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Meet Them: Benefits of Compliance with Web Standards

Before you can get your web page or blog noticed, you have to make sure all the parts fit together and it works properly.

Why? Well, in order to be seen, the page has to work. In other words, all the pieces and parts must be read by the user’s Internet browser, interpreted, and displayed upon the user’s screen. This seems like a simple task, but there is always a wrench thrown in to make it a little more complicated.

Currently, there are about a half dozen popular Internet browsers. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is the most popular, closely followed by Firefox, Opera, and Safari. An Internet browser is software that interprets a web page’s code (HTML, CSS, PHP, etc.) and visually displays the content so it is easy to view and read. Different browsers feature different ways of interpretation, therefore you need to make sure your site’s coding can be read by the majority of browsers. Let’s look at HTML compliance and how to meet the W3 Organization’s standards and compliance guidelines.

Benefits of Compliance
Only good can come from complying with web design standards.

  • Everyone can read it
  • Viewable by any Internet browser
  • Viewable by any computerized system
  • Viewable by foriegn language-enabled computers
  • Viewable by different types of hardware and software media (cell phones, handheld computers, Web Tv, etc.
  • Avoid lawsuits from non-compliance
  • Search engines adore your pages
  • Faster page loading times
  • Greater odds of visitor return
  • Easier to update, repair, and change in the future

In 1994, a group of web designers and programmers got together to create standards for universal access in web page coding. The World Wide Web was to be the “face” of the Internet, and these people were determined to make all the information available on the Internet open to everyone, no matter what kind of computer or software they were using – and no matter what language they could read. They wanted it open and available, without limits.

This meant that the page not only had to be visually “pretty” for those with eyes, it had to “sound” and work pretty for those who are dependent upon other senses. An accessible web page should work on a computer monitor, with a browser that can’t “see” the graphics, with “reader software” (software that “reads” out loud what is on the screen), braille readers (converts content to a special board that produces braille), and can be used by someone without the use of their arms or hands. With an estimated 20% of all Internet users physically challenged in some way, the need for this kind of access is critical.

Ah, but they didn’t limit the concept of accessibility to only the physically challenged. Millions of people want access to web pages on handheld computers, Web TV, and cell phones. Access for all means access for all.

The W3C created a uniform code for the programing language of the World Wide Web. They set the standards for approval and modification of the code and developed methods of validating that code. Internet browsers slowly caught onto the idea of standardization and today web designers can pretty much design web pages from one set of standard code. This benefits everyone. it’s like everyone speaking the same language at an international meeting – we all understand more.

Part of creating standards for the web is the challenge of compliance. There are no rules that state web page designers have to follow the standards set up by the W3, but if you want to design web pages for everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, then best play by the same rules as everyone else so everyone can access your pages.

Why Validate and Maintain Web Design Standards

There are a lot of reasons to meet web design standards, but one of the biggest reasons is search engine friendliness. The cleaner your code, the more error-free, the happier you make search engines. Google and others actually score points for validated and compliant website code. The easier it is for search engines to crawl through your site, the faster you end up in their database, working on your page rank.


  1. Posted November 14, 2005 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    I visited a leading**cough**cellular telecommunications industry website last week using Firefox. I wish they had tried to meet web standards–they would have earned US$400 plus a two-year contract…

  2. Posted November 14, 2005 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Oh, very good point. I’ve had a horrible time even accessing documents and information on the IRS and other US Government pages that are not accessible or even Firefox capable. I have to run IE in order to get them to work. Very, very bad form.

    In England, all government websites are required to meet accessibility standards, which should include viewability and function no matter which browser is being used. The fines are huge. Hopefully, they all have complied, but the US, as in most things nowadays, though the propoganda says otherwise, is WAY behind the times.

  3. Posted November 26, 2005 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Sure, web standards are really cool and stuff, I always code in XHTML 1.0 Strict, and your article was very helpful, but I just wanted to say one thing: coding valid doesn’t mean browser compliance. It happens often enough that you write valid code but that it ends up messy in Internet Explorer. Luckily, there are also browsers such as Firefox 😀

  4. Jonathan Mark
    Posted April 11, 2009 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Nice article and it really did open up my eyes.Thanks.

  5. Posted August 6, 2009 at 2:42 am | Permalink

    Some times a caompletely valid code may not appear as it should in internet explorer 6 😦

    “at least 60% of the designers time is spent on making it work with ie6”

32 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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