Who sets the web standards?
Standards for the web are set by the World Wide Web Consortium www.w3c.org. Essentially the W3C set standards for both the webpages that make up the internet, and the web browsers used to view those pages. Websites and browsers that meet the standards are often described as compliant.
Why does meeting the W3C standards matter?
- If you do not meet the standards then:
- you have no guarantee what your website will look like to visitors;
- your website may be unusable in some web browsers;
- your website may become unusable to visitors after a browser is updated to a new release;
- Users who use add-ins to help them surf the web may not be able to view your site.
We have seen the look of horror on the faces of some website owners when they realise just what unusable means in practise. Meeting standards really does matter, and this does not include any legal obligation that organisations may also be under to ensure accessibility of information to all users.
How do I Check for W3C compliance?
If you visit the W3C website, you will find much technical information that may seem rather obscure to you. Fortunately a series of free tools are available to check compliance are also on the site. The Unicorn validator integrates all the checks into a single tool. You can check any website, so be nosey and check out sites large and small.
Getting and keeping a website free from errors takes effort. For the stand alone website, every update is a potential source of errors and a check for compliance should be made after every update.
If the site is built using a CMS, then some effort will probably be needed as the site is set up to ensure that there are no errors, (probably self induced), and that the site is fully compliant. Once full compliance had been achieved then then most potential errors will be automatically captured and corrected as each piece of new content is added.
Contact us if you want to talk about making sure your website meets the latest standards.