Thursday, May 17, 2007

Best Practice: Control Points and Governance

How Sun manages and controls new product design ...

"Governance is something that corporate web teams tend to obsess about, because in big companies (which usually have big web sites) it's really hard to implement a consistent experience, design, and voice. And, inconsistency is bad -- it confuses customers as they move from one section to another trying to buy your products, get support, or just get to know you.

Most companies have unified roadmaps, as well as committees who try to coordinate governance across areas of their web presence. We do that at Sun, too, of course. But it seems some of our other practices are at least as effective as the roadmaps and meetings: As I described how our processes work to my web analyst she pointed out that Sun has some very good "control points" that make that governance easier. Here are some of them:

Turnkey templates - We have standard templates defined that serve specific purposes. Examples are our product pages and landing pages. We're in the process of documenting a few dozen templates in excruciating detail, but even having basic documentation and live examples to point to is a huge help.

A well-documented component system - Our pages are composed of well-defined components that fit into the pages in standard places. We document all of the HTML components used on the sites in detail, so that all of our web apps, publishers and vendors are using the same standard set. You can see most of our component designs and code at"    (Continued via    [Usability Resources]


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