The Web Standards Project » Outreach Working together for standards Fri, 01 Mar 2013 18:30:30 +0000 en hourly 1 Web Design Course Materials Licensed to W3C Wed, 08 Feb 2012 12:01:25 +0000 cschmitt As professional web builders we know that the web is constantly changing and our methods and practices must respond and adapt as well.

There are so many new disciplines web professionals need to be know about, if not specizlized in, that weren’t around ten or even five years ago.

It’s not always easy to keep on the latest and greatest in web and mobile tips, tricks and techniques.

Sometimes it’s downright difficult.

If it’s hard to keep up with the changes as professionals, so it must be even more so for our teachers of the craft.

InterACT Curriculum

For the past several years, a group of dedicated and talented volunteers have been working to help fix that.

Our Education Task Force has developed a world-class curriculum – we’re talking about tools for teaching.

Materials such as syllabii, quiz questions, recommended readings, and more aid in creating web professionals that are ready for the job market that so desperately needs young, competent web builders.

With such a strident resource, professors, educators to teach standards-based web design and development in their own classrooms.

Available on our web site, Web Standards Project InterACT Curriculum have found their way into some forward-thinking classrooms all over the world.

And it’s totally free.

Web Standards’ Textbook

In addition, the Education Task Force published a textbook based off the curriculum titled InterACT with Web Standards.

This web standards textbook is a available from Peachpit, which has published classics such as Jeffrey Zeldman and Ethan Marcotte’s Designing with Web Standards and Dave Shea and Molly E. Holzschlag’s The Zen of CSS Design.

InterACT and W3C Join Forces

Today, I’m happy to announce that the curriculum reaches even more people than ever before.

The InterACT Curriculum developed through Web Standards Educational Task Force has been licensed to W3C.

Through their resources and network, the curriculum will be used to teach companies and organizations, large and super-large, about standards-based education.

And it only seems appropriate that InterACT finds yet another home that is the W3C.

The Educational Task Force’s InterACT was one of the primary catalytics that led to the formation of the Open Web Education Alliance (OWEA) under the W3C.

We Need Your Help

To continue to expand the curriculum, the Education Task Force needs your help.

You don’t need to be a self-proclaimed web guru or a mobile ninja to help.

We people that specialize in all facets of web and mobile design and development that includes copywriters, content strategists, user experts, project managers, and more.

There’s room for everyone and, frankly, it has been and will continue to be people like yourself reading this message right now that will make world-caliber educational material.

Join the Team

Contribute to a curriculum that gets in the hands of tomorrow’s builders today.

Fill out the contribution form or reach out to EduTF leaders, Glenda Sims and Mark DuBois to ask how you can get more involved.

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Beyond the Blue Beanie? Wed, 30 Nov 2011 15:53:17 +0000 Stephanie (Sullivan) Rewis You put on your blue beanie every year. But you can make a difference throughout the year.

blue beanie for web standardsFor several years, web workers passionate about web standards have donned blue beanies for one day to bring attention to the importance of using web standards, keeping the web open, and continually moving it forward. We dutifully change our avatars on social media sites and the pictures on our web sites for a single unified day—this year on November 30. Of course this bewilders high school, college, and other non-tech friends on sites like Facebook, but we disregard their confusion in our eagerness to advocate the advancement of something we believe in. The following day, we return to our typical avatars and photos, all while making plans for a funnier, more creative blue beanie avatar for the next year.

What if there is more?

What if wearing that cute little blue toque was only the beginning of a continual journey?

  • But I’m just a single developer…
  • I don’t have an organization behind me…
  • The company I work for doesn’t really care…
  • I can’t really effect anything, why bother…
  • I already work 60 hours a week—I can’t fit anything else in…
  • I don’t really have any original ideas…
  • Other developers know so much more than me…

These are just a few of the excuses that play in our heads when we contemplate doing more than putting on the beanie once a year. Today I’m happy to announce a new project, put together by a group of very passionate web folks, that can enable your entry into the process of moving the web forward—no matter what skill level you’re currently at—Move the Web Forward.

