Q: I plan to hire a contractor for my website. What do I need to specify in the contract?
Web work with contractors can be very tricky. When possible, it is best to keep web work in house. If contracting is absolutely necessary, there are several items you'll need to take care of before starting.
- Web Standards for accessibility and other UO requirements
All contracts for web development and web design must specify that the contractors must comply with the university's Web Standards, which are part of the overall communication standards. This includes vital requirements for accessibility and all required elements for UO websites.
You'll need to first secure a suitable hosting environment through your department's IT professional and ensure that a contractor will have access to a web server. The University of Oregon's central IT division, Information Services, generally does not permit uoregon.edu urls to be used for sites not hosted on campus.
- Longterm maintenance agreement
A website is NOT a project. It is something that must have regular care and feeding -- both on content and the application supporting it. Failing to maintain the application that runs your site can have dire security consequences. Make sure you have a monthly agreement with your contractor to handle maintenance and security patches. Unless you've made specific arrangements, do not expect university web developers to be able to step in and work on a site that you paid a contractor to build.