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.
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.
- Web Developer’s HTML Standards Compliance – Why Bother?
- The Real Reason You Should Care About Web Standards
- Whacky Matrix Metaphor Article on CSS Based Design
- Web Standards Organization
- Using an HTML Validator
- Why Validate HTML?
- Acts of Volition’s Open Letter to the Web Design Community: Why should I redesign my site with Cascading Style Sheets
- Why Tables for Layout is Stupid
- Could Helen Keller Read Your Page?
- Web Compliance – So, why bother?
- Buy Only Web Compliant Websites
- Web Standards Group – About Web Standards
- To Hell With Bad Browsers
- Standards don’t necessarily have anything to do with being semantically correct
- Electronic Productivity Solutions – Web Standards Benefits
- From Table Hacks to CSS Layout: A Web Designer’s Journey