From the site:

Our goal is to make it easy for anyone to get started contributing to the platform, whether that’s learning more about how it works, teaching others, or writing specs. The web has grown due to people like you, and we want to make it even easier for people like you to give back.

The web page is packed full of a generous range of ideas, from how to learn, and how to help other people learn, to how to hack the web and contribute to specs. There are few excuses left when the ideas are well organized allowing you to pick and choose what you, or your organization can handle. I’m impressed with the generosity of time and effort this group of devs have contributed to put this amazing resource together. Don’t miss it — Move the Web Forward!

You can make the web as awesome as you want it to be. Browser vendors, standards editors and library creators actively seek your voice and your contribution. Together we can move the web forward.

Also check out Addy Osmani’s article on Smashing Magazine with more details on just how you can help move the web forward.

As the saying goes, many hands make light work. How fantastic would it be if there were so many hands that the burden didn’t fall on just a few? Together, let’s make the web rawk even harder!

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The Sherpas are Here Sun, 13 Mar 2011 16:49:51 +0000 agustafson Today, I am very proud to announce the launch of our newest endeavor: Web Standard Sherpa. This project has been the better part of a year in the making and we’re really excited to see it finally launch.

Web Standards Sherpa came about because we wanted to create a repository of best practices information while, at the same time, providing mentorship opportunities for practicing web professionals. With those goals in mind, we began to throw around ideas of what that could look like and we realized a pseudo-critique site could fit that bill perfectly. We say “pseudo” because the reviews we’ll be posting on Web Standards Sherpa are not traditional critiques, but rather focused reviews of a particular aspect of a site.

The elevator pitch on the site sets it up well:

Web Standards Sherpa’s experts provide helpful, pragmatic and up-to-date advice on best practices for web professionals everywhere.

In terms of format, our plan is to bring on amazing authors for a period of 3-6 months or more at a time, with new articles coming out weekly. We’ve kicked things off with pieces by Erin Kissane, Jared Spool, and yours truly; Dan Rubin and Derek Featherstone are on deck for the next two issues.

In order to get the ball rolling, we’ve chosen a handful of sites to look at, but our goal is to have users submit their own work to get honest feedback. We’re not looking to tear down your work, but we are looking to help everyone get better at their job. If you’re struggling with your navigation, for instance, you could submit your site and ask for our thoughts. If you’re unsure your approach to scripting a particular widget is the most efficient or are concerned about its accessibility, you should submit that too. We see Web Standards Sherpa as a way to let you glean advice from some of the smartest folks in the industry and provide you with the opportunity to learn from real world examples of what people are doing right and where there is room for improvement.

We hope you’ll help us out by “feeding Shirley” (our mountain goat mascot) and submit your sites for review.

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Small Business Update Thu, 05 Aug 2010 21:01:03 +0000 agustafson 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.

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A New Direction and a New Project Tue, 02 Feb 2010 17:08:12 +0000 agustafson A lot of you are probably wondering where the WaSP of the late ’90s or even the early ’00s has gone. Where are the actions? Where is the advocacy? Who should we be mad at today?

The truth is that this organization is evolving. For the last two years, a large amount of our focus has been placed on education, realized in our creation of the InterAct curriculum framework and the birth of the Open Web Education Alliance. With the lion’s share of our talent and energy devoted to these efforts, things have been noticeably quiet on this blog, but that’s not an excuse…we can and should be doing more to promote the understanding and use of web standards. After all that’s what we were formed to do.

For the last two or three years, WaSP’s relevance has definitely diminished. With a few exceptions, browsers are doing a darn good job of promoting standards. Techniques we championed, such as Unobtrusive JavaScript and Progressive Enhancement, have become engrained in the methodology of many great web agencies and in-house web teams. In many ways, it seems WaSP has won the war for web standards, but has it really? There are still a ton of small web companies and small to mid-sized businesses building websites with little or no regard for cross-browser /cross-device compatibility. Inaccessible sites and applications, especially in this age of Ajax, seem to pop up every few seconds.

