Working together for standards The Web Standards Project

Shock, horror! Some people out there think that ‘Web Standards’ are not the single most important thing to worry about when crafting a web page or site. Well, I can certainly see the argument here:

Web standards can help, and go hand-in-hand with everything else that makes a site a success. They’re a big part of a good, professional Web development process. However, it takes much more than Web standards to insure a successful Web site. I would also assert that whether or not a site is tableless or validates, in general, has absolutely no impact whatsoever on the success of a Web site.

It is indeed true that we can all get too hung up on getting the XHTML to be perfectly valid and to worry about the semantics of one tag or another and then totally lose sight of what it was that you were hoping to achieve – a site that many different people would actually want to use. The same argument has been levelled at super-accessible sites that have, in the wrong hands, been turned into something VERY dull because the developer couldn’t work out how to achieve aesthetic beauty without sacrificing the purity of the markup.

Let’s get things straight – web standards will, to a great many people, mean absolutely nothing. To the average person in the street, they just want to be able to use Amazon or whatever and generally speaking, sloppy coding has not stopped them doing this from one browser to another. Invalid markup? Whatever … you can still buy a book. Incorrect use of heading tags? Ah, so is that stopping me from finding the DJ Format album? Of course not. BUT …

The point is that up until now, sloppy practices have been acceptable (as far as browsers are concerned) – in the future this may not be the case, and we must pay attention to standards, otherwise we’ll just end up with a fragmented web all over again.

D Keith Robinson states the things that he thinks are more important than Web standards:

  • Clear, concise and measurable goals
  • A solid information architecture
  • Clean, functional and user-centered design
  • Well thought-out, audience appropriate content
  • Interaction with your users/readers

This is all well and good … but none of it should be at the expense of web standards; it is possible to achieve all of that AND have a standards-compliant site. But I have to agree 100% with the comment that: “A 100% valid, semantic and tableless site can still be a complete and utter failure.”

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All of the entries posted in WaSP Buzz express the opinions of their individual authors. They do not necessarily reflect the plans or positions of the Web Standards Project as a group.

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