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by reese

Stick around htmlfixit for any length of time, and you’ll soon find we like and endorse web standards around here. Yet, that’s such an ambiguous statement to make, as many people, including web designers, are still in the dark as to what standards are and why they matter.

Web Compliancy for the Rest of Us does an excellent job of explaining the web standards movement and why it will drive the future of web design. At first glance, all the explanations may seem wordy and overwhelming, but give it a chance, ESPECIALLY those of you out there still using tables as your preferred means of layout.

I’ll admit it: as a web designer myself, I’m nothing close to standards compliant in a lot of my work. But I’m getting there, and as painful as it may seem at times, the importance of doing so is becoming increasingly clear to me. I’ll give you a quick example. A client of mine wants the look of her site to change three or four times a year. Imagine for a moment that you’re a designer still using tables and tags like:

 <font face="arial" color="black">

and you have a client like mine who wants flexibility in layout several times a year. Are you pulling your hair out yet with visions of redoing all the tables, going through all the content headers to change colors with your font tag and fishing through a sea of endlessly nested td tags to find all these changes you need to make? Both you and your client are at a disadvantage through your way of site design because it’s: 1. more expensive and time consuming for the client and 2. incredibly inefficient and stressful for you.

Now, back to my client. How do I change her look three times a year? Simple: I edit her stylesheet…just one page of things to edit. The changes are relatively small, and are done so in about an hour or two. And viola! Her site looks absolutely different. Therein lies just one of the beauties of working toward web standards with your designs. The flexibility and adaptability it offers are worth some of the growing pains of learning CSS (cascading style sheets) and moving away from html and table tags to drive your layout. But don’t just take my word for it. Check out the above article that explains far more articulately than I can why standards matter.

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