From pharmacuticals manufacturers to builders, many industries have standards. The Web is no different. But what is different is that these standards are not controlled by a governing body or the government, but by the web industry itself. The only exception to that is for accessibility to sites in certain situations(usually government or government-supported organizations.) Then you are bound by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998. Other than that, the community that makes the web also makes the standards. The good part of that is that the most knowledgable people about the web make the rules that the web should follow.
The down side is that web designers and developers don’t have to follow them. And many of them don’t
Why are they important?
Web standards serve many different goals. It helps designers and developers make sites and applications that will look good no matter what browser a user prefers(and that does make a huge difference!) They allow developers and designers to make pages that are more creative and flexible. There are also a lot of technical reasons to use standards, which most website owners won’t need to worry about.
But there are reasons that the do need to worry about too. It also helps create sites that are more accessible and more easily crawled by search engines. Using standards helps create sites with more longevity in that they will be supported by browsers far longer than sites using older technology. They will also look good in today in yesterdays browsers.
How do I know if my web design company is standards compliant?
Ask them. 99% will say that they are. Then ask them which one’s, specifically. Most design companies will mumble about HTML5 and CSS, throw in some “state-of-the-art”(whatever that means) or “latest technologies” and hope that satisfies you. It shouldn’t. Do yourself a favor: thank them for their time and leave post-haste
And if they do sound like they’re making sense, ask them why they use them. Websites can be a large investment. Make sure that whom you’re entrusting your online entity to has the knowledge and the skills to deserve that trust.
We are standards compliant. Yes we use HTML5 and CSS3, but more importantly we can tell you how and why they benefit a site. Our code is semantic which means that it’s easily read by both search engine bots and humans. All of our sites follow WAI guidelines for accessibility. Want to know why? We’ll be more than happy to explain it to you, as well as other techniques we use for improved performance.
Want to learn more about Web Standards? Learn more than you’ll ever need to at the Web Standards Project.