They're Not Just For Purists Any More
Eric A. Meyer
Who Invited This Guy?
- After SES San Jose, I read a report from an attendee and published a sarcastic and insulting post...
- ...then found out I'd been talking through my hat
- So I posted a rather necessary retraction and apology
- Danny Sullivan was kind enough to take it all in stride and invite me to come participate
- So, apologies once more, and thanks to everyone up here for not (justifiably) writing me off as a total jerk
- Web Standards means no proprietary lock-in, wider support base
- Page weights can be reduced by at least half, sometimes by even more
- Multimedium support and accessibility are much simpler
- What about search engines?
Who's Using Standards?
- A sampling of a few small organizations...
Disney Store UK,
Sprint / Sprint PCS,
Kansas City Chiefs,
Los Alamos National Laboratory,
and many more...
- In addition, there are countless personal sites, academic sites, government organizations, etc., etc.
- Bottom line: any site that's interested in improving user experience and reducing maintenance costs should seriously consider Web Standards
What About Incompatibilities?
- Some problems do exist, but they're far less of a problem than they were, say, three years ago
- The biggest stumbling block is frankly Internet Explorer, but it's only biggest by comparison
- Various approaches (e.g. "transitional design") have emerged to help bridge the gap between browser limitations and standards utopia
- Sites can realize 90% of the benefits of Web Standards while still maintaining consistent appearance
How Do Standards Help My Users?
- Honestly, it's all about the page weight
- The #1 factor in page response time is the raw number of bytes shipped over the wire
- Users don't care about your markup or how much CSS you use; they do care about how long they have to wait for a page to load
- Cutting page weight by 50% means the page takes about half as long to load (on average)
- Reduced server load helps, and reduced bandwidth consumption can mean real savings for large sites
- ESPN.com serves between one half and one billion page views every month, on average
- In March 2003, ESPN's home page moved to a Web Standards
- Initial page-weight reduction was just over 50KB
- Potential bandwidth savings: 720TB (terabytes!) per year
- Potential maintenance savings: unknown, but likely significant
Where Can I Find Out More?
- Web Standards delivers a multitude of benefits
- The stronger and leaner your structure, the better for all your visitors
- Accessibility and multimedium support are much easier with Web Standards
- Reduced maintenance and redesign costs provide extra long-term benefits
- Ancient browsers need not be completely frozen out
- The trend is definitely in the direction of standards, and away from browser-centric development
- It just makes sense