You have likely found this page while looking for information on web standards. You have probably heard the buzz words W3C and web standards and are wondering what they mean and how they affect your website, or you are getting a website designed and wondering if you're new website needs to confirm to web standards. Well, we aim to explain what web standards are and in reality how it will affect your website.
What are the W3C and web standards?
W3C stands for World Wide Web consortium and the W3C was formed in October 1994 by Tim Berners-lee the inventor of the World Wide Web. The W3C oversees internet development and tries to bring standards and best practices when designing for the internet.
They govern standards for many things including HTML, CSS and XML. On their website you will find a wealth of information on how to make your website web compliant.
There is also validating software to check if your webpage's pass the W3C Validation test. W3C also aim to make website's more accessible and useable to people with handicaps.
Therefore, how do you make your website conform to these standards? Basically, to make your website confirm to web standards you have to follow the standard specifications and practices for internet languages, these languages include HTML, XML and CSS.
There is much debate to what web standards actually are and the option may vary from person to person. Confused? Well don't be, just try to consider web standards as recommendations. As Robert Nyman says in his blog:
"There aren't any Web Standards, only Recommendations"
The reality of Web Standards and W3C Validation
In a perfect World, everyone would follow web standards and everything would be fine, however, in reality over 90% of all webpage's don't conform exactly to these standards. Why is this? Well there are so many different programs and script's running on website's these days. Did you know that companies like Amazon.com, Microsoft.com; even Google.com fails the W3C validator?
Another major problem is there are lots of different browsers out there made by different companies that interpret code differently, for instance a website may work fine in Internet Explorer but not work correctly in Firefox, Opera and so forth. Just ask any web developer, and he will be only too happy to explain to you the problems they have with browser incompatibility. Just make sure you have a spare few hours when you do.
As a result, what web developers have to do is use what they call work around's and this can cause problems with validation. Furthermore, developers have to follow the client's wishes. A client may want a certain cool feature in their website but this may cause it to fail validation.
Therefore, if you're worried about web standards then stop, as long as your website works well in all major browsers this includes text browsers then you have nothing to worry about.
There is one other point that should be mentioned, beware of some website design companies who claim to make your website web standard compliant, this will unlikely make your website anymore money, and it is very unlikely that it helps your website search engine optimisation efforts in achieving better results in the search engines.
If all a website design company can do is say they will make it conform to web standards then that's all they really have to offer you. If they were professional and skilled designers they would focus on making your website usable, more accessible to everyone and SEO friendly. At the end of the day that's what web standards are trying to achieve and is something Cozy Digital is dedicated to doing.
Matt Cutts Leading Spokesman for Google describes Google and The W3C and why it doesn't give a boost to sites that validate.