Ten reasons to learn and use web standards

If you’re a web developer or designer new to the concept of web standards and are undecided on whether you should spend the time to learn all about them or not, here are some of the most important reasons for doing so.

For web professionals who are already using web standards, this list may come in handy when you need good arguments. And feel free to add any additional benefits you can think of.

1. Make yourself look professional

Other web developers and potential employers will be able to look at your work and know that you are a person who likes to keep up with changes in technology and make sure that your knowledge and skills are always current. It will make you look like a real web professional.

2. Make your clients look good

Use web standards combined with best practices for accessibility and give your clients a chance to talk about how they cater to all people, and how they find it important that everybody can use their services or find information about their products. You will also avoid the bad publicity that can be caused by shutting out visitors like disabled people, Mac users, and mobile phone users.

3. Maximise the number of potential visitors

You don’t know which device visitors will use to access your site. You may think you know, but unless you’re building an Intranet for a company that has a policy on which browsers may be used you really have no idea.

The only thing you can be reasonably sure of is that they are using something that can parse HTML. By using web standards properly you make sure that you have done your part in making your site work with the largest possible number of browsing devices.

4. Faster loading and reduced bandwidth usage

Well-structured markup that separates structure and content from presentation is generally much more compact than table-and-spacer-image-based tag soup. Documents will be smaller and faster for visitors to download. Like it or not, there are still many, many people connecting to the Internet through dialup.

If your site has a hosting plan with a limit on free bandwidth usage, smaller documents will reduce costs - provided traffic doesn’t increase.

5. Provide the foundation for accessibility

Using web standards does not guarantee that all aspects of your site will be accessible to people with disabilities, but it is a very good start. Make sure your documents are valid, well-structured, and semantic, and you’re well on the way towards having an accessible site.

6. Improve search engine rankings

Well-written content delivered through clean, well-structured, and semantic markup is delicious food for search engine spiders and will help your rankings. This, of course, will lead to increased traffic, which is what most website owners want.

7. Make your markup easier to maintain

Would you rather wade through many kilobytes of multiply nested tables and spacer images or just browse through a clean and well-structured document when you need to update your site?

Removing, inserting or editing presentation-free content is much easier and more efficient than having to make sure you get all the presentational cruft right. Using CSS to control layout also makes it much easier to make site-wide design changes.

8. Future-proof content

There is no way anyone can guarantee with 100% certainty that the documents created and stored electronically today will be readable in a hundred years. Or even fifty years. But if you separate content from presentation and use current web standards, you have done the best you can to ensure that your content can still be read even after you’re gone.

9. Good business sense

Why would any business owner say no to more visitors? A faster site? Improved search engine rankings? Potential good publicity? It doesn’t make sense to do so.

10. It’s the right way to do things

The web standards way is the way we should have built the web from the beginning. And now that we can, why not do something the right way and have a really excellent reason to feel good about yourself.

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Posted on December 6, 2005 in Web Standards

Comments

  1. Point 5, 6 and 7 certainly ring true. The rest of the points are rather subjective.

    In my experience executive duhcisionmakers don’t give a hoot about quality, as long as they got an intarwebs.

  2. Congrats for writing it all down! I now have a reference for anyone who tries to make an argument about nested tables and no use of CSS :)

  3. Roger, I also believe Web Standards empower clients:

    Q. How well did my designer make my site?

    A. Type your URL into the W3C Markup Validator and get an instant answer - no HTML knowledge required :-)

    Not forgetting the CSS Validator and WebXact Service

    Of course, those tools cannot test for correct use, and sometimes a little knowledge can be dangerous - but if all sites passed those tests, we’d be a long way down the good road, wouldn’t you agree?

  4. (4) Saving bandwidth is a great reason and so is shorter download time.

    (7) I don’t agree that web standards compliant sites are easier to maintain. If it is not you (the designer/programmer) who maintain the site and you don’t use a CMS and the person who maintain the site is not an (X)HTML and CSS savvy you will run into problems. There is no good WYSIWYG editor for web standards compliant sites. For the unprofessional user it was easier to use FrontPage with a tabled based site.

