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A Standard Website Or A Website Adhering To Standards?

April 12, 2017

Both of these are right and describe a website display in a visitor browser’s window. In the matter of web design, a Standard Website actually adheres to the guidelines and rules instituted by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to promote consistency in the design code that makes up the web page of any website. The advantages of this are:

  1. Web pages can be displayed on a range of browsers and computers as well as newer technologies like iPad, Android, iPhones, PDA devices etc.
  2. The use of CSS technology is one of these rules of the W3C. The use of CSS or Cascading Style Sheets reduces the page file width, which means faster page loading time and lower hosting costs.
  3. Because of these standards, design changes can be made easily to the website by making the changes on just one style sheet, instead of editing every page on the website.
  4. Search engines are able to access and index pages that adhere to W3C standards easily.

What are the elements of a standard website

The use of valid HTML, CSS and JavaScript. The publications related to each of these are considered foundational for a Standard Website. Although proprietary languages like Flash, Silverlight and XUL are mentioned with a view to discouraging proprietary works, and furthering the cause of openly produced vendor neutral language, the proposed standard document on HTML5 (latest version of HTML) contains many ‘intentional’ violations of other specifications because existing platforms are not adequate without these violations. Accessibility by people who are disabled, visually, hearing impaired, or who have muscle coordination problems is encouraged and an important part of web design today.

What are the easily recognizable features of a standard website

  1. Logo in the top left
  2. Contact us in the top right
  3. Main navigation across the top of the website. Horizontal top navigation is a website standard
  4. A homepage slideshow in the form of a carousel (same pictures repeating in a fixed sequence)
  5. Merit suggestion high up on the home page
  6. Visually prominent call to action on the home page
  7. Search feature in the header
  8. Sign up or register for email updates and social media icons like Facebook, Twitter etc. in the footer.
  9. Responsive design (allowing for navigation and search)

Though these are the features, not all of them are present in a website. To quote Andy S. Tanenbaum, a computer scientist, ”the nice thing about standards is that you have so many to choose from”!

More importantly, the standards to be followed are

  • Brand standards. Colors, tone and type are specific to every business and brand. Set up a style guide for your website
  • Coding standards – Use programming standards set down by the W3C. This will ensure their visibility on standard browsers.
  • Accessibility Standards have to be followed to make your website accessible to everyone. This is a basic human right recognized by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities.

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