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The Web Standards Documentary Project

By Rob Dickerson | April 20th, 2007 | Filed in Education, General, Web Standards (general)

Aarron Walter, a faculty member of The Art Institute of Atlanta, launches The Web Standards Documentary Project.

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Aarron Walter is a full-time faculty member in the Interactive Media Design department at The Art Institute of Atlanta. The program in which he teaches has been using modern Web development best practices since 2002. Aarron has started a project named The Web Standards Documentary Project. Aarron is recording stories from his students, describing their experiences in industry and how they are introducing their employers to Web Standards. In some cases his former students have converted entire organizations to Web Standards.

In a recent email, Aarron states;

“Although the project is still in its infancy, some of the stories I have collected document significant changes at major organizations like the US Center for Disease Control, and Morehouse College. I hope to add more stories as I learn about them. I am adding stories of failed attempts at converting employers as well, so we might learn what is really preventing businesses from changing.”

You can listen to the student’s stories on Aarron’s site.

Your Replies

#1 On April 20th, 2007 10:11 pm Adam Darowski replied:

I had the pleasure of meeting Aarron at SXSW and hanging out a bit. He is full of great ideas and I can’t wait to check this out.

#2 On April 23rd, 2007 1:14 pm Aarron Walter replied:

Thanks for the kind words, Adam. Hope to see yo uagain at SXSW next year.

I have just added quite a few more interviews to the Web Standards Documentary Project. In the new interviews students talk about interviewing for jobs that are looking for employees with WS skills, how WS is talked about with clients in freelance projects, and standards inconsistencies inside major agencies.

#3 On April 24th, 2007 8:47 am gill replied:

I’ve just been reading with interest some of the interviews, and coming to grips with the whole web standards project being a newbie to webdesign having been previously in marketing – can anyone welcome some beginners reading material for someone starting off who is up skilling themselves.

#4 On April 25th, 2007 6:57 pm WaSP Member rdickerson replied:

Gill, check out the Recommended Reading section of this site for a list of good books.

#5 On April 25th, 2007 7:03 pm Selena Jackson » Blog Archive » The Web Standards Documentary Project replied:

[...] The Web Standards Documentary Project [...]

#6 On April 25th, 2007 7:48 pm Aarron Walter replied:

If you are trying to make a change at your place of employment or at your school, I’ve written a list of compelling arguments and links to sites who have done so perhaps more eloquently that could help you convince the folks in charge that making the switch to Web Standards is a worth while endeavor. Read it at

#7 On April 26th, 2007 11:29 am dewde replied:

so we might learn what is really preventing businesses from changing

Don’t we know this answer already? I thought we always knew this answer. While we still have browser companies arbitrarily implementing partial standards, businesses are going to publish websites that utilize the most efficient (cost-to-benefit) features.

Businesses don’t want to spend the money to write multiple versions of the same site or web app to accommodate multiple browsers. They also don’t want to spend just as much time and money to write a single version of a site or web app to be multi-browser.

Most businesses decide to spend half the time and money to write one version which satisfies the majority of the web consumers. And I don’t blame them.

Thanks to the popularity of FireFox, however, the benefit of writing for one browser (cough IE cough) and ignoring the rest is much less appealing these days. With Dell shipping Ubunto and MacBook users growing phenomenally I hope those days are finally behind us.

The time is certainly ripe for businesses to start putting pressure on browser developers to keep making progress towards standards compliance. It will save them time and money in the end.

But here I am preaching to the choir. Think I’ll shut it now.


#8 On April 27th, 2007 7:10 am Aarron Walter replied:

From what I’ve seen the issue is beyond favor for IE (though it is sometimes the case). I’ve heard many businesses say that they are aware of Web Standards, but the reason they have not taken the time to learn and adopt them is that they don’t feel there is any pay off for their time/money investment. I’ve also heard companies report that building sites without tables is less reliable cross-browser so they feel it will take more time to resolve simple issues. The reality is they just haven’t taken the time to learn the basic concepts of CSS so everything seems more time consuming.

There are also those who just have no idea what Web Standards are. These folks tend to be easier to persuade as they have not already made the case to themselves why they shouldn’t learn about Web Standards.

#9 On May 1st, 2007 8:21 am Aarron Walter replied:

FYI: I’ve recently added transcripts of each audio interview and an RSS feed so you can subscribe to the text and audio content as a podcast.

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