What are Web Standards and why should we use them?
Not everyone knows about them, some may never have heard of them, some have a vague idea, some do not care for them and some think its 'table free sites' or 'using valid code'.
Good Web Designers & Web Developers of today and the future code with standards in mind. It's not enough to design and develop your site using XHTML and CSS. The structure, layout, design and code has to be accurate and also representitive of the client's business, aims and goals, whilst also making them accessible and usable.
One of the benefits of using valid code ensures your site will be uniformly represented across the different web browsers which are currently being used and also future browsers, this will also help with search engines.
If your site is built using web standards, search engines can easily traverse through your content for indexing. Content will also get indexed with badly coded sites but you run the risk of not getting indexed at all if your site is not crawlable and this will also force browsers into Quirks Mode with invalid code.
Adhering to standards also shows that the developer knows what they are doing. To most people a website may not look any different on the front end, but increasingly clients are specifically requesting standards compliant code. It is far easier to work together if everyone is using standards, this promotes trust and confidence in the projects' outcome.
Other web developers may check out the source code of a website, to view the structure and out of sheer curiosity, to learn new things or to see how they can leverage certain aspects for their own sites! Some may also check the website against WAI Accessibility and Section 508 standards and many more.
Those who are looking to improve upon standards will formulate views based on these factors and although you may not care for these standards they are in place for the greater good of web standards across the Internet.
Lots of sites on the Internet are still making mistakes by using invalid XHTML and not adhering to the DOCTYPE in place (What's a doctype? Essentially it is a declaration at the top of an HTML or XHTML file so that the document is rendered in standards mode by more recent user agents). Web sites not using a DOCTYPE properly can force browsers into Quirks Mode which can have the effect of not rendering the content as expected.
The examples above are to give a brief awareness of why using and adhering to standards is important for your business, not only that, but you should be able to trust your designer will do their utmost to create a workable web site.
By using best practices and keeping code valid you can make the site more accessible and usable. In other words, a site built to web standards should ideally be lean, clean,
CSS-based, accessible, usable and search engine friendly.
The W3C Group have guidelines on Buying standards compliant web sites.
Some websites on the surface may look good or ok, but looks can be deceiving and it's not always apparent that the underlying structure is flawed or not as effective as it could be. Again, this is another reason why you should use a company that strives to create a better experience for your users and target market by adhering to standards.
If you bought faulty goods in a store, you would want your money back (and be entitled to it) for the lack of a properly working product. There should be no reason to think otherwise with your businesses website. You should choose a company which can create a professional and usable experience for your business and your potential customers!
At MultiLayer Design, adhering to web standards is highly relevant and part of our own business rules, which both offer significant benefits to our customers. This ensures work of a high quality on an ongoing basis.
You also want credibility for your business too and as your design company we respect your business and provide results which can be trusted!
Some of the key benefits of our approach are:
- Improved Accessibility
- Cross Browser Support
- Search Engine Friendly
- Cleaner, Maintainable Code
- Reduce Costs of Future Development (and Maintenance)
- Project Confidence
- Add Trust From Your Business
MulitLayer Design aims to conform as much as possible to the main standards below. The new Accessibility standard WCAG 2.0 has been added to our list of standards to adhere to. Standards are essential building blocks for a better web and a better web experience.
XHTML is an XML implementation of the HTML 4 standard which aims to rise beyond the capabilities within HTML 4 itself. We target either the XHTML Strict (or when necessary, Transitional) Document Type Definitions (DTDs).
W3C CSS -(Cascading Style Sheets)
Cascading Style Sheets provide a flexible mechanism to add visual effects and complex layout to (X)HTML documents whilst also permitting the developer to separate content and structure from layout and styling. We use the validation services provided by W3C to ensure that we conform to their recommendations - helping us produce CSS which operates equally in all of the mainstream web browsers.
W3C WAI-AAA -(Web Accessibility Initiative)
The Web Accessibility Guidelines published by the W3C's Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) provides a set of rules and regulations for the implementation of web sites, helping ensure good accessibility throughout.
These include simple points such as always providing alternative text for images and much more - for instance using different visual indicators to show content - rather than relying on a single one (e.g. colour, which may not be ideal in a situation where a user suffers from colour blindness).
Where to next?
A Web Design & Development Company focusing on good accessible web design. Our business ethos is geared to adhering to Web Standards & Accessibility with empathy towards web users.
Considering using MultiLayer Design for your next project but don't know where to start?
To see how we can be of benefit to your business, contact us today
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