Google, meet Web Standards
In the last few months I have written a couple of posts about the lack of Web standards and semantics in the code Google uses. The most recent one is Google valid and strict, where I present a quick rewrite of the HTML and CSS used for Google's home page. It's basically just a proof of concept to show that Google would benefit from using Web standards.
A few weeks prior to that I noted that Google Accessible Search rewards accessibility. It turns out Google could have done a lot better, but it's certainly a step in the right direction despite being focused on blind and visually impaired people and not exactly leading by good example in the accessibility and Web standards departments.
However, in that article I also mentioned Joe D'Andrea's work on a Google Search Appliance Mobile Stylesheet, which he describes in Google Goes To Web Standardsville, Part One. That got my hopes up about Google eventually fixing their markup. With that in mind I was very excited when Joe contacted me some time ago to let me know that he was working on a complete rewrite of the XSLT used by the Google Search Appliance.
The intention was, of course, to make the code used for the GSA's search interface conform to Web standards, be accessible, and work in all devices. Joe asked me if I would be interested in taking a look and suggest improvements. You can't really say no to a request like that, can you?
After a bit of suggestions and tweaking and back-and-forth, the Google Search Appliance XHTML Stylesheet is now available for the Google Search Appliance. The Stylesheet will make the GSA interface use Web standards – XHTML 1.0 Strict for structure and CSS for presentation. Instead of going into the details on how this was developed, what it does, and what it means, I'll refer those who are interested to Joe's detailed article Google Goes To Web Standardsville, Part Two.
Here's hoping this will lead to google.com eventually being converted to Web standards.