  5. Thanks for a great list, Roger - this is definitely one to come back to, refer to and point other people in the direction of.

  6. Point 7 only rings true if you ignore the elephant in the corner of the room. There’s a big problem - organisations already have websites. And those websites are intricate and big.

    Point 7 only really comes to fruition when you have the opportunity of getting rid of everything and starting from scratch. Which doesn’t tend to be the case, especially in FTSE 100 companies. I’ve been through two major redesigns, and neither did we have the luxury of just throwing everything away and starting from scratch. It takes about a year to two years to work our way through everything.

    And in that transition time, a developer is stuck between supporting both the amateur approach and web standards approach. That makes it more complex to maintain.

    You offer the choice between complete web standards compliance, and the amateur methods - and this isn’t a realistic or practical option. The choices in the scenario laid out about are:

    • Stay with amateur methods.
    • Bring in web standards.

    The first option is far more preferable, because the way the site is built will remain consistent. The second method involves trying to support both approaches for the medium-term future. And that’s just not appealing.

    Point 3 is not an absolute. There’s a cost involved in chasing the fraction of an audience that isn’t served by their current sites. If a site works on IE, Firefox, Opera and Safari - its job done (from an organisation’s perspective). Typically the audience outside of that is a tiny fraction, and in a great number of cases, just not worth the pain and effort of changing.

    (Have a look at this story: “UK financial organisations offer Firefox support” - its dated 16th November 2005. And only now, when Mozilla is peaking at 10% are UK financial companies recognising the importance of supporting it - and the value for doing so. Firefox wasn’t on their radars even six months ago - when it was hovering at 6-7%. And the support is still not web standards based. Its a depressing sight, but a familiar one.)

    Thanks for not promoting “It works on a mobile” as a main argument. I appreciate it.

  7. December 6, 2005 by Roger Johansson (Author comment)

    Woolly: Some of these points are obviously subjective. Feeling good about what you do can’t really be measured. Neither can looking good in the eyes of your peers.

    Steve: While passing validation indicates some kind of knowledge of web standards, I have seen several recent cases where sites are tweaked just to pass validation. They still consist of a mess of non-semantic, class-ridden span and table elements.

    Raanan: You as the designer or developer are the one who needs to deal with the markup when the site needs changes.

    There are CMSs that can be tweaked to produce markup that is reasonable clean and semantic, provided the editor learns how to structure documents.

    Isofarro: Of course there are cases where you can’t start from scratch. I don’t see why you shouldn’t at least make an effort though. Bring in web standards step by step if necessary.

    What would be the problem with bringing up mobile phones? Web standards, semantic markup, and skip links really make a huge difference for mobile phone users.

  8. Great to see these comments here. Personally, I would love to see developers using the (X)HTML, CSS & WAI icons on their websites. It isn’t a matter of stroking the developer, it’s a matter of client and visitor awareness that standards actually do exist. It is so unfortunate that so few of them actually know.

  9. Roger, I’m a regular reader of your blog and want to thank you for doing such a great job :) This is my first post to your site. The thing is I’m working as a Web Developer and my company just hired two new guys to be at my side in the web team. The problem I´m having is defining web standards for my presentation. So I was wondering, can we come up with a short description of what the term web standards means ?

    Is the following somewhere near you definition of the term?

    Web Standards refer to methods for creating web sites that are internationally agreed on as best practices and use the recommendations such as HTML, XHTML and JS developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

  10. “It’s the right way to do things” - but why some numerous people do it in wrong way.

    Nice list, can be useful when talking to a client.

    Best Regards,
    Marcin

  11. Ric: One company which has just started prominently displaying XHTML, CSS and WAI icons is dabs.com. Although the way that they’ve been tacked onto the end of the page with nary a thought in the world for how they look, it’s a very positive sign that they have decided to wear their heart on their sleeve in this way. Hopefully more companies will follow.

