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Why Should Businesses Care About Web Standards?

By: Cynthia Manuel

The World Wide Web began as a networked information project at CERN, where Tim Berners-Lee, now Director of the World Wide Web Consortium [W3C], developed a vision of the project to disseminate scientific literature. In October 1994, Lee, founded the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) at the MIT,Laboratory for Computer Science [MIT/LCS] where, in collaboration with CERN, the Web originated, with support from DARPA and the European Commission.

The World Wide Web is an application built on top of the Internet and, as such, has inherited its fundamental design principles:

  • Interoperability: Specifications for the Web's languages and protocols must be compatible with one another and allow any hardware and software used to access the Web to work together.
  • Evolution: The Web must be able to accommodate future technologies. Design principles such as simplicity, modularity, and extensibility will increase the chances that the Web will work with emerging technologies such as mobile Web devices and digital television, as well as others to come.
  • Decentralization: Decentralization is without a doubt the newest principle and most difficult to apply. To allow the Web to scale to worldwide proportions while resisting errors and breakdowns, the architecture (like the Internet) must limit or eliminate dependencies on rigid hierarchies.

"Lack of standards makes websites more expensive for clients and developers, makes pages break for users, and will break the web itself, unless the situation improves."   Web Standards Project

When we speak about standards for the Web, we are speaking of the standards established by the W3C for the core technologies that constitute the World Wide Web:

... as well as emerging standards, such as those for television-based and PDA-based browsers.

So What Does All This Mean to the Bottom Line?

By deploying Internet solutions that rigidly adhere to the core web technologies, you:

  • Ensure both forward and backward compatibility with the browser and system of your visitor.
  • Gain greater visibility in Web searches. The structural information present in standards compliant documents makes it easy for search engines to access and evaluate the information in those documents, and they get indexed more accurately.
  • Can easily convert your content to other formats, such as databases or Word documents. This allows for more versatile use of the information within your company and greatly reduces both web and print production costs.
  • Guarantee your ability to migrate your content to new systems as they are developed - hardware as well as software - including devices such as TVs and PDAs.

The most basic consequence of ignoring standards when deploying your Internet solution is that you will restrict access to your site. How much business sense does it make to limit your audience to only a fraction of those who wish be a part of it? Denying access to even small portions of a target audience can make a big difference to your profit margin.

FINI Takes Standards Based Architecture a Step Further

By rigidly adhering to the standards of the core technologies while developing solutions, we discovered that we could create a single version site that was highly compatible across browsers and platforms. In real world terms that means that we are creating single version sites that look and work the same regardless of what browser, system or device is being used to access the site.

If you would like more information about the standards based, single version Internet solutions that we are deploying please call or email us today. We are eager to share with you our mechanics for online profitability. We promise you will be amazed!

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