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Web Standards

“The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), along with other groups and standards bodies, has established technologies for creating and interpreting web-based content. These technologies, which we call ‘web standards’, are carefully designed to deliver the greatest benefits to the greatest number of web users while ensuring the long-term viability of any document published on the Web. Designing and building with these standards simplifies and lowers the cost of production, while delivering sites that are accessible to more people and more types of Internet devices. Sites developed along these lines will continue to function correctly as traditional desktop browsers evolve, and as new Internet devices come to market.”

Web Standards Group

A graphic depicting html code

Benefits of Using Web Standards

  • A site that is less bandwidth intensive
  • Ability to adapt to future technologies quickly and easily
  • Easy to maintain
  • Compatible with a variety of devices
  • Accessible to many types of users
  • Improved Search Engine Optimization

Examples of Web Standards

  • XHTML – a specific type of html that has specific requirements. Each page has a <doctype> tag at the top that defines the document as XHTML 1.0 Transitional. That instructs browsers as to what type of document they are dealing with and how the code should be handled appropriately. XHTML tags are used to describe the content on the pages.
  • CSS – Cascading Style Sheets are used exclusively for the presentation of the content. An external style sheet is linked into every page that instructs browsers how to display the content that has been described in the XHTML.
  • Separation of Presentation from Content - With properly written XHTML and CSS, page authors are free from the need to concern themselves with the style details, while the designers are able to deliver a consistent look on every page.
  • Semantic HTML – This refers to the process of writing the code in such a way that it accurately describes the meaning of the page content without any reference to how that meaning is to be presented.
  • Valid Code – Code that validates means that it properly conforms to the specifications outlined for it in its <doctype>. Valid code is more likely to display consistently and as intended across devices.
  • Accessibility – Not only is supporting disabled visitors extremely important, in many cases it is the law. But accessibility is also about supporting a variety of visitors with a variety of browsing devices. And it just makes good sense. A site that is designed with accessibility in mind is also more likely to be easier to navigate no matter who is using it.