    One thing which I feel is currently standing in the way of the icons being used more is that they just don’t look very nice! What would be good would be to have an updated set of icons obviously available (maybe some already exist?) which just look nicer. Frankly, to me, the limited colour palette used by the current icons is just too chunky and ugly.

  12. December 6, 2005 by Marc Luzietti

    I agree with everything except 7. I’m getting into some massively complicated CSS (with exceedingly minimal use of spans and no div soup). The interaction between all of the different sections is intricate. I had to break the stylesheets up into multiple .css files long ago, just to keep pages to a humanly readable length. Figuring out which selector is the one creating the problem is a bit of a pain.

    Admittedly, it would be somewhat easier if we weren’t using Weblogic or IE correctly supported standards. That’s not the fault of the standards, but the reality is that CSS can be very much a pain in the posterior.

    One of the advantages I think you missed is that standards based websites mean job security and decreased competition from “Cousin Earl.” Most designers simply can’t understand the code and even Dreamweaver can’t handle complicated CSS layouts. That, for now, requires human brains, and trained ones at that. I can work on a WYSIWYG site, but a WYSIWYG designer can’t work on mine.

  13. Great list. But, “disabled users, mac users…” If someone in my office were to read that they would say something like “is there a difference?” Just pointing out the possibility of a mean joke. hehe. By the way, I am an avid mac user. ha.

    This list is GREAT. I am going to print it right now, because I am making a collection/research of why using standards is so important to a web professional.

    Thanks for the list.

    Peace, Nate

  14. Last but not least: You won’t get hired if you don’t.

  15. This is very true. I usually use #6 SEO to justify the time spent on the code.

    “hey man, you told me you wanted to be #1” .. look at the sites your competing with.

    More and more, I am finding cleanly coded results higher in the rankings. Gee .. I wonder why. Even if you cant show your client a better coded site above him, then thats his new edge :) Either way I have gotten pretty good at getting my clients to understand the concept, just by just focusing on search engine results, since no one says they want to rank lower.

  16. Excellent post! I’ll be printing this one out and giving it to everyone I work with in the future.

    I’m glad someone finally wrote them all down in one place. Thanks!

  17. Neil: Did you notice that although dabs.com displays the links, the pages don’t validate. They almost do but they still use ampersands in querystrings instead of the full HTML entity.

    Definitely good that they’ve actually started taking a look though.

  18. I have to say that I have observed that we as an industry must stop and think about who we are talking to.

    We need to stop telling each other (those of us who care about standards, semantics and accessibility) and start working to make the business world demand standards. We spend so much time trying to convince tag soup chefs that they need to make standards based sites when they are busy satisfying client demand for pretty websites that look like print ads or TV commercials.

    We as real developer/designers, along with other industry organizations like the W3C and WSG and other groups need to start working with business to show them not tell them how standards are better so then they, those that follow them will demand standards, accessibility and semantics and all the benefit they bring.

    We also need to understand that business is often wooed by awards and the successes of the firms they hire, whether of any value or not. Jay Conrad Levinson (father of Guerrilla Marketing) points out that too many business owners want to work with award winning ad firms but many ad firms make ads to win awards and not to increase client profits.

    Business will invariably spend money with award winning web design firms because they want to bask in the glow of association and assume (incorrectly) the money will follow.

    We need to appeal to business by showing them that there is no better and expressing publicly the value and advantage of engaging in standards etc.

    I could rhyme on this all day…

    All the best, Jay

  19. Ditto on #7. I recently did a very tiny project for someone and it took me several hours to update a single page because I was trying to track down the right code to make the change. I eventually broke down and figured out how to use the design view in Dreamweaver again.

  20. Paul: I’ve just had a quick look at the source of dabs, and I’m definitely seeing &s instead of &s, and it’s validating fine at validator.w3.org. Admittedly I haven’t delved any deeper than the homepage, but it looks good from here.

