Ok, for all of us CSS/XHTML/Unobtrusive DOM/Ajax heads out there, standards compliance is not just an easy way of creating websites. Standards compliance is not just about creating a badge and shoving it on your homepage. Standards compliance is not about saying you are a standards advocate just to make a buck.
I don’t know how everybody else out there looks at this, but its almost a morality issue. You know, when you do the right thing just because it is right, even though it is harder on you to do it? Yeah, thats what its like. I do standards compliant web sites because I believe it makes this thing called the web better. Its a moral argument.
So, as this standards compliance thing becomes a bit of a fad and technologies like Ajax, Unobtrusive DOM Scripting, CSS, RSS, XHTML and all that jazz become ohh so popular, lets keep in mind what this is all about. Web design is not about using these buzz words liberally and not sticking to them. It is about adhering to them all the time. I have really become frustrated with new websites that come out with these technologies that miss the point. Here is a few things I have seen on the interweb that frustrate the standards out of me:
- Resizing text cripples your site. Check out http://webworkers.excargot.net/. Now resize the text. Notice how the boxes seem absolutely positioned and dont grow with the text? Also, the boxes are fixed width and height. Now, I don’t think absolute or relative positioning is bad, but just use common sense. If the text grows, try to anticipate the needs of your audience. Will they still be able to use your site? Will they be frustrated by that? Do them a favor and make your site friendly.
- Over-Trendiness. Understandable that your clients probably are affected by trends just like I am when I go buy my new Volcom hat. They see a cool looking trend on a site and they want that from you. All my advice to you is: be balanced. Don’t go too far with it. First of all, come up with something original. If you have to incorporate trendy design, do it in a elegant and minor way. If you want diagonal lines, do it on some items and make them subtle. Don’t plaster it all over your site with diagonal lines in your logo, headers, backgrounds, etc. Whoa fella. Just take it easy.
- Tag-itis. This self-made term comes from the word DIVitis. DIVitis is a plague that struck websites with the CSS boom. It refers to overuse of unsemantic markup. Case in point: the DIV tag. One thing that seems to happen is Tag-itis. Designers get so stuck on creating a design that they over tag their markup. Whether its DIVs, or SPANs or paragraph tags, websites are recreating the table-based unsemantic markup phenomenon just to pull off a design. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not saying let technology drive design, but what I am saying is this. If you are finding that you have to insert tags for no reason at all, especially this kind of scenario:
<div id=”box-header”></div>, then you oughtta ask yourself why. Why do I have a tag that has nothing in it? Why is it just hanging there? Then, if there is no good reason for doing so, creatively think your way out of that situation.
Ohh, and by the way, feel free to add to this list. I’d love to hear what you think.