Web (W3C) Standards
Todays web is about now! Visitors and potential customers WILL NOT wait for a slow and/or incorrectly rendered site!
Sites designed according to standards render properly so what you see is what your customer gets.
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is the main international standards organization for the World Wide Web (abbreviated WWW or W3).
W3C was created to ensure compatibility and agreement among industry members in the adoption of new standards. Prior to its creation, incompatible versions of HTML were offered by different vendors, increasing the potential for inconsistency between web pages. The consortium was created to get all those vendors to agree on a set of core principles and components which would be supported by everyone. W3C publishes documents that define Web technologies. These documents follow a process designed to promote consensus, fairness, public accountability, and quality. At the end of this process, W3C publishes Recommendations, which are considered Web standards.
Web standards are not arcane laws decreed by ivory-tower organisations. The standards are mostly decided by representatives of the same people who use them — browser makers, web developers and content providers. Writing web pages in accordance with the standards has numerous benefits as discussed below.
So what were those benefits again?Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization is a very important reason to use web standards. When we design web sites using xhtml and css we are effectively separating structure from presentation. This not only gives your pages visual meaning but also allows meaning for non-visual users and programs (search engines).Ease of Maintenance
Simply put, it is alot easier to maintain a well structured site, as apposed to one that was developed using presentational HTML hacks. Troubleshooting and debugging become easier too, because the code follows a standard. You don't need to maintain different versions of the same site for each browser, just one valid standards compliant site for all.Page Weight
By using CSS for presentation, you are able to significantly reduce the page weight of your document. This reduces internet traffic hence saving on costs and also allows for a quicker loading page as once the CSS file has been cached, they will simply need to load your images and (X)HTML, which will be less weighty, once removed of the presentational markup.Stability
Web standards are generally designed with forward and backward-compatibility in mind — enabling data using old versions of the standards will continue to work in new browsers, and data using new versions of the standards “degrade gracefully ” to produce an acceptable result in older browsers.
How to tell if a site is valid and adheering to standards.
All the sites we develop validate according to W3C standards! No exceptions. If you find a site of ours that does not validate it will be because it is based around a Content Management System where users have added content using a WYSIWYG editor and have inadvertently introduced some minor problem markup.
I am sure you will have seen these logos about the web.
If your site validates you are entitled to display it. Personally I find the graphics rather unsightly and prefer to add a themed link instead.
As far as standards go, most of todays Australian website designers and developers are a great dissapointment to say the least. A few weeks ago I googled webdesigner and went to their portfolios. Using the W3C Validation service I began my quest for a valid site, after checking 50 sites I gave up!! Try for yourself. You'll be amaized.