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Chapter 9. Interface Design Standards > Disseminating, Supporting, and Enforcin...

Disseminating, Supporting, and Enforcing Standards

Before investing in a standard, be sure to plan for its dissemination and support. This means training, consulting, and enforcement. One idea is to phase it in, as mentioned in Chapter 5. Even though the design standard will really support creativity and improve an application's or Web site's usability, the feelings against standards are real. Therefore, if you do not work to spread and support the standard, nothing will happen. Your investment in developing the standard will be lost. In fact, you should not develop standards unless there is a clear plan and budget for dissemination and support. Getting the standards written is just the beginning of the process.

At HFI, we have had a significant controversy over the years regarding whether a paper or an online standards document is better. A paper document is easier to work with in some ways; the developer is already using the full screen for design work, so an online standard requires switching between windows. However, there is a significant cost in having a paper version—it must be printed and distributed. Updates will be required, and then it will be hard to tell if you have the current version. Also, increasingly, the standard comes with online materials like reusable code.


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