Why Web Standards?
As mentioned in our reasons why to choose us we touched briefly on web-standards. This is something I’ve felt needs a little more explaining, and it’s worthwhile taking a read through this article if you are unsure what web standards are, or how they might apply to the design and development of your website.
Firstly what exactly are these web standards that we are talking about? Like many other fields of study, the web has governing bodies that put in place standards and specifications that designers and programmers should adhere to. The biggest of these governing bodies is the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium).
Using web standards ensures that your website will look great on modern browsers and will still be functional on older browsers. Utilizing web standards has a number of advantages:
- Better support for new and old web browsers
- Improved accessibility to all browsers and to people with disabilities
- Decreased bandwidth and server space
- Better placement on search engines like Google
- Faster page loading
- Better separation of the user-interface (look and feel) from page content
- Lower maintenance costs
Unfortunately not all web design companies follow these standards, and very few consumers know that there are standards for such things in place. Make sure you ask the web design company you want to do business with if they use these standards.
Think of it this way, having a website is like getting a house built. You can either build it on a sound, inspected foundation – or you can built it without.
If you were getting a house built would you consider hiring a cheap contractor, getting some cheap drawings and having your house built on a backbone of cheap labour? In the world of construction this would likely involve the shortcutting of inspections and standards and the hiring of relatively inexperienced labour. The consequences of choosing this option might include high maintenance costs, perhaps a leaky roof, or some questionable or potentially dangerous electrical wiring.
The other option of course would be to hire the right people for the job, ensure that they follow the rules and standards set out by your city or the construction associations, and ensure that they employ quality workers, materials, and practices.
Similarly with a website you can certainly get it done on the cheap using inexperienced labour, but the consequence of not following web standards and accessibility guidelines is:
- Improperly structured code resulting in higher maintenance costs.
- Lower search engine results
- Slower page loading times
- A website that will not display properly on cell phones
- A statement that says the disabled cannot access your website
- Poor display or your website in older browsers, or in newer ones that are released every year
We urge everyone to consider finding a designer and developer who are willing to work from a basis of web standards. You can check if their past websites are standards friendly by:
- Visiting the W3C website validator
- Entering in their website address and hitting the “check” button.
- If the website fails by hundreds of errors it’s really bad code, if it fails by only a few chances it’s better, and if it passes it’s ideal
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