Working together for standards The Web Standards Project


Use cases: How educational institutions are incorporating Web standards into their curricula or public sites.


  • Quince Orchard High School of Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA

    Jason Leveille is a Web design teacher at Quince Orchard High School, were he teaches standards based Web design. Jason has developed a teaching Web site and also maintains the schools Web site, which validates using the XHTML strict DTD. The Web site was recently named the winner of a Web Accessibility Contest. (May 2007)

    Jason states, “standards based web design practices are filtering (very slowly, but it is happening) down to the High School.”

  • Montana Tech of The University of Montana

    Dr. Simon Hemingway contacted the Education Task Force in February 2007:

    “Here at Montana Tech in Butte, Montana, which is part of the University of Montana system, I teach standards-based web design. All of my students use the XHTML 1.0 strict DTD and all of their assignment are required to validate before I will grade them.”

  • Standards-Based Education

    Dave Shea comments on the Digital Media class at Malaspina University-College, Vancouver Island, Canada (March 2004):

    “New this year, the course syllabus has started to heavily promote standards-based design, and as the semester draws to a close it’s proved so successful that a complete 3-credit web standards class is in the works for next year, as well as a heavy bias in this direction across the rest of the course.”

Public sites:

Listed starting with the most recent. At the time of each listing, sites were validated using the W3C Markup Validation Service, the W3C CSS Validation Service, and Cynthia Says for Section508/WAI validation.

2007-05-02 Truckee Meadows Community College (USA)

Maintained by a Web team of two, the site validates as XHTML 1.0 strict, valid CSS, and passes Section 508.

2006-07-30 University of Missouri-Columbia (USA)

The main site redesign is tablefree, using valid XHTML 1.0 strict, valid CSS, and it passes Section 508. Julie Harpring notes, “I would like to applaud the Office of Web Communications for their dedication to Web standards and usability.” Kudos to Mizzou!

2005-04-02 University of Guelph (Ontario, Canada)

Launched August 2002, the home page is still valid XHTML Transitional, valid CSS, and passes Section 508. Tables used for layout.

2005-03-19 University of Salford (UK)

Launched September 2003, the home page is still valid XHTML1.0 strict, CSS, and Section508/WAI. See also the 2004 presentation “Implementing Web Standards Across The Institution – Trials And Tribulations Of A Redesign”

2005-11-8 University of Waterloo (Ontario, Canada)

Valid XHTML 1.0 transitional; valid CSS. The adoption of a table-free XHTML/CSS template was initiated in May 2005, and has reached 90–95% of the University of Waterloo campus-wide web space as of September of 2005. Further improvements are in progress.

2005-11-7 Queen’s University (Ontario, Canada)

Valid XHTML1.0 transitional. A few CSS errors, easily fixed. A number of CSS warnings to review. Valid Section508 and WAI. Minimal use of tables for layout.

Tim Hannigan (eduTF-pp) wrote: “we’ve re-launched the main Queen’s University site from the ground-up in a web-standards inspired approach.”

Key goals to this strategy were:

  • accessibility (browser level, and assistive technology level)
  • branding level look and feel (site consistency in presentation and navigation)
  • University-wide “best-practices”? for Campus web development (through templates, and user guides)

“The overall reaction has been quite positive and departments have inundated our Office with requests for the templates for their use.”

2005-9-1 launch University of Maryland School of Nursing (USA)

With an emphasis on accessibility, the site uses table-free layouts, valid XHTML and CSS, and is WAI compliant. “We have taken great measures to ensure that the site is accessible to all visitors. We have also provided an automatically generated text-only version of the site, which is available for people using non-traditional devices, such as screen readers.”

While there is an improper use of fieldset for presentation, and headings chosen for font-size rather than structuring information, overall the site is very well done.

2005-8-6 University of North Texas’ College of Business Administration (USA)

“We are very close to being completely standards compliant and have active projects to convert the straggling departments.” Valid XHTML 1.0 Strict, 2 small CSS errors (top tier), valid Section 508/WAI.

2005-7-17 California Lutheran University (USA)

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional and valid CSS; table-free layout. Fixed-font sizing creates some accessibility and layout problems when text is enlarged in IE6 or Firefox.

2005-7 University at Buffalo Undergraduate Catalog (New York, USA)

Valid XHTML Transitional, CSS, Section 508

2005-6-7 Humboldt State University (California, USA)

Valid XHTML, CSS and WAI/Section 508; table-free layout. Minor errors in some second-level pages, but overall an excellent example of a standards-based edu site.

2005-5-12 Cornell University (New York, USA)

XHTML 1.0 Transitional/CSS. Site currently does not validate due to unencoded ampersands, which are causing 70 errors.

All in all, a very attractive site.

2005-5-7 University of Exeter (UK)

XHTML Transitional and CSS. Currently not validating; 13 errors. Would be pretty easy to fix the existing errors and validate.

2005-5 University of Wisconsin—Platteville (USA)

Valid XHTML Transitional 1.0 and Valid CSS. Tables used for layout.

2004-9 launch Hiram College (Ohio, USA)

Site developed by Cameron Moll, Jonathan Linczak, Hiram’s webmaster, Jason Seith, co-developer, and Hiram’s entire web department.

“Did we get everything perfect? No, definitely not. But when dealing with a site of this size, it’s incredibly difficult to maintain perfect markup so that every page validates. But don’t lose sight of what’s most important. As much as I’d like to see every page validate, it isn’t as important as ensuring Hiram College spreads the word in a way that’s easy and rewarding for both the user and the College.”

Hiram College uses Apache Lenya for content management, “a nice front-end to an application called Cocoon, an XML-based web development framework. The beauty of Lenya and Cocoon is that the two are heavily based on web standards (XML is the key ingredient that makes this happen). Even better, given that they’re open-source, we could customize them however we wanted.”

2004-2 launch University of Florida—About This Site (USA)

The UFL standards-based site was used as an example when Pennsylvania State University was revising their Web policy.

Disclaimer of Endorsement: Reference herein to any specific academic institution or product, does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the Web Standards Project or its members. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the Web Standards Project, and shall not be used for advertising or endorsement purposes.

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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