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Understanding Web Standards

Understanding Web Standards

20 August 2018

Web standards are a general set of rules and technical specifications established by the W3C and other standards bodies, which developers should follow when implementing websites. Web Standards are the foundations upon which the future of building websites lays. To follow web standards means utilising semantic markup and accessibility best practices

The W3C is an international community of member organizations created in 1994. They articulate web standards so websites look and work the same in all web browsers.

Websites and technologies used to create websites are constantly evolving, and standards need to be put into place to ensure interoperability with all browsers, display devices, and methods of access.

The W3C’s mission is to encourage worldwide standards to make the web a level playing field for developers and end users.

Importance of Web Standards

  • Browser compatibility - Clean, valid code displays consistently across the widest range of browsers.
  • Accessibility - An accessible web page is usable with assistive technologies, such as screen readers, and by cognitively impaired users. Meeting accessibility guidelines is a priority for online retailers as laws are now starting to be enforced.
  • Longevity - Developing with web standards allows for good cross-browser compatibility, and the website will support older browsers by degrading well.
  • Scalability - Web pages will display in a wide variety of browsers and computers, including new technology like iPhones, Androids, iPads, PDA devices, mobile phones.
  • Usability - When updating an entire website design none of the content needs to be changed, all the presentation information is defined in a separate file. This helps keep consistency across the site, improving usability.
  • Bandwidth Use - Separation of presentation from content means that overall website file sizes are reduced. Reduction in file sizes can result in lower hosting costs, and savings on bandwidth costs.
  • Search Engine Rankings - Web standards do not allow a lot of clutter in the code. With less clutter search engines have an easier time crawling through a site. A compliant website will also get indexed more accurately.
  • Saves Money - Having a compliant website makes the website easier to maintain since the code is cleaner, which results in easier maintainability and provides access to a larger pool of developers. Since the website is easier to maintain, the time taken to update the website is reduced, saving you money.

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