About Web Standards
What are web standards
Web standards is the term web developers use to refer to the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) specifications and guidelines for markup languages (such as HTML, XHTML, XML and, for document layout, CSS, XSL). The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) develops open specifications (de facto standards) to enhance the interoperability of web-related products. Writing web pages in accordance with these standards significantly reduces the cost of web site production and maintenance and ensures that we develop sites that will work across current and future browsers and other devices, including assistive technology. For more detail see The Web standards project FAQ.
W3C QA "Adding standards compliance to your requirements helps achieve a more powerful, accessible, and maintainable final product..."
The W3C HTML specifications are carefully designed to ensure that pages are viewable across the widest range of user agents, versions and platforms and to maximise accessibility. Following these recommendations means that your web site is much more likely to work, both now and in the future:
Accessibility: standards-compliant sites make it easier to interpret HTML as speech or Braille and help ensure that information is displayed correctly, independent of platform. The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) have produced 10 Quick Tips . make Web content accessible to all users regardless of their disabilities or browser platform.or constraints they may be operating under (eg noisy surroundings, under- or over-illuminated rooms, in a hands-free environment, etc.)
Compatability: new browsers will be standards-compliant, so if your web site is too it is more likely to work - both now and in the future. Standards generally allow forward and backward compatibility ie pages continue to work in new browsers while still producing acceptable results in old browsers
Visibility: greater visibility in web searches - the structural information in compliant documents enables more accurate indexing by search engines
Information Sharing/Transfer: standards play a key role in our ability to share information
Easier maintenance: a standards-compliant site is easier to understand and pages are easier to edit/error-check/maintain
Adaptability: ability to adapt to future developments while accommodating past technologies
Faster display: standards-compliant code is easier and faster for a browser to display (the browser doesn't have to guess what you meant)
Easier Validation/Conversion: compliant code is easily validated and content can more easily be converted to other formats
Using web standards and separating structure from presentation will bring many short and long-term benefits including easier site management, improved accessibility, faster loading web pages and compatibility with more browsers - see Mozilla's Business Benefits of Web Standards.
How to make your site standards compliant
Validate your entire site using WC3's Markup Validator and WC3's CSS Validator.
Fix any invalid code - the main problems tend to be:
Incorrect or missing Doctype statement:
<!doctype html public "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN">
No natural language definition:
Define the natural language as english:
Show any subsequent language changes.
No character set:
<meta http-equiv="content-type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1">
Missing invalid or unquoted attributes:
(width=120 should be width="120")
Scripts not defined correctly:
Script goes here.
Use of deprecated HTML code:
Do not use proprietary code and avoid the use of deprecated code. ; use Style Sheets for formatting text, adding colour to the page and alignment of elements.
For accessibility reasons, avoid:
Opening new browser windows - this breaks the browser back button. Always warn users if a new window is to open.
Make validation part of your web site production process be accessible and standards-compliant.
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