Blog Entry

How Strict Should You Be About Web Standards

Web standards are incredible and because they can help you in so many ways everyone should be using them. They allow for your sites to become so much better but do all your pages have to be 100% valid? Some people may say yes and spend hours making sure everything is completely perfect but I don’t think that’s necessary. Too often I see people working harder then they need to so that when they validate their site they see the “This Page Is Valid XHTML 1.0 Strict!” message. Ok so all my pages validate but that’s because I got lucky and it just worked out. If it’s easy to make them validate I say go ahead and do it but if it’s not I wouldn’t worry about having a few errors.

Web standards allow for the most number of users to view your site correctly. If your site looks fine with just a few errors then leave it if it’s going to be a pain to fix. If it’s a quick fix then I would normally try to fix it. Someone who checks to see if your site is valid or not can usually tell whether it is an easy fix or not and if you have a few errors I don’t think anyone would even care. I wouldn’t. I would rather a site looked good and used web standards with a few errors then didn’t use web standards at all.

Recently I downloaded the HTML Validator extension for Firefox. It appears in the lower right corner of your window and displays the number of errors or warnings a site has in its code. If their are no error it shows a green checkmark but if there is even 1 error in your code it will display a yellow triangle with an exclamation point. Of course it feels good to see the green checkmark when I visit my site but if I see a site that looks good and tries to be valid then I don’t care. The last version of my site wasn’t 100% valid and I was fine with that. To make my old site perfectly valid would have taken much more time and would have sacrificed some aspects of the design. Web standards are meant to be helpful not only for the user but also for the web developer. In my opinion, if it’s not easy to fix or it ruins your design you should go ahead and leave the errors. If it’s simple, go ahead and fix it. If you have a question about web standards or a problem with one of your projects just let me know and I’ll try to help.

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