The delivery of the information to the user is the primary purpose of a Web site. Comprehension and navigation are key engineering design considerations. Non-textual information (e.g. video, graphics, audio) can consume significant bandwidth, but can also provide advantages in delivering information in a coherent and easily comprehended way.
The low bandwidth environments of some users, the inclusion of an option for text-only delivery, adaptation for the visually impaired, and delivery in multiple languages are issues that should all be considered. Well-engineered Web site design may segment information contents by expiration and/or revision date and incorporate this into the overall Web site design. Well-engineered Web site design shall include a clear way to identify the areas changed without the need for navigating the whole site.
The segmentation should be at the page level. A policy for the expiration of the changed-pages list should be described. Some information has a limited useful life. Stock quotes, telephone directories, product specifications, organizational charters, and archival background information change at different rates. The nature of the information and the need of the user to have “current” information affects the contents of well-engineered Web pages, as well as the methods used to deliver these pages.
Metrics for evaluation of well-engineered Web sites shall be derived from evaluation by the target-user community and information to be conveyed. Simplistic “hit rate” metrics may not be sufficient unless wellengineered Web pages for low-bandwidth or text-only users are being compared to equivalent well-engineered Web pages.
A representative metric may be the measurement of the time or the number of keystrokes required of the user community to arrive at the desired end page. Organizational effectiveness, competitive success, and even meeting legal obligations and liabilities can depend on timely access to critical information within an organization.
Intranet/Extranet design should consider this, particularly as it is used to displace other methods for information delivery. User feedback should be actively sought as part of this process.