Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Web Standards: it's about quality, not compliance

Web standards and graphics design are compatible ...

"In spite of the widespread acceptance of Web standards by a specific segment of the design and development community, hosts of professionals – those out there right now creating the Web – are working in direct opposition to these standards. A significant reason for why this is happening and how those not working with Web standards justify their activity boils down, I believe, to something regrettably simple: nomenclature.

So far as I can tell, “Web standards” and “standards compliancy” are exactly the wrong names and terminology for the worthy ideals and purposes that these terms embody. The Web standards movement faces widespread resistance and apathy, in part, for the most ridiculous of reasons. These reasons are unnecessarily supported by poorly chosen terminology and how the message is being communicated.

This is unfortunate, because when you examine the fullness of the technical and experiential results of crafting websites and web applications according to Web standards, and compare the results with efforts not crafted according to these standards, what you’re confronted with is a stark contrast in what really matters: quality. It is the idea of quality, not standardization, which provides the compelling argument for the Web Standards Project and for the W3C. It is unfortunate, however, that they’re not effectively seizing on this important fact and are not appropriately crafting their message for the intended audience. Regardless of what WaSP and W3C are putting out into the community, the proper argument is not being heard and the message is not nearly as compelling as it needs to be.

It is not going off on a tangent to also observe that the fundamental structure and approach exemplified by poorly crafted websites and applications perverts certain foundational elements of the Internet environment; namely, search engines. For unfortunate but understandable reasons, there are too many who view search engines as little more than obstacles or instruments of commerce – something to be exploited and mislead for selfish or competitive purposes.

To conceive of search engines only in this way is to ignore or distort the actual, useful, incredibly necessary purpose of search engines: to index and catalog a vast amount of information, in the proper context, so that it can later be found and accessed according to some fundamentally sound, standardized models. It is irresponsible to hinder this worthy task or to disrupt the related, necessary standards."    (Continued via Design View)    [Usability Resources]

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