  21. That first & was meant to be an &

  22. Okay - I’m out! It was meant to be an ampersand entity. (The preview showed it as the whole & amp ; bit, but then transformed it into an actual & when the comment was posted, Roger)

  23. Great article! I translated it into German. Was that ok? my translation

  24. Roger, All ten are right on. I don’t know how you can really argue any of those especially on larger scale websites. I mean really, if these were the 10 commandments of web development, Jesus would have came back and said number 10: “Because it’s the right thing to do”. Seriously, that’s what it all boils down to. If you don’t, then you’re doing it the wrong way.

  25. I couldn’t agree more with the points you stated Roger. However, its a hard and long process to implement this kind of forward-thinking when you’re working in a company that is very business-minded. Well, all companies are, but theres a number that really want to justify project-time with quick end-results (aka. profits).

  26. Yes, I was involved is some of the site critiques during the development for the new dabs.com website its good to know at least they are trying with accessibility.

  27. Roger, great list! I like all the points. I usually use MACCAWS for my reference when needing a list of “reasons for using web standards.” “Because it’s the right thing to do” is usually not on my list, but it does sum it up nicely.

  28. The points 4,5,6 and 7 are main points for me. Thanks for posting this listing. I’d like to discuss it with german readers.

  29. Several readers have opined that standards-compliant code is not easier to maintain — I beg to differ. I’ve worked on a large e-commerce site with nasty nested tables and font tags strewn about, resulting in a general tag soup. We’re moving to standards, but there’s a ways to go yet. Thing is, whenever a page broke, it was hell to find the error. On my own sites, I just throw the sucker into a validator and see what pops out. You simply can’t do that with an invalid page.

  30. There is so much Web standard work needs doing to improve my day job website that it’s going to take a lot of work and persuasion to fix! I read Zeldman’s Web standards bible 2 Christmas’ ago, but it’s been a long battle to see change.

    A lot of people and companies don’t really understand what accessibility REALLY means, as in, accessibility and good usability for ALL. But any little improvement is good right?

  31. December 7, 2005 by pauly

    I agree seperating design from content is a great idea, But in my opinion CSS is not the solution. CSS is, I think we can all agree, at least anyone who has attempted any designs that aren’t basic blog templates, a big pain in the neck to use. The tags were not designed with any thought put into the basics that relate to design, the grid. Try teaching students or training up staff of a company how to create a pure css website and they’ll run for the hills. It is just not ‘accessible’ itself as a language. So in my opinion, seperating design from content , I agree. Accessible website - fine. But CSS as ultimate solution to do it? I don’t think so. The myth by css techies that any ue of tables makes a website inaccessible does more damage than good. A balanced, middle ground solution is needed.

  32. I’m not sure if it’s been mentioned up there (you get a lot of comments so quickly, hooray!), but I find that I can make sites with even complex layouts so much easier now than if I tried to make the same layout with tables and whatnot…

  33. I’d just like to ask everybody that is there any proof on #6: “Improve search engine rankings”? I’ve been doing standard compliant sites for a while, mainly for the reduced bandwidth and easier site wide look & feel control AND the seo gains. My sites have done great on search engines, but I have no real proof that they wouldn’t have done great as table layouts. Is there somewhere a real study on this? Like comparing a site done twice with same content but different kind of markup, one using tables/invalid HTML and the other one in strict XHTML.

  34. Maximize*

  35. in response to the 4th comment; so you think that manually tweaking every h1 tag would be simpler than tweaking just one h1 tag?

  36. December 7, 2005 by Roger Johansson (Author comment)

    anon: maximize = US spelling, maximise OR maximize = UK spelling.

  37. I’ve got a questions for everyone…

    I design with web standards for every client I get from my freelancing, but I also have a day job designing for a large company with many websites, and I’ve thus far been unable to convince them to go standards-compliant.

    I think these are all good points in favour of design standards, and I employ them all when speaking with clients. The one fact, however, that seems to always come back and bite me in the ass — especially at my day job — is that table-based non-standard websites “look good” on more browsers than standards-compliant sites do. If I had a dime for everytime someone told me “…our site looks all screwy in [insert old buggy browser name here]!” …well I’d have a lot of dimes.

