The Grid Line

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Location: Bothell, WA, United States

A long history of involvement in Web Design and Development, with humble beginnings at Geocities and Angelfire, have exploded into a career in which I focus on Web Standards, Web Accessibility Guidelines, and Usability through Human-Computer Interaction theory. I also participate in an ongoing search for the best methods for building, maintaining, and enhance Web sites.

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Friday, November 7, 2008

A Word about Standards

Anyone 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.

Going even farther than that, a Web programming language that was long thought of as the biggest "no-no" a person could use on their sites is now moving ahead to the forefront of every major innovation in Web technologies -- JavaScript (also known, in terms of Web standards, as ECMAScript). Long held as the destroyer of the common Web, JS is gaining wide acceptance as the language of choice for improved user interaction. Using frameworks such as jQuery, extJS, Prototype, and many others, developers can quickly write unobtrusive code that improves the experience for those who can use it, but does nothing to interrupt the experiences of those who cannot.

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.

To help reverse that mode of thinking, and to provide a "pretty" discussion of standards, keep in mind that this site is entirely Web-standards compliant, written with thoroughly valid XHTML and CSS, enhanced by unobtrusive JavaScript, and it looks and works perfectly in every browser I have had ever tested it in.

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.

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posted by Jake Kronika, Owner, Gridline Design at


Blogger Nabeel said...

Today, everyone use CSS based websites due to its reuseability, accessibility, and greater control. Web Design Sydney.

April 04, 2012 5:07 AM  

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Everything from Web standards to AJAX tutorials, PHP code snippets to client reviews. Anything relating to the work of Gridline Design can be found on The Grid Line.

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