- Designing websites the right way in 2005
I've just finished my second re-read of Jeffrey Zeldman's book Designing with Web Standards which is IMO, one of the absolute must read books for anyone who creates websites today professionally. After closely following the events in Australia last week, it has filled me with a renewed sense of enthusiasm and excitement towards my craft as a programmer, web developer and designer.
Granted, for anyone who has been doing web design for any length of time -- much of the way you learned your craft has changed, in some ways massively from how to properly do it today. By that, I mean using Strict XHTML and pure CSS - completely separating the content from the presentation of that content. I'm embarking on an exciting redesign of a large real estate site and one of the project requirements is that the code all completely validate in the W3Cs validation engines and you know what, it's turning out to be a lot of fun and incredibly flexible. On top of the day the client is thrilled with the design that we've come up with (as am I).
Despite my enthusiasm, it take little more than a casual stroll around many of the top sites on the web before it dawns on you how utterly few websites are being built TODAY (by people who should entirely know better), still doing things the way we used to do it back in 1997 or so) and I find that downright depressing. Fortunately the whole Web 2.0 moniker is taking hold and much of what Web 2.0 is all about embodies much of what standards based development is about. The big 800 pound elephant sitting in the room that nobody wants to really talk about is Microsoft's pending release of Internet Explorer 7.0 (which literally hasn't been updated since Windows XP came out how many years ago? - 5+ years plus to be exact and needless to say, the web has changed a wee-bit in that time.
In addition, at the recent Web Essentials 2005 conference, one of the great seminars came from event is from John Allsopp entitled: Are we there yet? Best practices in web development in Australia - a survey where John talks about:
How are sites from Australia's biggest companies doing when it comes to standards based web development, semantic and structural HTML, CSS and accessibility? John Allsopp outlines a simple, objective methodology for assessing how sites adhere to best development practices, and presents his findings on how major Australian websites perform.
John's findings are quite interesting (oh, they are downright depressing!) but I totally agree with that's discovered and that is simply, the vast majority of big companies are producing some absolutely horrible website from a standards perspective, and this also includes many large government sites. If you do build website, be sure to take a listen to John's presentation as it is most enlightening. If you haven't read Jeffrey's book, by all means, go get it immediately and take it all in and begin applying it to your work immediately. You don't get too far into the book before you are completely sold on the whys of standards based development and the work being done by WaSP (the Web Standards Project)
- 11:04:04 PM