Working together for standards The Web Standards Project

Business Week: Jeffrey Zeldman: King of Web Standards

By Andy Clarke | August 7th, 2007 | Filed in General, Web Standards (general)

This week, Business Week has published a Special Report on WASP co-founder Jeffrey Zeldman.

Skip to comment form

As a pioneer of standards-based design, he helped put an end to the browser wars and made Web sites available to all.

This week Business Week published a Special Report on Jeffrey Zeldman. It’s wonderful to see mention of standards and best practice reaching a wider business audience, although I do wonder about how true author Jessie Scanlon’s comment that today, most sites are standards-compliant is.

It’s hard to remember what the Web was like in 1995, when Jeffrey Zeldman designed his first site. But suffice it to say that in those days WWW might as well have stood for the Wild West Web—there were no rules and no best practices.

Personally I think that the work of evangelising and educating about standards, accessibility and best practice will continue for a good, long while to come.

Jeffrey Zeldman: King of Web Standards.

Your Replies

#1 On August 7th, 2007 7:26 pm Matt Robin replied:

Despite making an approving comment of the article on the Business Week site itself – I’ll also agree with your aside comment here: Jessie’s assertion that most sites are standards compliant is a huge overstatement (albeit that it’s probably written while caught in the buoyant moment of justifiably spelling-out praises for Jeffrey!) And yes – Web Standards still needs to be adopted across the vastness of the Web….perhaps now more than ever. I mean, as Web usage increases at such a steady rate in developing nations right now – I can’t see there ever being a time when Web Standards wasn’t needed more…the evangelising, educating…and dedicated practice of it.

Still, that’s getting a tiny bit off topic – a big shout for that Web Standards King: Jeffrey! :)

#2 On August 11th, 2007 12:59 pm Molly E. Holzschlag replied:

While there is every cause to celebrate Jeffrey’s contributions to Web Standards, there is also every clear reason to mourn the state of “standards” as they are today.

The idea that “Web Standards” is even a cohesive concept that could be adopted across the web is a joke in and of itself. Has anyone here at WaSP or reading WaSP noticed that there are critical issues to address – now more than ever.

We are at the brink of a platform war, are already in a specifications war and a fight for the Web as we’ve never imagined possible. Do people honestly think it’s okay to put your head in the ground and say “Web Standards” with a smile as if it means anything anymore. Do people think the browser wars were problematic and caused woes? I assume most do, but lookout if you think it’s all stable and fine and “standards” are a done deal.

With no ill will toward Jeffrey, or Andy for bringing this article to light, I have to ask WaSP, its founders and members, and the community it serves why on earth a post about Zeldman to this community is on the home page of WaSP when we have such deep problems in the W3C, the WHAT WG, with browser and platform developers, with agendas that are often personal or profit-driven rather than human, social and progressive.

This makes me sad. WaSP is an organization of brilliant people. Being busy at your job is not an excuse, because I led this organization for years and somehow I pulled it off despite a workload that would kill most people and deeply personal problems I had no idea how to deal with.

I call on WaSP to correct their course, to find a course, to start looking very seriously at the issues that really matter and use your collective genius and problem solving skills to do just that.

With love,
Molly E. Holzschlag
former group lead, WaSP

#3 On August 11th, 2007 1:00 pm » Dear W3C, Dear WaSP replied:

[...] I call on my colleagues, my friends to talk about this. Oh goodness, and here’s a unique idea. Perhaps the Web Standards Project (WaSP) can stop playing to its own audience and address: [...]

#4 On August 11th, 2007 4:43 pm peter replied:

In 1995 – or was it 1994? – I made my first and only private homepage – showing pictures with comments made during bicycle rides- today, I guess that would be called a picture blog? – using at that time standard Microsoft Frontpage; for me as a marketing guy for a technical company that was kind of OK to do. Does Frontpage still exist? Do people use it? Anyway, I guess today, at least theoretically, sharing your and consuming someone else’s creativity has become a lot easier, because of standards, which sometimes work – one click ‘publish to your blog’ button one Vodaphone’s SE i360(?) phone – and sometimes not – great feature lacking on SE’s own W810i; so I guess user frustration as mentioned in the Business Week article really is relative to whishes and / or knowing what is possible, or, as Intel’s VP marketing in those days used to say: satisfaction = reality minus expectation.

#5 On August 11th, 2007 5:27 pm Laura replied:

I echo Molly’s concern.

Molly, WaSP, and all people concerned with accessibility/best practices please know HTML 5 needs your help, desperately.

Some of us are trying to fight the good fight, doing the research, playing by the rules, going the extra mile. To no avail.

#6 On August 11th, 2007 10:26 pm David Sleight replied:

See Edward Tufte, Beautiful Evidence:

“Producers of primary reports may console themselves about distortions in mediated versions of their work by recalling the words of the noted marketeer P. T. Barnum: ‘Without publicity a terrible thing happens—nothing.’ Evidence cannot become relevant if no one knows about it.”

