Website Standards

Why bother and who should care?

Nowadays websites are slowly conforming to a standard. This is to help make sure that the website browsers we use (including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera,Safari, Konqueror, Sea Monkey along with others) display the content properly to your screen. In order to do this an organisation called W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) define what goes and what does not.

In theory, having a standard is a great idea. This is good for developers, web browsers and the audience (believe it or not). Unfortunately there are problems that are faced when you come to design your own website.

Since I started this website, I have found annoyances with W3C and I know that I'm not the only person to feel this. For instance, when I made the sport section of the site, I found that W3C removed a list tag called start. The reason this is annoying is that a web developer that conforms to their standards can no longer use the following html:

			<ol start=2>
				<li>Man Utd - 87 pts</li>
				<li>Chelsea - 85 pts</li>
				<li>Arsenal - 83 pts</li>

This is because W3C deprecated (removed) the tag start and now you have to use the following code in CSS (or equivalent style in html):

			.Counter { /*add after 1 and hide original list*/
				counter-reset: item 1;
				list-style: none;

			.Counter :before {
				content: counter(item) ". ";
				counter-increment: item;

As you can see from the above, using the one tag start made this job so much easier. With the addition of the CSS that adds a lot of code. The reason behind this (according to W3C) is that this is a style. In my opinion (along with some others) this is a formating of a list. If you were to avoid this CSS and use a scripting language (such as PHP) you can just use a variable and increment the number.

Another bad decision by W3C is the use of Document Types. These are used to determine the coding standard of the web page. For this website the use of XHTML Strict and Transitional are used. If you read the documentation or validate the source code on the web page you will find that the certain code with validate with a certain document type.

The reason that DocTypes are bad is that there is not a standard between them. For instance, if you were to look at the website homepage and the wap emulator page you may notice that the menu and the two flags move up. The DocTypes on these pages are XHTML Strict on the homepage and XHTML Transitional on the wap emulator page.

There is a good reason why Transitional was used and that is due to the use of an iFrame. This allowed me to display one web page inside another web page. For the emulator page there is a wap emulator. Just changing the DocType caused this problem and the movement of content on the page should never of happened.

As a summary, if we have standards then we should be involved in the decision process. We have the right to vote in our own countries, but do not have the right to make decisions on future website developments. The changes of web pages should not be left to one company. What one person says, does not mean they are right and I bet others (like yourself) would find other annoying factors when it comes to making websites.

There is another standard called "Section 508" to do with accessibility of websites and other electronic information. More information can be found here. So please make sure you comply. To ensure your website meets 508 standards please go to the Accessibility Tester