These projects have been put together by web designers and developers we’ve never reached and, for the last few years, we’ve been trying to figure out how to change that. Sure, our education effort is a logical means of teaching the next generation of web designers and developers to do things the Right Way™, but what of the practicing professionals who either have not been exposed to web standards or have been reluctant to upgrade their skill set? How do we reach them?

One way we hope to move this group in the right direction is by doing an end-run around them in reaching out to small businesses.

Small businesses drive our national economies and are responsible for millions of websites worldwide. Of course, most small businesses don’t know (or even want to know) about 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.

As the first project in our small business outreach effort, WaSP will be developing a resource to be used when interviewing individuals and teams to do web work. The focus of this effort will be a series of questions that, when asked of applicants, will help a small business determine whether or not they have the skills necessary 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.

Our goals for this project are two-fold:

  1. To support small businesses by protecting them from bad developers and making sure they get the best websites possible; and
  2. To expose individual designers and small web shops to web standards when they go out to bid on projects in hopes that they will choose to upgrading their skills in order to continue getting work.

In order to make this project a success, we need your help. Whether you are interested in helping us collect and organize the content or are keen to promote the resource once it’s complete, we want you to be involved. If you can lend a hand, please say so in a comment on this message and I will be in touch at the beginning of next week.

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Support the W3C Validators Sun, 21 Dec 2008 01:52:50 +0000 Kimberly Blessing Give today!]]> It’s not often that Web folk are asked to give money to support Web Standards, so when the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) asks, we ought to listen up.

The W3C has launched the W3C Validator Donation Program to give Web people and organizations the opportunity to support what must be one of the most commonly used tools by those in our profession.

Think about it — how many times a week do you ping one of the validators to check your HTML, CSS, or feeds? Don’t you occasionally run the link checker on your site to find broken links? If you’re like me or any of the designers or developers I know, you probably rely on these services a fair bit.

As explained by Olivier Théreaux in his recent blog post, the donation program isn’t about paying for bandwidth or servers, it’s about continuing to improve the validators to support new languages, to fix bugs, and to add new features.

So what are you waiting for? Get in the holiday spirit and give to the W3C Validator Donation Program!

I heart Validator

Polish Translation

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Want to set up a Web Standards Café? Fri, 28 Nov 2008 08:23:14 +0000 hswan As a hat tip to Blue Beanie Day 2008 and in the spirit of helping spread the word of web standards, the International Liaison Group thought we’d celebrate by putting together a Web Standard Café Kit.

Web Standards Cafés have been held all over the world bringing together people passionate about the web and making it work for everyone. They’ve always been a great place for web professionals to share, learn and network while being local and free of charge.

Recently people have been asking what is involved in running a Web Standards Café so we thought we’d document what we know to help you get started and give you some ideas of what they’re about if you want to run your own meetup.

The kit includes information about who events are for (everyone!), venue’s, sponsorship, promotion and sharing photo’s, slides, video and so on. It’s really just a few ideas to help you get started and is for you to take and use in a way that works for you in your region.

The kit is a work in progress so if you have any questions or tips you want to share we’d love to hear them. If you already run a Web Standards Café or meetup and would like to be listed in our soon to be published list of global meetups then leave a link below with any comments and we’ll add you to our list. We’ll also be adding content to it over time based on any feedback.

It’s currently available in English and Spanish but we’re always on the look out for more translation. If you’re interested then email the ILG Co-leads and let us know.

Finally, a huge thank you to Chris Bush for all his editing and Francisco Aguirre for the Spanish translation.

Update: The Web Standards Cafe Kit is now available in the following languages:

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Call-to-action: Save the UT Accessibility Institute Fri, 29 Aug 2008 21:27:43 +0000 jcraig The University of Texas is closing its Accessibility Institute today. Non-profit Knowbility has started a petition to save it.

