To promote ethical behaviour and uphold best practice standards in the Australian web industry, AWIA created Widelines. It's a set of governing principles that digital professionals adopt and adhere to as an AWIA member.
Whether you're a web developer, graphic designer or content marketer, these guidelines are designed to help you do your best work and keep our industry healthy and free from unethical practices.
Widelines is comprised of six (6) core values:
Members will conduct their business diligently.
Members will look to adopt practices that systematise their business processes.
Members will adequately document work. The degree of detail in the documentation will vary according to the time spent and money charged to deliver the service.
Members will benchmark their performance against others offering services at a similar price point.
Members will clearly outline the scope of works and associated costs in a proposal.
Members will monitor their financial position so as to maintain solvency.
Members should use a documented testing procedure.
Members writing custom code should use a Source Control system.
Members offering SEO services should document a keywords strategy.
All clients should be informed about the existence of these guidelines, and relevant standards and laws.
Members will not mis-represent their credentials and capabilities.
Members will not take undue credit for the work of others, i.e. members will specifically acknowledge relevant work done by others, even where they are not employed or paid by the member.
Web advertising for a client should not mislead as to who the actual advertiser is.
Members should not make any guarantees about improvements in natural search results. They should not represent #1 in paid search as being #1 in Google and should ensure clients understand the difference between natural search and paid search.
If relevant, members should clearly explain an Open Source CMS to clients and what that implies.
Members should aim to deliver solutions appropriate in cost and scale to the client.
Members will not take commercial advantage of unsophisticated clients.
A product or quote should clearly describe what is included and what is not included. It should include inevitable ongoing costs.
A client should understand that their expectations about what is required needs to be spelled out in writing before the contract is presented and signed.
Members will not disparage the work of other companies.
Members will not obstruct the exit of an existing client to a competitor and will act to ensure continuity of service and a smooth transition. Once all bills are paid, the member should transfer any code owned by the client in an easily accessible format at no cost.
Clients should be responsible for all ongoing service costs until they have notified the developer in writing that they are terminating the relationship.
Permission should be sought for any links from the client's site to a developer's web-site.
Online marketing companies must not guarantee clients a #1 ranking in search engine marketing (paid search), since they do not control search rankings. They should not use very narrow keyword definitions to mislead clients about effective search engine rankings.
A member unable to pay an invoice when it falls due should communicate that fact to the supplier or subcontractor and stay in touch on the matter until it is resolved.
If vendor lock-in provisions apply (for example, with hosting arrangements) these should be made clear to the client before the contract is signed.
Unless told otherwise, a client would reasonably expect that they would be the legal owner of a domain name bought on their behalf.
Unless told otherwise, a client would reasonably expect that work is being done in Australia.
Unless told otherwise, a client would reasonably expect that you or your employees are doing the work.
Client should be told that analytics packages exist and that they can access their own analytics.
If marketing services are offered, the developer should ensure the client fully understands the difference between (1) paid search used for advertising and (2) organic (or natural) search, used to improve search engine rankings.
Online marketing: The client does not need to be told how the work is being done but they should understand what work is being done.
Where a client agrees to proceed with work prior to reviewing a contract, the client should have an opportunity after receiving the contract to end the arrangement and only pay for work completed up to that point.
The member must explain to the client before they sign the contract what happens after the contract terminates.
A member should be aware of ACCC guidelines for
Unfair Contract Terms
A member should keep up to date with relevant
Australian Accessibility Requirements
Where relevant, the member should make the client aware of current Federal and State Government policies, laws and guidelines, such as AGIMO strategies.
Members should know the relevant Spam laws and be able to advise the client on these matters.
If SEO services (natural search) are offered the member should be familiar with Webmaster Guidelines and the SEO Code of Ethics.
If SEM services (paid search) are offered the member should be trained in the use of the software. Google Training. Bing/Yahoo Training.
Members should be familiar with state and national Australian privacy laws.
Members should also be familiar with data security standards
Ownership of intellectual property should be clarified before the client signs a contract. The member and the client should discuss how to approach documentation of third party content and licenses used. This includes photos, video, audio, music, and animation.
Members should advise the client as soon as they know that the likely completion time of a project is delayed.
Some clients may need to be told of the need to pay license fees and may need advice or education on this.
Clients should be educated about the difference between accessible and non-accessible sites and should be made aware of Australia's legislative requirements.
If you’re ready to make your Australian web industry a safe and thriving place to work, it's time to adopt the Widelines and set an example for your peers.