    How do you all argue against the fact that many visitors don’t use current, good browsers to view your sites, and therefore often see what looks like a total mess? I can argue the above points to a client until I’m blue in the face, but at the end of the day, none of those points are as impactful as a visitor telling my client their website is broken.

  38. Pauly, grid design is a weakspot of IE’s CSS implementation, not of the technology as a whole. In other browsers one can use CSS’s table layout propertes to achieve exactly the same thing one would with an html table, but with whatever tags are semantically appropriate.

    In practical terms, this does indeed mean that CSS for production sites lacks the rudimentary grid capabilities of HTML tables, but in many cases these can be emulated with floats, absolute and relative positioning, background images and so forth. Its not always easy, but it mostly can be done. And where it cannot, then a simple layout table isn’t the end of the world.

  39. ZenBug, to which ‘old, buggy browsers’ are you referring? 4.x and older browsers have long since descended well below 1% of the traffic on almost all the sites on which I’ve worked in the past year. Pretty much all 5.x browsers are capable of doing pretty darn well with CSS, modulo an ugly float/clear bug or two (looking at you, IE 5/Mac). Those bugs can typically be worked around, though occasionally it takes a soupçon of scripting to do so.

    Regardless, the key is to sell the idea that ‘works’ <> ‘looks identical’. Show decision makers what happens when a low-vision visitor selects ‘ignore website font sizes’ in Explorer and zooms the fonts. ‘Looks identical’ just isn’t possible. ‘Works for everyone, looks great for the vast majority, handles edge cases gracefully’ typically is.

    Another tack to take: if you could cut your bandwidth bill by, say, 10% by shifting to web standards (use figures from the actual site in question to the extent you can get them), is it worth it to forgo that savings for browsers used by < 0.5% of your audience? What if you can cut maintenance costs by 10% as well?

    Finally just DO standards-compliant work, to the extent you are able anyway. Don’t wait for approval. That’s how Linux has been getting into the enterprise: savvy admins have just installed it when they needed it. The same may work for standards.

  40. Isofarro, I’m not sure I agree that supporting both approaches is so difficult. After I arrived at my current job, I began moving them towards web standards. We’ve been supporting both approaches ever since, and while it does require that everyone be at least minimally competent in two aproaches it isn’t particularly more work than supporting the amateur approach alone, and indeed the workload goes down as the number of sites using the amateur approach decreases.

    That said, I work for an agency rather than a large company. We maintain maybe 30 or so small to medium sites for different clients rather than one massive sprawling site. I expect this does make a difference.

    Even so, large organisations like ESPN have made the switch. So it doesn’t seem to me that transitioning from amateur to professional approaches is necessarily quite as difficult as you make it seem.

  41. setmajer:

    I am indeed referring to version 4 browsers like Netscape Communicator, as well as IE5/Mac. The other day we even had a complaint about a pre-IE5/Mac browser.

    Let me ask you this (again, I am pro-standards, but just for argument’s sake): If you can justify forgoing compliance with old browsers on the basis that very few visitors use them, couldn’t the same argument be made against accessibility? …I’d wager that the number of our visitors who are disabled or visiting on PDAs, and the number who are visiting using dead browsers are roughly the same, if not scewed in favour of the dead browser folk.

    This has always bothered me about the Accessibility argument for standards. Perhaps designing for cell phones, PDAs and such devices would help us in the future, but arguing that as a reason to overhaul our sites now just doesn’t hold much weight for my employer. I don’t know how many people are using those devices to browse the Web, but I suspect it’s very few thus far.

    And as for your third point, at my particular job, “just doing” standards-compliant work without approval would surely get me fired, not to mention the complaints about site breakage on old browsers.

  42. December 7, 2005 by Roger Johansson (Author comment)

    Zenbug:

    If you can justify forgoing compliance with old browsers on the basis that very few visitors use them, couldn’t the same argument be made against accessibility?

    No, because we aren’t shutting old browsers out. They just don’t get the presentation layer (CSS). All vital functionality should still be available, no matter which user agent or browsing device you use. That’s a huge difference.

