Is your website up to standard? It’s important that your website comply with the latest standards – you could be losing visitors. Web Standards were created by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) so the Web would work better for everyone. A site built to web standards should be lean, clean, CSS-based, accessible, usable and search engine friendly.
Here are the benefits of using Web Standards:
- Less bandwidth used
- Faster load time
- Easier to maintain and update
- The site will look correct in all browsers
- Accessible to users with PDAs, screen readers etc.
- Separating style (CSS) from structure (HTML)
Websites must use cascading style sheets (CSS) to control layout and presentation. All presentational coding should be removed from the HTML code, leaving it clean and semantically correct.
- Semantic Coding
Semantically coding uses HTML elements for their correct purpose. An example of incorrect coding is when a website uses the <table> tag for layout purposes, Table markup is supposed to be used for data and charts. Using semantic code for website layout is also known as “table-less” coding. Well structured HTML helps deliver website information correctly in browsers without style sheets, text browsers, PDAs, search engines etc.
- XHTML and Valid Coding
XHTML has became a W3C recommendation since January 26, 2000. XHTML is stricter and cleaner version of HTML. Valid HTML code will render faster than code with errors. All HTML pages should have a <! Doctype >letting the browser know what language the page is using.
- Load Time
The site images should be optimized for fast loading. Using large un-optimized images and incorrect markup, like using tables for layout, will slow the page down when loading.
- Basic Usability
The site’s navigation should be easy to understand and consistent through-out the website. The site should have a Contact Page and a Site Map for large websites. Homepage links should be a standard and links should be clearly identified by underlines; and visited links should be clearly defined. Learn more about usability »
A text equivalent should be provided for every image, this gives notice to blind and PDA users who’s images may not display. The site’s layout shouldn’t break if the user resizes the text. The site should be readable in a text based browser that doesn’t support CSS. The site should be printable and should work well in various resolutions and in hand-held devices.
- Search Engine Friendly
There should be a unique Title for each page, followed by Meta tags like Description and Keywords. These elements are what search engines look for when ranking and logging pages in their databases.
- Browser Compatibility
The website should look correct in the various browsers people use today including Internet Explorer 6-8, Firefox, Opera, Chrome, and Safari.