Though you may not have heard of the Accessibility Institute, you have been influenced by its work. Its late founder, Dr. John Slatin, was the former co-chair of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG2), and was an influential mentor to many of the web standards evangelists, including myself and current WaSP group manager, Glenda Sims. If you’ve ever attended SXSW, you know Austin has one of the most vibrant web accessibility communities in the world, thanks to the hard work of Knowbility and the University of Texas Accessibility Institute. The knowledge shared by these groups has influenced web and software developers worldwide, resulting in a more accessible web used and enjoyed by all of us, disabled or not.

The importance of accessibility research and development was echoed this week by retailer Target’s decision to settle its web accessibility discrimination lawsuit by the National Federation of the Blind (NFB). The story was covered in many US and international news outlets, and the the outcome of the case is a timely wake up call to the business world that good design is accessible, universal design.

The Accessibility Institute’s influence for the greater good cannot be overstated. The decision to close it on the eve of the universal design revolution is a poor choice by the UT Administration. If you agree, please sign the petition to keep accessibility research and development alive and well.

Update: This post has been translated into Polish.

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Announcing the WaSP Curriculum Framework Thu, 31 Jul 2008 13:18:40 +0000 steph In parallel to the wonderful work that Chris Mills and team are doing on the Opera Web Standards Curriculum, the Education Task Force has begun efforts since March this year on a complementary project: the WaSP Curriculum Framework. Our framework aims to identify the skill sets and competencies that aspiring Web professionals need to acquire to prepare them for their chosen careers.

In order to help educational institutions to identify and include material for these competencies, we are creating a set of foundation courses that can be readily adapted into an existing program at a college, school or university.

The framework will include a collection of tools:

  • Course overviews
  • Recommended course dependencies indicating what students will need to know before beginning each course
  • Learning competencies describing what students must master in order to receive a passing grade
  • Ideas for assignments and test questions that allow educators to measure a student’s mastery of each competency
  • Recommended textbooks and readings, including articles from the Opera Web Standards Curriculum and other reputable sources
  • A list of helpful resources, tools, and utilities specific to each course that will help both educators and students

Why is it called a framework? Given the velocity at which Web technology unravels, we recognize that required skill sets can change rapidly, and that the best way to keep this material useful is for the education community to enrich it with their expertise and experiences. In this way, the WaSP Curriculum Framework will be a “living curriculum” that we hope would be a knowledge base of required skills.

The framework will include guidelines to help educators around the world develop assignments and learning modules that address issues specific to their classrooms. These independently developed teaching materials can then be submitted back to the WaSP Curriculum Framework for review and potential inclusion in the project.

We are also actively working on connecting with other organizations and institutions to create as comprehensive a curriculum framework as possible.

We encourage everyone to get involved by contributing content to the framework upon its initial release in March 2009. In the meantime, join the WaSP Edu Facebook group to share your insights and participate in the discussion. Of course, there is always the WaSP EduTF public discussion list if Facebook isn’t your thing.

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Curriculum Survey Results Mon, 28 Jul 2008 16:22:57 +0000 rdickerson Early in 2006, members of the Web Standards Project Education Task Force and the World Wide Web Consortium Quality Assurance Interest Group first met to discuss the need for a standards-based curriculum to aid Educational Professionals in higher education teach modern Web techniques. At that time, it was decided that more information was needed and could be gathered with a survey. Questions were formulated and much of the next year was spent taming an unruly survey engine. 

The survey was launched in the second quarter of 2007 and educators in both secondary and higher education were targeted. The survey ran for approximately three months. After many starts, stops, and delays (which included the recruitment of Industry and Educational Professionals to the Task Force), the results of the survey are available.

When Educational Professionals were asked what their biggest challenges to implementing a curriculum for best practices, including accessibility and Web standards, they indicated the lack of appropriate materials and reference materials. With both the Opera Web Standards Curriculum and the Web Standards Project Curriculum Framework in active development, this should no longer be an issue.

Later this year, the Education Task Force plans to run another iteration of the survey. We hope to have multiple translations of the survey at that time. If you are interested in translating the survey into another language, please contact the Education Task Force.

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