Valid code and happy designers

Writing valid XHTML and CSS takes a little extra time but can save a client money and a designer their sanity. In the relatively brief history of web design there has been a great deal of controversy concerning web standards. Designers like to make money and making money means completing projects quickly. Typically, if the client liked it and it rendered correctly then the project is done. The major browser manufacturers carry some of the blame in their efforts to have the latest and greatest features they have implemented web page design elements in their own way. Rather than engendering innovation they have had the effect of creating a Tower of Babel of incompatible tags. In the old days,  some designers used any hack necessary to get a page to display properly in the the most popular web browsers of the time. However, in the past several years, the web standards community has been increasingly vocal about incompatible code and rendering problems. This has been especially true with IE-only sites that will not render properly or at all in alternative browsers such as Firefox, Safari, Opera, and Chrome. However, a standards compliant site provides greater interoperability for the same content on different platforms.

Another additional benefit of writing valid code is that it is easier to read, edit, and redesign. Separating the presentation of a site from its content using stylesheets seems like a no brainer. Theoretically you could redesign an entire site just by editing the stylesheet and the graphics without ever touching the XHTML. We have a number of clients who move to us from other hosts and the amount of spaghetti code that we are asked to edit sometimes makes us want to pull our hair out.

The point is, you can write sloppy code if you want to. You could even use <blink> tags in a site designed entirely in tables and transparent gifs if you were so inclined. But where is the return on investment for the client? There is a high probability that you are not the last one that will ever touch their website. So have a heart and validate your XHTML and CSS. You will get faster at making lean, mean standards compliant sites that look good on any browser.

Tags: , , , ,

Comments are closed.