Are web standards important?

Are (web) standards important

It’s not important to just persons with disabilities any more. It’s important for search engines, usability, updates to your website and future redesigns.

I admit it. Over the years I have been guilty of designing and developing websites that were hard to update, maintain and when it comes to redesign – a real nightmare. Because they were not adhering to web standards. And I’m not alone. There are millions of websites out there that violates some of the most basic rules.

Maintenance and web standards

Using web standards the way they are meant to be are like safety guidelines, What would New York traffic look like if were not adhering to any rules? When we create a website today we separate out presentation and content so when it’s time for a tweak or complete redesign we are replacing a stylesheet rather then recode an entire site. This will save time and money. Dealing with a large project it is very difficult to change all of the code within the site.

Usability and web standards

Usability is increasingly important. It can make the difference between success and failure. How long does it take for you to make a judgment about a particular website when you see it for the first time? Nor very long I’m sure. If the design is poor or confusing you move onto the next site. Your competition is just a click away. It’s that simple.

It’s difficult to get your new site working perfectly across all browsers but we make sure you are appealing to the majority of people within your particular target group.

What browsers are we designing for?

The most popular browsers being used today are: Firefox 46%, Explorer family of browsers (IE6, IE7 and IE8) 33%, Chrome 13.6% and growing, Safari 3.7 and Opera 2.2% I focus on Firefox and Explorer but now it’s time to optimize for Chrome as well. You can follow the browser trends here. http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp

When your site I following web standards you should be able to get the web site to look the same across all of these browsers. As long as you are ensuring that your design is semantic and standards compliant then you should be able to ensure cross browser compatibility in your web projects.

Search and web standards

You want Google to index your site? Then your site need to follow web standards. Google bots are like most your target audience: if they can’t read your content then move to the next website. Flash will not help you to get to the top of search engines. And poor markup will likely push your website off the first couple of Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) for keywords and phrases that are important to your business.

So my advice to you is: don’t engage in SEO until you have made sure your website is W3C compliant.

Web standards are important for my clients

When it comes time to redesign or modifying your site it will be very clear if you used standards. The effort that was put into adhering to web standards on your site will save you time and money.

Once you discovers that your site doesn’t work in a browser or fails a validation test you are going to ask your web team a some tough questions .

Testing your web design projects on as many browsers as possible and adhere to web standards is the best way to ensure long term happiness with your client’s web sites.

The benefits of using web standards on your site is ensuring that you have to do less work to make new things work on client sites.

Test you site now

Billingskog.com passes a W3C validation test with flying colors, how about yours? Do a simple test and see if your website passes. Go to http://validator.w3.org/ and type in your url.

Web standards are more then passing a validator

Accessibility is major part of web standards, the object of accessibility is making web sites usable for as many people as technology will allow.

The best way is to test your site and see what the validator says. This will start you on the path to achieving accessibility within your web site. Once you have done this, it is time to start testing your site with screen readers and other tools to see if there are improvements that can be made. It can open you up to usability improvements to non-disabled users as well as Search Engines.

Quality and web standards

I love what I do and hope it shows. It is more than good design and going to the trouble of making your site standards compliant, it is about doing quality work and making sure your website aid you in growing your buiness. Quality is paramount in an industry filled with so-called experts that are selling you a short term solutions.

Strategic thinking, good usable design and standards compliant code does not come for free but it does not need to cost you a fortune either.

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