Those of you who aren’t in the Website business probably don’t think much about web standards. In fact, you may not even know what the phrase “web standards” actually means. That’s why I’m here. As the Director of Internet Marketing, I’m here to answer your Website questions…so here I go.
What are web standards?
Web standards are a set of guidelines created to specify how Websites should be designed and developed. Yes, you read that correctly. There is a rule book, and the best designers and developers in the Website business follow the rules.
Who creates or writes these standards?
Web standards are developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an international industry consortium with members that include Microsoft, Adobe, Apple Inc., and many others.
Why has the W3C created web standards? What’s the point?
Web standards are all accessibility. The W3C is working toward creating a universal standard that will help to ensure that anyone anywhere has access to the same information. Whether you’re browsing on a 24″ monitor or a mobile device, whether you’re blind or have 20/20 vision, whether you’re using Internet Explorer or Safari, you can have full access to a Website that is compliant with web standards.
What specifically are the standards that should be followed?
To read about the exact guidelines, click here.
Do all Website designers create sites that are standards-compliant?
Unfortunately, no. Many designers are still developing sites that only work on one type of browser (often Internet Explorer) and that can’t keep up with ever-changing innovations in Website design.
Why don’t all Website designers create sites that are standards-compliant?
Some designers and developers believe that the standards are limiting; they fear they cannot be both creative and compliant. But the best designers and developers know this isn’t the case. They know that the standards often make the time-intensive parts of development faster, allowing for more time to be spent on creative design.
Do the sites ADCO creates meet web standards?
Yes! The strategists, designers, and developers at ADCO Interactive are committed to accessibility so we ensure that all of our sites are standards-compliant. We want the sites we create to be accessed and used by all people, including people with disabilities and those using unconventional browsers like voice browsers that read Web pages aloud to people with sight impairments or Braille browsers that translate text into Braille.
Why should I care about having a site that meets web standards?
There are three primary advantages to have a standards-compliant site:
1. Sites that meet web standards display properly across platforms and browsers, meaning that all people will have access to the information on your site.
2. Sites that meet web standards are more easily indexed by search engines. If you ever want your site to show up on search engine results pages, it has to first be crawled and indexed by search engines. Standards-compliant sites are friendlier to all search engines.
3. Sites that meet web standards have been built to grow with innovations and changes in the World Wide Web. You’ll be better poised to integrate new media advances into a site that is compliant.
Is my site compliant?
Maybe. Odds are, if it is more than a couple years old, it does not meet current Web standards, and it may be time to consider developing a new site. If your site has been developed in the past two years or so, it may have been built to be standards-compliant. The only way to know is to have a Website developer take a look at its HTML code.