Every web site owner wants their web site to be displayed with pixel perfection in every browser whether it is the current versions of Internet Explorer or Firefox, or using Safari on an iPhone. Web standards, developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), help us achieve this goal.
The Recent Past
Until recently support for web standards was patchy if not almost non-existent in web browsers. This often resulted in building different versions of web sites so that they would look the same in different web browsers, or using crude hacks to ensure conformity of presentation. Inevitably this cost the customer more money.
Modern Browsers help ensure Standards Compliance
Modern web browsers now largely comply with the W3C standards for HTML4, XHTML and CSS2. The latest versions also are starting to comply with HTML5 and CSS3 – even though these standards are not yet fully ratified!
Benefits of web standards
Even though your browsers are standards compliant you still need to build your web site in a compliant manner.
- SEO – Search engine optimization is one very important reason to use web standards. The correct, semantic use of HTML, using the tags for their correct purpose and writing well structured content will ensure that your site validates correctly.
- CSS – Use CSS to separate the structure of the web site from the presentation. This ensures that your site has visual and non-visual meaning.
- Page Weight and speed – CSS can help to reduce the page weight, as you are using less imagery, so your site loads faster.
- Accessibility – sites built using accessibility standards greatly benefit the visually disabled, and often the physically disabled.
- Ease of maintenance – One website that will look the same no matter where it is viewed, easier to build and maintain, and easier to change.