The Minister for Transport, Seamus Brennan, today launched the first ever global website quality certification process, which will be known simply as the W-mark.

It will allow organisations to have their websites independently audited under a number of criteria to ensure excellence and best practice. Ireland will be the global headquarters for the certification process. The Excellence Ireland Quality Association product brings together quality associations from the UK, USA, Asia and Europe.

Websites will be rigorously audited under a number of headings including consistency, appearance, accessibility, privacy, navigation and service commitment. A certification report will be issued to the organisation following the initial audit. There will be two audits per annum conducted to ensure consistency in awarding the globally recognised website certification symbol.

Phase one has been launched in Ireland, UK, and USA today and will be rolled out globally over the coming months. Hewlett-Packard Galway Limited will be one of the first organisations to be audited. Friends First, the financial services group and REHAB will also be audited for website certification.

'340,000 people use the internet in Ireland each day, accessing websites from around the world. This is a major new innovation with a global reach and I am delighted that an Irish company is at the forefront in leading the way to ensure rigorous standards of excellence are adhered to for websites globally,' said Minister Brennan, speaking at the launch.