What are Web Standards for?
Web Standards are designed to:
- deliver the greatest benefits to the greatest number of web users
- ensure the long-term viability of any web document
- simplify code and lower the cost of production
- deliver sites that are accessible to more people and more types of Internet devices
- continue to function correctly as browsers evolve , and as new devices come to market
How are standards based websites different from traditional ones?
Traditional website development is an extension of the printed media. Common characteristics include:
- Table-based layouts
- Presentation information mixed with the content
- Invalid code
- Inaccessible code
- Semantically incorrect code
"Web Standards" website
Web Standards are about accepting the web as a broad communication tool that can be accessed by a wide variety of users and a variety of devices . Common characteristics include:
- Semantically correct markup
- Tables used only for tabular data NOT page layout
- Valid code
- Accessible code (for humans and devices)
- Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to separate content from presentation
Semantically correct markup
Semantically correct markup uses HTML elements for their given purpose . Well structured HTML has semantic meaning for a wide range of user agents (browsers without style sheets, text browsers, PDAs, search engines etc.)
In (very) simple terms, this means:
using heading elements (<h1>, <h2> etc) for Headings (NOT formatting another element like <p>[paragraph])
- using <blockquote> and <q> for Quotes NOT to achieve indendation
- using list elements (<ul>,<ol>) for (you guessed it!) Lists
What is valid code?
Validation is a process of checking web documents against a formal standard , like those published by the W3C (Worldwide Web Consortium). A document that has been checked and passed is considered valid.
Why use valid code?
- Valid code will render faster than code with errors
- Valid code will render better than invalid code
- Browsers are becoming more standards compliant, and it is becoming increasingly necessary to write valid and standards compliant HTML
How do you check if the code is valid
You can check any web document by using the free W3C Markup Validation Service
Alternatively drag the following bookmarklet to your bookmarks toolbar and click on it whenever you want to validate a page:
How did we make the Llandeilo website code valid?
- Starting with the right doctype (in this case XHTML Strict)
- Using a character set and specifying the language
- Closing all HTML elements
- Using alt attributes for images
- Checking every page with the validator
Why did we use accessible code?
- It allows our site to be accessible to the largest possible audience (vision impaired, motor skill impaired, cognitive impaired)
- It allows our site to be accessed by the widest range of devices (hand helds, screen readers, text browsers, search engines)
- It is a (much ignored) legal requirement under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)
How did we make the code accessible?
- Provided text equivalents for non-text elements (pictures)
- Used accessible data tables
- Used accessible forms (label for, id, fieldset, legend)
- Used markup rather than images to convey information.
- Provided skip menus
- Provided access keys
- Use style sheets with relative units for text sizing
- Made sure documents could be read without style sheets
Why use CSS to separate content from presentation?
Our aim is to remove all presentation from the html code, leaving it clean and semantically correct. That way it is:
- More accessible to a wider variety of devices
- Easier to make site-wide changes - one css file rather than all pages
- Smaller files/ faster download - less code on the page
- Less code on the page - easier to code
- Allows users to customise to their own needs
- Gives control over code - can deliver code in preferred order for screen readers
How do YOU benefit from Web Standards?
- Pages will download faster (less code, no overall tables, valid code)
- Content is accessible to wider range of users (normal users, blind users, vision impaired users, dislexic users, motor skill impaired users etc)
- Content is accessible to wider range of devices (screen readers, browsers, text based browsers, hand helds, search robots, printers, fridges etc)
- Allows users to customize site appearance
- Provides print friendly versions for all pages
How do WE benefit from Web Standards?
- Easier to maintain (less code, modular code)
- Cheaper hosting costs (less code)
- Better search engine ranking
- Content can be restyled easily without changing code
- Provides users with customization
- Provides print versions without replicating content
- Improves accessibility (no fear of legal action)
Web Standards deliver:
- faster file download
- accessible code to wider range of users and devices
- user customization
- easy implementation of print friendly versions
- cheaper hosting costs
- better search engine ranking
- faster and more efficient site maintenace
- a vast competitive edge over competitors
If you would like more information on Web Standards or would like a Standards and Accessibility Audit on your own web site, please ring Andy on 01558 822488 or use the form on our Contact page.Top