Web Standards

What Does "Web Standards" Mean?

The term web standards often comes up when discussing site development. To avoid confusion here's a quick explanation:

The phrase "web standards" means adhering to formal standards and technical specifications, understanding industry accepted best practices, and the approach to web design that includes these methods. Creating a site using web standards means:

  • The site will be viewable on as wide a range of web browsers, operating systems and devices such as handhelds and phones as possible. No more creating multiple versions of pages for different web browsers and worrying about how the site will look when new versions of them appear in six months time.
  • There will be less convoluted code in each webpage, making them smaller and faster to load.
  • Web standards based sites avoid unnecessary use of images, again making them faster to load.
  • The simpler code will make it easier to update the site in the future. This will save time and money.
  • It is easier to provide accessibility functions when a site is created using web standards.
  • Standards based sites are more visible to search engines such as Google or Bing, improving the chances of users finding them.

(You will also hear the phrase ‘responsive design’ which refers to mobile-first design practice.)

This is only a brief introduction to web standards. In-depth sources can be found on the links page.