Working together for standards The Web Standards Project

Small Business Outreach

Many small web companies and small to mid-sized businesses are building websites with little or no regard for cross-browser / cross-device compatibility. Inaccessible sites and applications are in abundance, even in this age of Ajax and advanced techniques. These projects have been put together by web designers and developers that have never been exposed to best web practices and standards.

The Web Standards Project is keen on addressing this issue more directly. Our education effort is a strategic means to teach the next generation of web designers and developers, but reaching out to practicing professionals who have not been exposed to web standards or have been reluctant to upgrade their skill set may require a more targeted approach.

A first step towards making positive change is by reaching out directly to small businesses. Small businesses drive our national economies and are responsible for millions of websites worldwide. Most small businesses are not aware of the technical aspects of web standards, but they do want to know what will save them money and help them run their businesses more efficiently.

The Problem

Small businesses are not well-equipped to help them decide if they are hiring skilled professionals to create their web presences. They need to be able to differentiate between roles and stages in a typical web project, and be able to identify good candidates who can help them build digital presences that conform to web standards and current best practices.

Badly built websites can result in reduced users, poor search-engine exposure and in the worst case scenario, the business needing to pay out for it to be replaced within a year. Business owners need to understand how to engage in the hiring process so they get a proper return on investment in what is likely to be a major project for them.

The Solution

This outcome of this project will empower small business owners with skills and knowledge to hire qualified web professionals.

We aim to create a resource that can be used when interviewing individuals and teams to do web work. The core part of this resource is a series of questions that a small business can use for conducting interviews in order to help them determine whether their preferred candidates have the necessary skills to build a modern website. Each question be coupled with background on the associated topic that outlines why it is important and tips for determining how well the question was answered. Other supplementary resources will be included to help small businesses evaluate the quality of the website once built.

Target Audience

  • Primary: Small business owners who are looking to hire professional web designers & developers to build or re-build their website or web application.
  • Secondary: Practicing ‘old-school’ professional web designers & developers who have not yet adopted a web standards approach to building websites & web applications, and do not follow current best practices.

Primary Goals

  • To educate small business owners in the economic & productivity benefits of having a modern website or web application that conforms to web standards and is built using current best practices.
  • To empower small business owners with the skills & knowledge to identify & hire good, professional web designers & developers that have adopted a web standards approach and follow current best practices.
  • To protect small business owners from professional web designers & developers who follow out-dated practices to ensure that they get the best possible, modern website or web application.

Secondary Goals

  • To expose professional web designers & developers who follow out-dated practices to web standards and current best practices.
  • To motivate professional web designers & developers who follow out-dated practices to upgrade their skillset to include web standards and current best practices, using the power of market forces.

The Web Standards Project is a grassroots coalition fighting for standards which ensure simple, affordable access to web technologies for all.

Recent Task Force Buzz

Small Business Update

By Aaron Gustafson | August 5th, 2010

A while back I announced WaSP’s new small business outreach effort and, thanks to your help, we’ve been making great progress.

Back in February, I announced that one of WaSP’s new efforts was going to be in the direction of outreach to small businesses. Since that time, things have looked pretty quiet from the outside, but the Small Business Outreach Committee has actually been quite busy gathering materials and putting together our first document which aims to help small business owners evaluate the competencies of those seeking to do web work for them.

Thanks to the efforts of a handful of WaSP members and a cadre of other web professionals, we’re making great progress. We’ve just wrapped up the material organization phase and are beginning to work on drafting the document, which we hope to have out before the end of the year. We’re also in the process of putting together a website to house “living” versions of the materials we produce and assist with the promotion and distribution of this document and any others we generate in the future.

We’ll post further announcements on this project as we get closer to the launch date.

More Buzz articles

Title Date
A New Direction and a New Project February 2nd, 2010

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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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