Standards: Work still to do

Paul Boag

Apparently the battle over web standards has ended; it is certainly true that 68% of web designers seem to favour it. But do clients understand the benefits?

As I have posted recently, apparently the “web standards war is won”. Indeed a recent survey on seems to indicate that 68% of web designers who responded use web standards “most of the time”. Of course that still leaves over 30% who don’t. A recent thread on my forum drove home the point that many designers are still struggling with the subject. One poster wrote:

Paul keeps talking about how the new method separates content from design this is to my mind a delusion and incorrect. Most true CSS designs are very much a compromise in this fundamental area. The only designs that truly manage to do this are in CSS text books like Andy Budd’s CSS Mastery or Rachel Andrew’s Standards compliant Web site using Dreamweaver 8

However, convincing designers is not the whole battle. We also need to persuade clients of the benefits as well. Admittedly in many cases clients are led by us as designers. However, there are also a large number that want to maintain their site themselves and may not yet have been exposed to standards.

Let’s be honest here. Standards are not easy. Working with tables is often the much simpler option and in many cases clients will be resistant to the change. However, it is the overwhelming business benefits that make it the right decision. The problem is that we often fail to communicate those benefits clearly.

There is no shortage of articles and tutorials aimed at designers, helping them make the transition. However, there is very little aimed at business owners.

In an attempt to help correct this balance I am making next week’s show entirely focused on the business benefits of standards. It will be aimed completely at web site owners and will hopefully put forward a convincing argument for the need to change. My hope is that those listening to the show, and indeed reading this blog, will distribute the presentation and make sure as many website owners as possible see it.