Web design is often thought of as a process which is solely based on aesthetics, but this is actually one of the most common misconceptions that people make. Indeed, web design’s aesthetics are merely the result of proper XHTML and CSS code, and the usability of those aesthetics is only made possible by adhering to a strict code of accessibility standards for those who are vision impaired. Luckily, there are some really helpful validation tools available to web designers to help them meet all of these standards and provide a better overall web design to their loyal readers.
Long the most popular validation resource on the internet, the W3C’s XHTML code validator has been updated and adapted over time to check for standards compatibility in documents constructed in HTML 4.01, XHTML 1.0 Strict or Transitional, XHTML 1.1, and HTML5. This tool is particularly useful because any non-standard code will cause a browser to enter what is known as “Design Quirks Mode.” This mode tries to render a standards-invalid webpage using the browser’s built-in tools so that it appears in the way a designer intended without actually processing the erroneous code. It often works in ways that are unnoticeable to the end user, but it can cause serious problems down the road.
First and foremost, the quirks mode that is bundled with every major web browser is highly inefficient, and websites will be much slower to load when the rendering process is made more difficult with invalid XHTML tags or HTML5 semantics. Furthermore, the quirks mode is often outdated and uses an older overall rendering engine that can cause CSS3 tricks to vanish. That makes the website ugly, and then it suffers from both bad code and bad aesthetics — a losing combination.
Those designers who thought that validation was only for XHTML code were sorely mistaken, as the W3C’s regulations are just as tough on cascading stylesheets as they are on XHTML and HTML5 code. For this reason, the internet governing body offers a validation tool that can specifically check CSS documents based on the version of the CSS code that they’ve employed. Users will have to manually select which version they’re using but, after that, it’s relatively smooth sailing and the validator will print out line-by-line errors of any problems that need to be fixed. If none need to be fixed, the validator will supply the user with a badge to place on their website and show off their high level of skill.
The Cynthia Says Accessibility Validation Portal is designed to ensure that a website can be properly interpreted by screen readers used by those who are vision impaired. The tool prints out a GUI version of the website with errors noted by red flags and suggestions for their easy elimination. Further suggestions for improving a site’s accessibility are printed in a sidebar and users can implement these tips and tricks at their discretion.
A Valid Website is a Better Website
Websites certainly exist all over the internet which use invalid XHTML or CSS code, or employ poor accessibility throughout the site’s construction. These sites look just fine, but they’re often slow to load and have a far more limited reach when it comes to catering to users with disabilities. Because the internet is a vast place, a website’s design should never narrow the prospective audience of readers who might find the site’s content interesting and relevant. Using validation tools to ensure a design’s standards compliance is the best way to get a website loading faster, appearing higher in Google search results, and catering more fully to user expectations.
This guest post is contributed by Debra Johnson, blogger and editor nanny babysitter She welcomes your comments at her email Id: – jdebra84 @ gmail.com.