevant information customized for them.
    • See the full survey results

Vision for Site

This vision encompasses:

    • Data from existing audiences about valued content
    • Assumptions about business development requirements
      • Requirements would be fleshed out in next phase

For all

    • Welcoming tone into the W3C community
    • Fresh content through news, blog posts, interviews, etc.
    • Clear statement of brand proposition and value of W3C to the world
    • High-level description of Open Web Platform for non-technical audience
    • Clear discussion of important Web topics for society and how W3C stewardship is important to the long-term health of the Web in society.
    • Current areas of work (e.g., groups) and how to get involved
      • More work here would be useful on community development activities, and how these would influence the design of the site.
    • Highly usable and accessible experience.
    • Easier means for finding information, including navigation, custom search results and curated links to popular resources
    • More readable mailing list indexes and messages (see esdiscuss for design inspiration, or consider fora like [http://www.discourse.org/ discourse).

For designers and developers

    • Integrated view of W3C offerings for developers (specs, documentation, training, CGs, etc.)
      • We do not plan to duplicate the function of webplatform.org on w3.org. We do anticipate greater integration, and with test resources as well
    • Streamlined access to information related to technical reports
      • Popular reports
      • Editors drafts
      • Status information
      • Clear organization of W3C's many technical reports
      • Improved design of technical reports (status signals, metadata, typography, etc.)
    • Fast access to validation services
    • Simple instructions on how to participate

For c-level audiences

    • Clear statements of value proposition of Membership and how to become a Member
    • Content that explains the impact of the Open Web Platform on high-priority industries, relating it to topics of interest, in language and style tailored to those audiences

For Members

    • Integration of member/public information into a single site experience
    • Content tailored to individuals based on their affiliations and roles ("dashboards")
    • Same or greater number of promotional opportunities (logos, testimonials, etc.)
    • Improved tools for administering Membership

For Groups

    • Public home pages that communicate group activities to the world
    • Internal home pages (still public) for group administrative matters

For Business Development Staff

    • Templates and documentation for their usage
      • Likely to include Workshop templates
    • Note: Visual identity guidance addressed through brand project. This would include icons, colors, etc.

What existing resources might change

    • Home page
    • Top pages about the organization (about w3c, membership, accounts, calendar, help, contact, etc.)
    • W3C blog
    • Resources related to technical reports
      • Index
      • Information to help people understand technology stack/relationships
      • Technical report style
    • Group home pages
    • Main pages of Member site (which does not include all pages that are Member-confidential).
    • Mailing list archives
    • Resources for Members
    • Wiki skin that aligns with overall style
    • Site search

Note: This list is tentative and depends on information architecture and content strategy work; it is derived from the light content audit.

Strategic Planning Phase

These activities are in scope (but resources will determine what we cover):

    • Further research into audience and constituency stories/scenarios and requirements
    • Content strategy requirements (tools, what if any content will we make available in multiple languages, what will be centralized in comm team? how distributed editing will be handled, what does bizdev most need? etc.
      • Talk with BizDev/Hosts about experience packaging information for Members.
      • Great example is Mobile Roadmap by Dom. Can we do more of this?
    • Implementation approaches (automation, use of standards including HTML5, mobile-first responsive design, distributed editing)
    • Search strategy (custom search results internally, SEO).
      • We are in discussions with MS Bing team
    • Analytics strategy
      • Team has begun discussing changes to our policy; this might enable us to do more analytics.
    • Beta testing organization
    • Launch activities
    • Clear statement of scope of following phases

Important Strategic Considerations

    • Will we create a single source, mobile-first, progressively enhanced, responsive design (rather than, say, a desktop site and a mobile app)?

Design phase

These activities are in scope (but resources will determine what we cover):

    • Content strategy continues; begin development of content
      • Mini-fiches on topics like responsive design; put popular on home page?
    • Information architecture (most important content, navigation, etc.)
    • Visual design (improved typography especially for specs, style guides,)
    • User experience and testing (interactions such as joining or accounts, dashboards, social media, etc.)
    • Accessibility review of deliverables

Important Design Considerations

    • Home page
      • Some W3C Members have indicated that the promotional opportunity on the home page is valuable to them. How will we offer a promotional opportunity on the home page in the new site?
      • Make it easier for people to make donations
    • Technical Reports
      • How will we present the significant number of tech reports available so that people can find specifications of interest quickly?
      • How will we present the most popular specifications on the home page?
      • How will we convey status information?
      • How will we convey status changes?
      • Will we updated our "in-place editing" policy clearly for status updates?
      • How will we tell people that new specifications are available?
      • If there is not consensus around a single TR report style, how will we accommodate a small number of style preferences?
    • Technical activities
      • How do we make it as easy as possible for people to know existing groups, active areas of work, and how to get involved?
    • Member site
      • If we eliminate the distinct Member site, how will we convey which pages or portions of pages are Member-only?
    • Sponsor acknowledgment
      • If sponsorships help to offset the costs of creating the new site, how will we recognize our sponsors? Will we accept to do so on the home page?
    • Integration
      • How will we integrate links to webplatform.docs, training, and testing resources?
    • URLs
      • Date space used generally (to make it easy to generate URIs) is harmful unless used to snapshot.


