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The Best Time to Document Standards

One of my all-time favorite questions is “When is the best time to start developing standards?” The idea that you need to tie standards development to a redesign or any other milestone or event is untrue. While a redesign, a change in technology or business strategy may prompt you to revisit your standards and consider drafting new ones, in reality, the best time to start developing standards is now!

Standards allow your organizations to produce aspects of digital consistently when evenness is required and valuable to either the user or an organizational objective. For example, always placing the navigation of your website at the top of the page allows a user to easily navigate to the services and products information they want to purchase. Predictably formatting customer data allows the organization to extend its marketing analytics surrounding customer service and product preferences thus increasing sales. Using your business colors over and over again to engage users and brand their experience while using your mobile application can build loyalty and ensure long-term commitment.

If standards can facilitate such engagement and outcomes, there is little reason to delay their creation. Instead, I would suggest that starting standards development immediately is the smart approach for any organization. Prioritizing standards based on the value they can bring is always a best practice, as is coupling standards to any operational activities–including a website redesign–in order to make them tangible and relevant to the organization.

Published in Digital Governance Blog