Feature Misuse

Karl Groves in a post about HTML5, Longdesc and accessibility:

For nearly a dozen years now, I’ve been employed in a capacity which gives me a day-to-day glimpse of how professional web developers are using markup. I see HTML abuse on a daily basis. Bad HTML permeates the web due to ignorant developers and is exacerbated by shitty UI frameworks and terrible “tutorials” by popular bloggers. In my years as an accessibility consultant I’ve reviewed work on Fortune 100 websites and many of the Alexa top 1000. I’ve reviewed web-based applications of the largest software companies in the world. The abuse of markup is ubiquitous.

You should read the whole thing.

The Changing Web

Fascinatingly, to me, anyway, while many of us prefer to concentrate on design, content, and experience, it continues to be necessary to remind our work comrades (or inform younguns) about web standards, accessibility, and progressive enhancement. When a site like Facebook stops functioning when a script forgets to load, that is a failure of education and understanding, and all of us have a stake in reaching out to our fellow developers to make sure that, in addition to the new fancy tricks they’ve mastered, they also learn the basics of web standards, without which our whole shared system implodes.

This doesn’t mean “go be an HTML guru.” It does mean cherish the lessons of the recent past, and share them with those who missed them (or missed the point). Wisdom is not a job, but it is always an asset.

Jeffrey Zeldman in It’s 2014. Is Web Design Dead?, a response to Jeff Croft’s Web Standards Killed the HTML Star

I love HTML and CSS. They’re as much art as they are science. That’s why I create with them.

If we view the average web worker’s skill stack as a cake (this kind of cake – opens in a new window), at least two of those layers are HTML and CSS. You can make that third layer and icing out of whatever you’d like: design, UX, accessibility, etc. And guess what, you can change that or add layers. It’s the web! Fluidity and flexibility mean something around here, but you’ll always need those two layers of HTML and CSS. They form your base and will serve you well. The rest is up to you. Do your best to welcome change, in technology and yourself.

Web Governance and Change

“Today, the critical skills of a web professional aren’t technical. They’re skills like advocacy, facilitation, diplomacy, pragmatism, and patience. Technical skills still matter, but they don’t differentiate us in the market anymore, and we can’t use them effectively without tackling organizational change. To be effective, we need to leave our comfort zones.”

A List Apart, Web Governance: Becoming an Agent of Change.

I find this true more and more each day. It’s both challenging and exhilarating.

10 Awesome Resources for Learning Web Standards

Computer code

If you’re a new web designer, multimedia storyteller or interactive media professional, here’s a short list of resources that will help you learn more about web standards.

The Web Standards Group defines web standards as “(HTML, XHTML, XML, CSS, XSLT etc.) and best practices (accessible sites using valid and semantically correct code).” Web standards are important when building websites because they can make your site function better, last longer and be accessible by many people across multiple platforms.

Designing with Web Standards by Jeffrey Zeldman

Authored by the Godfather of web standards, Jeffrey Zeldman, this book should be considered one of the more important guideposts in learning and embracing web standards.

Opera Web Standards Curriculum

Who doesn’t like free? Opera, the company who created one of the world’s popular web browsers, offers up a ton of free, online material relating to web standards.

The Web Standards Project

This grassroots organization has worked with browser makers since 1998 to make the web more accessible for all.

W3 Schools

A perfect spot to get free tutorials and examples on how to build and maintain web standard compliant websites.


Founded by Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the web, this organization defines the web’s standards.

A List Apart

An online magazine, dedicated to the exploration of the design and development of websites, with a focus on standards and best practices.

W3C Markup Validation Service

This online tool can help you validate the HTML code you write for the websites. There is also a CSS Validator.

Web Standards Group

A group of web designers and developers interested in web standards.

Web Standards Checklist

An old list, first published in 2004, but it’s still a great starting point for things to address when designing and building a site.

How to Grok Web Standards

An article that explains how graphic designers need to approach thinking about designing for the web.

Image by Flaivoloka.