There’s internal wrangling and then there’s external politics/publicity. With all due respect, I think the two are getting conflated here. Bottom line: We have come many miles, we have many more to go.

(Obvious disclaimers about my employer and coworkers are in full effect.)

#7 On August 12th, 2007 10:15 am La domo de karotoj » La reĝo de TTT-normoj replied:

[...] Usona gazeto nomis TTT-norman porparolanton Jeffrey Zeldman la reĝo de TTT-normoj. Li faris multajn bonajn aferojn al tiu celo en la 1990-jaroj. [...]

#8 On August 12th, 2007 8:51 pm Barry replied:

Frankly, during Molly’s reign as WaSP lead, more WaSP members were using WaSP for self promotion than now. Now, WaSP is just irrelevant.

#9 On August 14th, 2007 1:32 am Matt Robin replied:

Well said Molly, well said!

Now, let’s see if the WaSP team takes note of your significant remarks, and takes some action!!! (I’ll watch the site carefully with some interest).

#10 On August 16th, 2007 3:39 am Indeed replied:

Well said Barry.

#11 On August 22nd, 2007 5:57 am Fliesen Trends replied:

I started programming my first webiste in middle of 90´s with Netscape. My good so many has changed since this and the work of Zeldman really helped all of us.

#12 On September 16th, 2007 10:04 pm NBA replied:

I can’t see there ever being a time when Web Standards wasn’t needed more…the evangelising, educating…and dedicated practice of it.

#13 On September 18th, 2007 9:51 am wendy replied:

Zeldman has been an invaluable resource- maybe WASP’s job isnt done but that doesnt mean he has not achieved an amazing amount and given a lot of people at least the hope of becoming good developers- its getting a bit old how everyone keeps wingeing about what still needs to be done rather than celebrating what HAS been done and how far this industry HAS come thanks in a very large part to mr Zeldman and also people like Andy Budd etc- those who continue to complain illustrate the difference in getting things done vs talking about getting things done- if things are so bad get on with fixing them instead of begrudging someone the credit they are clearly due

#14 On October 3rd, 2007 1:39 pm Afvallen replied:

I think over time lots of standards has changed but people mentality have changed as well. People get more critical and dont forgot that in those easrly years there werent that many websites available as there are now. Due to the large amount of choses people can become more critical and expect standards.

#15 On October 4th, 2007 12:52 pm Designer replied:

I am convinced that webstandards are the only way to keep the internet running :-)

#16 On October 7th, 2007 9:46 am Rob Hiller replied:

Fliesen Trends, I started creating websites in 2001 but Zeldman’s work really helped me too and I think it will help many other people

#17 On October 9th, 2007 9:58 am Richard Morton replied:

What depresses me is that even among web developers who profess adherence to standards there are many who’s efforts don’t even pass basic validation tests.

#18 On October 13th, 2007 12:41 pm Tribulus replied:

I started creating websites in 2001 but Zeldman’s work really helped me too and I think it will help many other people. Mr. Jeffrey Zeldman have my Thx.

#19 On November 2nd, 2007 6:41 am Videoman replied:

My website started 2001 and Zeldman’s works helped my projects.He is a Great Man

#20 On November 2nd, 2007 7:06 am indir replied:

I can’t see there ever being a time when Web Standards wasn’t needed more…the evangelising, educating…and dedicated practice of it.

#21 On November 3rd, 2007 11:36 am Vectorpedia replied:

Much has been improved since I started in 1993….keep up the good work by educating about best practices,standards

#22 On November 3rd, 2007 11:52 am SM replied:

My website started in december2007 and Zeldman’s works helped my future projects. Thanks Mr. Zeldman

#23 On November 3rd, 2007 3:58 pm masuren replied:

Art Direction doesn’t happen on the web

Jeffrey Zeldman and Khoi Vinh are amongst a group of designers who have bemoaned the absence of art direction on the web. Khoi sums up my feelings exactly:

At this stage in the development of Web design, we have become, I think, engrossed thoroughly by the practical difficulty (and the legitimate challenges) of achieving aesthetically rewarding user interfaces. As a result, our focus has become trained almost exclusively on designing platforms, on investing our innovation efforts within the infrastructure of our design solutions — in navigation conventions, mnemonic devices, user inputs, system feedback, etc. And we’ve given up, at least for now, on the opportunity to innovate within the presentation, the shaping of visual constructions specific to a given piece of content.

#24 On November 4th, 2007 8:32 am Zarabianie replied:

Zeldman is the best!


#25 On November 4th, 2007 10:16 pm Dave replied:

In regard to the article its important that more business people understand that their websites should be designed properly. Its easy for some designers to pull the old wool over the eyes on some issies but now business owners can just ask some simple questions to know if their sites are being designed right.

#26 On November 5th, 2007 2:30 pm Joern Puetz replied:

I started programming my first webiste in middle of 90´s with Netscape. My good so many has changed since this and the work of Zeldman really helped all of us

Return to top

Post a Reply

Comments are closed.

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.

This site is valid XHTML 1.0 Strict, CSS | Get Buzz via RSS or Atom | Colophon | Legal