  43. I agree with Marc up there (comment n°32): once I have my basic layout ready, I just tweak the style sheet until I get just the right structure. The separation of code and style allows me to focus on each aspect of webdesign seperately and I tend to avoid mistakes that way. The whole process gains in clarity and flexibility.

    Using web standards is indeed a first step toward accessibility. If you have structured your documents properly, try and load them in any browser with the CSS turned off and take a look: they will be as readable as they are with the CSS on.

    I agree though with Raanan Avidor (comment n°4): if your site is maintained by non-(x)html savvy folks, expect font, align, missing alt attributes and all kinds of ugly markup. I’ve been there a couple of times and it’s terribly frustrating.

    Now all this is fantastic, but what about using Web Standards in a huge redesign project for a database driven massive website? I only work on small scale project, you know, institutions and samll NGOs type thing but I wonder how I would handle the issue on a bigger project.

    Thanks for this great summary Roger, love your posts so I thought I’d drop a line (this is my first comment here).

  44. December 8, 2005 by Marc Luzietti

    ZenBug,

    I know what you mean. My last big consulting job required me to support Netscape 4/Mac! As hard as I pushed to move to an all CSS design, I could make little headway. Even when ESPN made the move, we couldn’t. Some 5,000 of our unique IP Address hits per month came from that browser … in 2003!!! While it was a small percentage, in absolute terms we weren’t going to be alientating that many doctors, since they were the ones prescribing our product for consumers.

    Our clients (including our day job) call the shots. You make your points, push your position as best as you can, but at the end of the day, they make the decision. Standards, CSS, accessibility, etc. should be goals, not commandments. Standards make our lives easier, make it easier for us in the future. They aren’t our masters. The marketing department is. ;-)

  45. Awesome article Roger. I recently got my website to be XHTML 1.0 Transitional valid, but I am wondering what the added benefits of being Strict valid are. Keep up the good work, from a fellow 9ruler.

  46. December 9, 2005 by Dustin Diaz

    I don’t understand how “Using web standards on small scale sites is easy, but for large scale sites it just makes it difficult”. That’s an oxymoron if I ever heard one.

    The fact of the matter is, CSS and standard driven websites make websites easier to maintain. All 10 of these reasons tell us exactly why. It’s just dumb to go without css. You’re creating more work for yourself.

  47. Great article. It reads like a list of best practices for search marketers. Thanks for the great list Roger.

  48. Don’t get sucked into the hype if you’re new at this. Yes it’s cool to use standards, but the reality is, one can become too micro-focused.

    You may get a few suprises if you validate Google.com or Amazon.com. They have at least 40 errors.

    I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to be a standards nazi, i’m just advising to have some balance. I’ve run a Web Dev business for 6 years, and i’m just speaking from my own experience with small to medium business.

    Cheers :)

  49. December 9, 2005 by mattur

    This is a great blog. I understand why people post articles like this. I understand why people people flock to post affirmative comments like those above. But it can’t go on.

    Take Google’s homepage. Is it inaccessible because it does not validate? Does it minimise the number of potential visitors? How much bandwidth would they save by adding a doctype? Quoting attributes? Using XHTML?

    I’d like to see a more objective analysis of the “web standards” credo, particularly statements like:

    The web standards way is the way we should have built the web from the beginning.

    The problem with your statement is that the Web is a spectacular success. Was Mosaic wrong to introduce inline-image display? Where would ecommerce be without Netscape’s SSL? How does AJAX fit into this worldview?

  50. Thank goodness somebody is objective. Good call from the poster above.

  51. mattur: The “problem” is that HTML, born out of SGML, has/had only one dominant purpose - visual display of data. If you started a discussion about saving bandwitdh, keeping code down to a minimum, etc, with a SGML information architect writing documentation for Volvo or Boeing, you’d be totally laughed at. No serious SGML programmer bothers about “browsers”, download speeds, etc. The only thing that matters is semantic code and structure that validates. This is due to the fact that the SGML code will be used and reused in so many different ways - PDFs, prints, Excel sheet, etc. I think this is what (X)HTML “programmers” should consider too, since we’re approaching a more semantic web, thank god..

