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What are Web Standards?

Is your web­site up to stand­ard? It’s im­port­ant that your web­site com­ply with the latest stand­ards – you could be los­ing vis­it­ors. Web Stand­ards were cre­ated by the World Wide Web Con­sor­ti­um (W3C) so the Web would work bet­ter for every­one. A site built to web stand­ards should be lean, clean, CSS-based, ac­cess­ible, us­able and search en­gine friendly.

Here are the be­ne­fits of us­ing Web Stand­ards:

  • Less band­width used
  • Faster load time
  • Easi­er to main­tain and up­date
  • The site will look cor­rect in all browsers
  • Ac­cess­ible to users with PDAs, screen read­ers etc.

The Stand­ards:

  • Sep­ar­at­ing style (CSS) from struc­ture (HTML)
    Web­sites must use cas­cad­ing style sheets (CSS) to con­trol lay­out and present­a­tion. All present­a­tion­al cod­ing should be re­moved from the HTML code, leav­ing it clean and se­mantic­ally cor­rect.
  • Se­mant­ic Cod­ing
    Se­mantic­ally cod­ing uses HTML ele­ments for their cor­rect pur­pose. An ex­ample of in­cor­rect cod­ing is when a web­site uses the <table> tag for lay­out pur­poses, Table markup is sup­posed to be used for data and charts. Us­ing se­mant­ic code for web­site lay­out is also known as “table-less” cod­ing. Well struc­tured HTML helps de­liv­er web­site in­form­a­tion cor­rectly in browsers without style sheets, text browsers, PDAs, search en­gines etc.
  • XHTML and Val­id Cod­ing
    XHTML has be­came a W3C re­com­mend­a­tion since Janu­ary 26, 2000. XHTML is stricter and clean­er ver­sion of HTML. Val­id HTML code will render faster than code with er­rors. All HTML pages should have a <! Doctype >let­ting the browser know what lan­guage the page is us­ing.
  • Load Time
    The site im­ages should be op­tim­ized for fast load­ing. Us­ing large un-op­tim­ized im­ages and in­cor­rect markup, like us­ing tables for lay­out, will slow the page down when load­ing.
  • Ba­sic Us­ab­il­ity
    The site’s nav­ig­a­tion should be easy to un­der­stand and con­sist­ent through-out the web­site. The site should have a Con­tact Page and a Site Map for large web­sites. Homepage links should be a stand­ard and links should be clearly iden­ti­fied by un­der­lines; and vis­ited links should be clearly defined. Learn more about us­ab­il­ity »
  • Ac­cess­ib­il­ity
    A text equi­val­ent should be provided for every im­age, this gives no­tice to blind and PDA users who’s im­ages may not dis­play. The site’s lay­out shouldn’t break if the user res­izes the text. The site should be read­able in a text based browser that doesn’t sup­port CSS. The site should be print­able and should work well in vari­ous res­ol­u­tions and in hand-held devices.
  • Search En­gine Friendly
    There should be a unique Title for each page, fol­lowed by Meta tags like De­scrip­tion and Keywords. These ele­ments are what search en­gines look for when rank­ing and log­ging pages in their data­bases.
  • Browser Com­pat­ib­il­ity
    The web­site should look cor­rect in the vari­ous browsers people use today in­clud­ing In­ter­net Ex­plorer 6-8, Fire­fox, Op­era, Chrome, and Sa­fari.