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About Alastair Revell
Alastair Revell is the Managing Consultant of Revell Research Systems, a Management and Technology Consulting Practice based at Exeter in the United Kingdom.
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The material published in this web log is for general purposes only. It does not constitute nor is it intended to represent professional advice. You should always seek specific professional advice in relation to particular issues. The information in this web log is provided "as is" with no warranties and confers no rights. The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions.

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Review Entries for Day Saturday, May 31, 2008

I can’t believe just how many web designers claim that their web sites are compliant with the standards when they are demonstrably not!

I’m talking in particular about the World Wide Web (W3C) consortium’s standards for HTML and XHTML. You’ve probably seen their compliance logos proudly displayed on web sites that claim to comply. The standards are exacting and very unforgiving on slips in the code. A particular page either complies or it does not, but this is nothing particularly challenging for a professional discipline that is used to such binary situations.

The standards are important for all sorts of reasons, not least because there is a greater chance that more browsers will render the sites as intended, that search engines are more likely to index them properly and that people using less popular browsers because of their disabilities are more likely to be able to access them.

There are standards in many different professions and one thing you expect of professionals working in those fields is that they will work to them. Indeed, they would be unprofessional if they did not.

I find it contemptible that an increasing number of web designers will proudly place the W3C’s compliance logo with a link to test the page in question against the W3C’s validator, which when clicked shows not just one or two errors, but hundreds. The fact that they link to the validator when the page is riddled with serious errors clearly indicates that they have little regard for their clients.

Do not get me wrong. I know how hard it is to keep a web page compliant, particularly since many editing tools seem to delight in surreptitiously inserting non-compliant elements in to them. However, there is a clear difference between a casual slip and complete disregard for the standards. It is those that are just sticking the badge on and misleading their clients that anger me.

What makes me so angry about this particular issue, though, is that it goes to the very heart of professionalism within our field. It must surely be a tenet in any profession that those in it do not misrepresent the truth to their clients or to the general public.
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Saturday, May 31, 2008 2:56:25 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Comments [2] Web Design | Trackback

Review Entries for Day Monday, November 05, 2007
I am often asked to give an opinion on whether a web site is good or not. I normally start by assessing whether the web site complies with relevant law and technical standards, since these are easy and objective tests to apply.
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Monday, November 05, 2007 5:43:17 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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Review Entries for Day Thursday, September 13, 2007
Hans-Eric Grönlund has an interesting article on the popularity of FireFox (FF) on his blog, entitled "The Firefox Domination" which you should read. Frank Carr has also remarked on Hans-Eric's blog that he has also noticed a high ratio of FireFox users compared with those using Internet Explorer (IE), which he finds particularly interesting because his site is about all things .NET, which he supposes would attract a more pro-Microsoft audience.
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Thursday, September 13, 2007 5:33:22 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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Review Entries for Day Thursday, September 06, 2007
I'm constantly surprised by web sites that still have some form of doorway page. I've always felt that such designs probably allude to the designer's origins in print media, where one might argue that the book cover has to sell the book. The cover has to attract the casual browser in the bookshop to engage in the sales process.
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Thursday, September 06, 2007 5:55:15 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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Review Entries for Day Thursday, August 23, 2007

I've just read an interesting article by Jakob Nielsen (who is an expert on web site usability) on, which reports on their research into banner blindness - the well-known effect whereby web site visitors manage to completely ignore banner advertising.

I found the article interesting and was reminded of Seth Godin's views on interruption marketing and how he believes that people are becoming immune to this form of marketing.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007 9:19:11 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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Review Entries for Day Thursday, August 02, 2007
Ever since I supervised a student on a post graduate industrial placement who was undertaking some research into what was later to be termed search engine optimisation for a marketing agency in Exeter in the mid-90s, I have been deeply sceptical about many of the claims made by SEO specialists.
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Thursday, August 02, 2007 10:26:48 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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Review Entries for Day Sunday, July 29, 2007
I believe that web site navigation is extremely important and designers that ignore the navigational structure of their web sites severely reduce the usability of their sites.
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Sunday, July 29, 2007 12:54:12 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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Review Entries for Day Saturday, July 28, 2007
I am really surprised just how many web sites operated by UK businesses fail to comply with the UK Companies Act 2006 and the 2002 eCommerce legislation.
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Saturday, July 28, 2007 1:01:41 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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Review Entries for Day Friday, July 13, 2007
I read with interest the article "Government Web Sites Too Complex", which was published on the BBC News web site yesterday and covers the publication of a National Audit Office (NAO) report that states that some government web sites are too complex.
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Friday, July 13, 2007 5:57:36 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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Review Entries for Day Tuesday, July 03, 2007


I'm pleased to announce that we've just launched the new South West Mediation web site.

South West Mediation is a regional family mediation practice, with offices in Exeter, Plymouth, Torquay and Taunton. Family mediation helps couples (whether married or not) to discuss and resolve any issues connected with the separation or divorce in a thoughtful and co-operative way. Mediation aims to improve communication and reduce bitterness - and consequently benefit any children involved. Most of the mediators working for South West Mediation are not only highly experienced as mediators, but also have practiced for many years as solicitors in family law.

The web site has all the characteristics of a Revell Research Systems web site. Its design is crisp and the site is extremely easy to navigate. It has also been optimised so that search engines rank the site higher than many of the firm's competitors.

John Loram, a director and founder of South West Mediation remarked at the site's launch: "I am really pleased with its design and quality. It is both eye-catching and informative."

The photography for the site was done by Revell Research Systems in-house, which allowed us to present exactly the right "feel" for the site. Some of the images are very poignant and help to convey the important aspects of mediation in a non-verbal way.

Revell Research Systems is committed to designing and producing high quality sites, which comply with the relevant web standards. The South West Mediation web site is compliant with the XHTML 1.0 (Transitional) and CSS 2.0 standards. It has also been designed with people with disabilities in mind and passes the majority of automatable tests for the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 1.0). (We believe that in some circumstances, some elements of the guidelines that were published in 1999 are no longer appropriate.)

Perhaps equally important, the web site also complies with the United Kingdom's Companies Act 2006, which so many web sites simply do not comply with.

The picture below shows myself with John Loram, a director of South West Mediation.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007 5:23:10 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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