  52. December 12, 2005 by Roger Johansson (Author comment)

    Take Google’s homepage. Is it inaccessible because it does not validate? Does it minimise the number of potential visitors? How much bandwidth would they save by adding a doctype? Quoting attributes? Using XHTML?

    Google’s homepage is a pretty minimal one, so the markup mess doesn’t affect accessibility too much. It doesn’t minimise the number of potential visitors, but by using invalid code there is a real risk that some browsers will have problems of some kind.

    Since you mention bandwidth I just had a quick look, and I managed to recreate the Google homepage in valid HTML 4.01 Strict and dump all the layout tables. As a result I reduced the file size by a couple of hundred bytes, despite quoting the required attributes and adding a DOCTYPE and a bunch of CSS rules.

    The problem with your statement is that the Web is a spectacular success. Was Mosaic wrong to introduce inline-image display? Where would ecommerce be without Netscape’s SSL? How does AJAX fit into this worldview?

    Of course new technologies and features need to be allowed. But that is no excuse for not getting the basics right.

  53. December 13, 2005 by mattur

    Roger,

    Thanks for taking the time to reply. I think you’re being slightly disingenuous to say Google’s markup “doesn’t affect accessibility too much”. In the recent User Vision survey of people with disabilities, Google was unanimously voted easiest to use web site.

    Regarding your impromptu re-write, you don’t mention that older browsers would see a sub-optimal page, and that you could save even more bandwidth by removing the doctype, unquoting attributes etc - but that’s not the point, is it?

    The point is: critical analysis has not been deprecated (yet) ;-)

  54. @Mattur:

    Google’s home page is an edge–case, and thus is a poor example when regarding accessibility.

    It is an edge–case BECAUSE of its simplicity—how many other real-world, viable, commercial web–based businesses could get away with having a single form on the page? So is the accessibility due to the mark-up or due to the simplicity of their offering?

    That said, your points about SSL and AJAX are well–taken and well–said.

  55. Good list. In the end, the top reason for me is that it is the most client focused method to creating websites.

    The tag soup method of creating tables within tables, and having to rely on Dreamweaver to be able make any sense of the layout is not maintainable. Yes, CSS layouts require a bit of new thinking up front to learn, but I bet it makes a whole lot more sense for someone coming into web design now, rather than using the hacks table based layouts have always represented. I think people forget, while their are hacks around using CSS layouts, the whole idea behind using tables to control layout is a hack.

    I’ve been using CSS layouts since 2002, and haven’t looked back since.

  56. All the reasons are valid and we must count them all.

    This is reallly nice post.

    Thanks for this

  57. I think Isofarro’s complaint is that using two development methods at once is confusing. Of course it is, particularly when everybody in the office but you knows only one of them and you know only the other.

    Semantic HTML for all but very unusual sites is actually very easy to understand. Blind kids can type it out from memory in my experience. It isn’t hard in those cases, though there will occasionally be sites that require more complex markup.

    The problem, as suggested by previous commenters, is the complexity of CSS, particularly when trying to track down dependencies. I am not even remotely good at the latter and have quite a bit of sympathy for everybody else who has to suffer through it.

    It could be said that simple sites become dramatically simple with Web standards, while complex sites become slightly less complex. Both categories end up as better sites, though the degree of improvement and effort involved will vary.

  58. The most simple and beneficial list I have seen in awhile. There is a lot of developers out there using and advocating these basic practices but there is even 100 times more who do not even care.

    Lets make the web a better safe to play, read the aforementione web standards list and put those guidelines to practice. Please!!!

    At the end of the day a clients bottom line is what drives any web experience so we all must do what we can to push lead steer them in the correct direction.

    Content Heavy

  59. February 14, 2006 by Steve Morris

    I have found that if you duplicate the google website but make it conform to strict html, then the ‘sign in’ link in the top corner is hidden beneath the vertical scrollbar (using ie)

  60. The list is excellent. I am sure you’ve gone through Zeffrey Zeldman and Eric Meyers deeply. Keep it up.

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