Working together for standards The Web Standards Project

We’re trying something new here at the Web Standards project. Instead of griping and complaining about poor support for standards, and giving people tools to discriminate against users of non-compliant browsers, we’re going to focus on helping site builders deliver sites that work everywhere. In every browser. On any platform. On any Web-enabled device. The way that the Web was intended to be, before the mad gold rush of the nineties turned it into Just Another Kind of (admittedly Intangible, and a little Unpredictable) Print.

To that end, we’ve gathered together some of the finest minds in the field (and what a broad field it is, too — ranging from markup to presentation, behavior, accessibility, usability, development, writing, and more). We’ve turned to representatives of industries and disciplines that need standards now, from librarians to the academy to big business and government. We’ve asked everyone to start thinking in terms of universality, not exclusivity. We’ve asked them to think about all of the smart strategies and oft-forgotten necessities of the process of building Web sites that work everywhere, for everybody, and we’ll be pulling them together as a resource for the public.

It’s common for Web designers and developers to complain that while everyone talks about the promise of standards, few ever talk about the often grim realities, of poor or incompatible implementations, of the struggle required to shift strategies and mindsets. And the folks who bring us the standards in the first place often don’t adequately explain them to the people who need to use them—right here, right now— those of us in the trenches and on the beach. And there are so many conflicting guides to go by, books on Web design that never mention a DOCTYPE declaration or the need for validation. And many never consider that users may ‘see’ their lovely, visually rich site as a series of sounds telling them they’re missing out on image after image, but not what those images actually contain. So we decided to do something about it.

Look for a lot more from us in the next few weeks, as we revamp and ramp up to be your best resource for tutorials, guides, strategies and even the occasional gruesome kludge, that will help you take advantage of the power of Web standards today, not tomorrow. And in the end, we’ll have helped to build a better Web. That’s our goal, anyway—let us know how we’re doing.

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