In my own market of web designers in Windsor / Essex, Ontario, there are some firms and agencies that preach to clients — usually via their websites — about why web standards are important.
One particular Windsor web development company even features a lengthy article in which they discuss the importance of compliant HTML and CSS code. Ironically, the web page that holds that article has 17 HTML errors, and a whopping 45 CSS errors when put through the validator.
Unconscionable really, given that many consumers won’t know that everything their article discusses was largely ignored when that very page was built. Reading that sincerely authored article really ticks me off. What’s worse, is that it might even prompt an unsuspecting consumer to engage their services, even though that poor client likely won’t be getting what they believe they’re paying for. They’ll try to cloud the process with jargon, and in the end the client will be left hoping they got their money’s worth.
Is your website made of straw, or bricks?
I’ve got a confession to make. Not every page I create will always validate either. The difference is, when my pages don’t validate it’s because I’ve done some progressive enhancement to take advantage of the latest technologies. Either that, or I’ve made a conscious choice to make the trade off for functionality that better serves my client and their website users. I take great pride in crafting flawless – or near-flawless code. Figuratively speaking, I make websites out of bricks — the best bricks money can buy. Sometimes, a few “errors” are forgivable, especially if they don’t “break” the page, but enhance usability. After all, the web is for people. Web development can sometimes involve trade-offs, but selling your soul and taking blatant shortcuts is wrong.
Technology is moving at a speed that leaves many in the dust. Some can lag behind, and it’s perfectly acceptable. Our parents, for example, may have decided that they have no need for the internet. They still go about their days just as they always have, and are happy to do so. Web developers, however, can’t afford to rest on their laurels. We need to make the surfboards on which the rest of the world rides the wave of technology.
Living, eating, and breathing standards-compliant code
The back end “techie” stuff that makes web pages appear on your computer screen is always changing. Even when the standards don’t change for a short while, the browsers through which we visit web pages probably do. Even the types of devices we use to view the web are becoming more numerous. For all these reasons, you need a web developer that’s on top of it all.
In your search for someone to build your website, make sure to find someone who understands W3C standards. Hiring a company building websites that are at least “standards-friendly” to begin with should be your goal, for some very important reasons:
- Your website will be navigable by the widest possible audience
- Updating the code as the standards advance will be faster, thereby saving you money
- A site-wide redesign can be accomplished by changing the style sheet(s) alone, rather than every page, once again saving you money
- Browser makers are becoming increasingly diligent about their standards compatibility
- Search engines can more easily and accurately index your website
Beyond these reasons, the future of the web is not uncertain. It’s most certainly the way we access most of our information, and that practice is not going to slow or stop. The web is not a trend, or a fad. For better of for worse, it’s the world’s foremost method of connecting us all. You need someone knowledgeable in your corner, who can confidently help you take your business into what the web has to offer next.Tags: technology