A Word about StandardsAnyone working in the Web development arena today should know the power of Web standards. If they don't already, it is time to learn. Though standards were long seen as a dream that could not be fulfilled, or a joke that just wasn't funny, now the technologies are finally available to make these tools a staple in everyday implementations.
Thanks to a number of recent upgrades for browsers of all types, it has become possible to use completely valid XHTML and CSS to build cross-browser compatible Web sites. It is even possible to, at the same time, make those sites usable and accessible to people of every walk of life. Whether you use Internet Explorer, Firefox or Safari, Windows or Macintosh or Linux... Regardless of whether you are colorblind, have poor vision, or are completely blind... Anyone can see anything from anywhere...
If the developers take the time, and make the effort.
Even more amazing has been the rise of AJAX in recent years. Applications of all kinds, many of which are professional enough to seem like full-fledged desktop programs rather than Web-based scripts, are forging ahead. Google Calendar, GMail, and Google Maps are three of these that are both highly visible, and greatly loved.
Those same three examples help to disprove an idea that has often been used as an excuse for avoiding standards compliance: lack of aesthetics. Web standards often are made into a scapegoat for unexciting, even terribly boring, design. The primary cause for this concern is that the sites that most often discuss standards usage are intended to be informational rather than entertaining.
Regardless of how many people read this, or how many change their mind about Web standards because of it, I know that I have been thoroughly impressed with everything I have ever built that put into practice the tenets of standards-compliant design. As we move further into the ever-shifting future and Web development continues to evolve, my eye will always be on what the next standard is, so as to ingest it, learn from it, and adopt it. The use of Web standards can do nothing but improve output, usability, accessibility, stability, and ultimately, satisfaction across the board.
posted by Jake Kronika, Owner, Gridline Design at 7:26 PM