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What are Web Standards?

05/15/2009 05:40 PM

The buzz on the web is about web standards and accessibility but what does that really mean? Imagine a roadway system built upon rules based on each individual driver. One driver might interpret a speed limit sign to be a speed suggestion sign; a red light to mean go; a left arrow to mean turn right. This would make driving inefficient, difficult, and well dangerous.

Apart from the hazardous aspect, the web without web standards is indeed more tedious. Web Standards are recommendations by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) for web designers to use in order to make their sites more readable for everyone and the code leaner (which means faster loading). People with disabilities can better navigate the information on a website adhering to web standards as can people using non-traditional browser such as voice browsers, Braille browsers, and handheld browsers. And with standards in place, a web page will maintain its integrity on different browsers creating a better viewing experience for a wider audience.

A web standards compliant web site will include most of the following:

1.A seperation of content and presentation.
HTML/HTML is used for displaying information semantically but is neatly seperated from the styling code by using CSS to add color, margins, font-sizes, etc.

2. Adherence to a DOCTYPE declaration.
Whatever doctype is declared (HTML 4.01 Strict, XHTML 1.0 transitional, etc.) will be properly adhered to and be able to validate.

3.Accessible design.
Users who do not use a mouse can navigate by using the "Tab" key. A strong color contrast exists between text and background colors. Increasing the text size does not break the general design of the web page. Images have ALT tags and html tags are used the way they were intended (i.e <h1> for a heading and <p> for a paragraph).

This is a short list to help you understand the importance of Web Standards. For more information please visit the links below:

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