The Relevance of W3C and Validation for Web Design

POSTED BY , UPDATED ON October 13th, 2019

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W3C, what does it mean? W3C is short for the World Wide Web Consortium. W3C sets the guidelines for critical web standards and aims to reduce issues relating to incompatible coding that relates to all the web browsers, and the way they function. Even though these guidelines are not enforceable, thoughtful web designers and programmers generally implement these guidelines and pay special attention to website validation.


Importance of Website Validation

If you are a freelancer in this industry, you’ll often see many job advertisers insist on validation, hence indicating that much of the industry is mindful of W3C implementation. Particularly when it concerns full CSS websites, W3C validation is vital.

Tim Berners-Lee and his colleagues invented the first web browser in 1989. He was also responsible for establishing the consortium as a means to standardize all of the technologies that many of us utilize across all web browsing platforms.

If it were not for this standard being established, the Internet would not have become the global resource that we take for granted. Without this, compatibility between different operating systems would hinder much of the information that travels back and forth.

To recap, the mission of the consortium is to roll out a universal standard, as a means for computers to have the capability to communicate via all web browsers, so the same visual and functional experience is consistent.

As such, the wider community of web designers and web developers work under these guidelines to validate their coding practices accordingly.

Thanks to the efforts by the consortium, let’s say someone in London was using their windows XP or a Macintosh machine, they would still be able to access web pages that might be hosted on a Linux server, in a completely different region of the world.

Assuming that these web pages had been created with W3C validation in mind, the functionality would be identical regardless of the browser being used.


What is the Real Significance of Using Validated code?

Any web browser can render and read HTML, but not all browsers read HTML in exactly the same way. Without W3C validated web pages, a page might look perfect in Internet Explorer but might appear fully or partially broken in Safari.

Often the graphics and functionality will not work the same from one browser to another. Coding web pages with W3C in mind will quite often reduce the level of bug fixes needed when handing over a project to your client.


Why is it That Some Designers and Developers Don’t Implement Compliant Code?

The main reasoning behind this issue comes down to the fact that all HTML editors do not generate code that is fully compliant. As more recent standards are introduced, the lesser is the chance that these editors will produce compliant code.

As far as HTML editors go, Dreamweaver seems to be the best choice for generating compliant code, as opposed to Microsoft‘s Front Page HTML Editor, which is designed mainly for Internet Explorer.

For developers well educated in W3C standards, a portion of hand-coding might be required for implementing the latest standards. Another dilemma faced by developers is that many of the neat features may not be universally compatible with the various browsers. It’s a common pattern for web designers to overlook this, so they can implement their own effects the way they choose.

As a result, common functionality variations between web browsers may result in things like drop-down menus working fine in Internet Explorer, but not functioning in the same manner when viewed in FireFox. To combat such problems, a thoughtful designer may choose to also include additional text links, so visitors are still able to navigate to the same areas of the website.