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.