    • Brand
      • Brand task force results for how we position ourselves; this will determine messaging and tone of site in some places.
      • Visual identity work
    • W3C policy changes to allow for site analytics
    • Dashboards headlights outcome determines what features we will be able to offer, e.g., to Membership.
    • Funding for design, creation of mockups, templates, etc.

Implementation Phase

    • Content management system
    • Templates (including reusable components) and code
      • Note: Mobile-first design strategy gives ongoing mobile review
    • Search engine custom results
    • Analytics programming
    • Testing
    • Documentation
      • How to use templates
      • Style guide (see example)

Important Implementation Considerations

    • W3C-as-platform
      • There have been suggestions that, in addition to providing a base (W3C-supported) platform, we make available data and/or APIs so that people can innovate (some of which can be ported back to the base platform.
    • Content management
      • Ian strongly prefers that we reuse existing CMS software rather than create our own as we did in 2008. We have growing experience with WordPress, for example.
      • In 2008 we opted to use static HTML for performance and archival purposes. Ian proposes we adopt a more dynamic site.
      • Should we take a stack overflow approach to managing some topics?
    • Technical Reports
      • What can we do to help people and search engines find recent specifications rather than old drafts? (E.g., for every superseded draft, a dismissable popup so that users know there is a more recent draft)

Note: This is not a full list of implementation requirements (e.g., use of HTML5, meeting WCAG, etc.). Those will be further developed during the next requirements gathering phase.


    • Systems Team for CMS work and integration (accounts, ACLs, dashboards, etc.)


Month Activity
July 2013 Revise plan after Woods feedback; begin work to find sponsors, develop RFP if project gets green light
August Sponsorship outreach, develop and announce RFP
September Evaluate bids, begin strategic planning, further refine requirements
October Strategic planning, additional requirements gathering
November Strategic planning, additional requirements gathering, TPAC 2013 breakout session on requirements and initial findings
December Information Architecture, Content Strategy & Development
January 2014 Information Architecture, Content Strategy & Development
February UX and Visual design, W3C management update
March UX and Visual design, W3C staff review, accessibility audit, and usability testing
April Development, code, integration
May Development, code, integration, Advisory Committee Meeting Update
June Development, code, integration
July Testing (feature testing, cross-browser, performance, etc.)
August Beta; Start incorporating feedback
September Beta; Incorporate feedback; complete content, prepare documentation
October Incorporate feedback; complete content, prepare documentation
November TPAC 2014, Incorporate feedback; complete content, prepare documentation
December Launch


Timeline Activity Staff FTE External Resource Est. Cost Range
Jul 2013 Revise plan after Woods feedback .4 -- --
Aug Sponsorship outreach, develop RFP .4 -- --
Sep Evaluate bids, requirements gathering .4 -- --
Oct - Nov Strategic planning, requirements gathering .4 Design/Planning Team $20,000 - $40,000
Dec - Jan 2014 Information Architecture, Content Strategy & Development .8 Design Team, IA, Content Strategist $20,000 - $40,000
Feb - Mar UX and Visual design, W3C management update, accessibility/usability review .8 Design Team, Accessibility/Usability Experts $45,000 - $65,000
Apr - Jun Development, code, integration, Advisory Committee Meeting Update 2.5 Design/Front-end Development Team $60,000 - $80,000
Jul Testing 2.5 Design/Front-end Development Team $10,000 - $20,000
Aug - Nov Beta, incorporate feedback; complete content, prepare documentation 2.5 Design/Front-end Development Team $40,000 - $60,000
Dec Launch 1.5 -- --
After Maintenance 1.5 down to .5 -- --
TOTAL -- est. 2400 Hours $195,000-$305,000

Notes on Cost Estimates

Cost estimates derived as follows:

  • Number of weeks * Number of hours per week * FTE * Conservative estimate of hourly rate
  • A range is shown from a conservative estimate to a moderate estimate.
  • Example:
    • Strategic planning: 7 weeks * 20 hours per week * 2 FTE * $80/hour = $22,400
  • Different firms may staff work differently (more hours but lower rates, etc.)
  • The precise scope of the project will not be determined until the design phase; this will also affect costs.

Notes on Staff FTE

Staff FTE will vary according to phases of the project:

    • MarComm
      • Ian Jacobs expects .1-.15 FTE of his time for the duration of the project, with spikes at various times (e.g., presentations to AC, TPAC, and launch). In addition, he is likely to call on Coralie Mercier and Daniel Davis for discussion, content development, and requirements gathering
    • Systems Team
      • Ian will also seek and coordinate with Ted Guild Systems Team throughout the project. Systems Team should be involved in the requirements and strategic planning phases at low levels. During the peak implementation period we will need 2 FTE, followed by 1 FTE at launch, and 1 FTE for maintenance after launch (tapering off).
    • Business Development
      • Ian will also seek and coordinate participation by the Business Development Team in particular on requirements and content creation.
    • WAI
      • Ian will also seek and coordinate support from the WAI community for accessibility reviews.
      • WAI has also indicated they are interested in reimplementing part of their subsite; we will discuss with them how to reuse portions of the global redesign.

Notes on queries

  • Show me list of people subscribed to w3c lists using my org's domain name, and whether they have an account affiliated with my org.