The Beauty of Valid Web Design
What are Web Pages?
Whenever you view a web page, whatever the content, whether it contains images, text, audio or video, behind the scenes it is created in code. Usually and put simply this code is called HTML - Hyper-Text-Markup-Language. HTML simply explains to the web browser (Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera etc.) the structure of text, links and images and how the page should be displayed.
Who Created HTML?
The World-Wide-Web was created in 1989 by Tim Berners-Lee with the help of Robert Cailliau and a young student staff at CERN. In 1994 Berners-Lee founded the World Wide Web Consortium, an international organisation to standardize and oversee the Web’s continued development.
The W3C’s (World Wide Web Consortium) mission is “To Lead the World Wide Web to it’s full potential by developing protocols and guidelines that ensure long-term growth for the Web.”
Why is the W3C so important?
Put simply the W3C create web standards and guidelines (known as W3C recommendations) ensuring that the most fundamental Web technologies are compatible with one another. As web pages are created in code, this code must be created and understood in the same way - imagine I were to ask you to draw a picture but give you the instructions in Japanese. The W3C standards ensure that we are internationally speaking the same web language.
What if a site doesn’t conform to Web Standards?
There are hundreds of reasons why web sites must conform to web standards - far too many to talk about here. The most important and obvious reason is that Browsers can display code differently. It can be simple to put this to the test by viewing pages in Firefox or another web-compliant browser and then viewing the same page in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 7. You may notice subtle differences or the page may be drastically skewed.
Web Standards are regualarly amended and updated. It is more likely that if a site does not conform to web standards when a revision is made the site in question may not display correctly in updated browsers. Incorrect code always has an expiry date.
Search Engines are another top reason for correct code. Nearly every website owner wants his or her site as near to the top of search engines such as Google and Yahoo as possible. Google and Yahoo and many other search engines often prioritise sites that are written in valid code. This is mainly due to the fact that valid code is easier to understand by other programs as it follows strict rules.
How do i tell if a site is written in valid code?
Simple. The W3C have provided a tool specifically for this purpose. Simply visit http://validator.w3.org/ and enter the address of the web page you wish to check. The W3C will instantly check the page for compiance and return the results.
Thinking of hiring a web designer?
Remember: Invalid code can affect your Search Engine rankings. Even if the page looks correct, if the code is not valid it could display incorrectly then next time browsers are updated. It could already be displaying incorrectly in various browsers - have you checked your site in Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, Netscape, Opera, Google Chrome?
Is this valid code?
Always check that your site is created with strict valid code. It is a web designer’s responsibility to ensure that code conforms to web standards.