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  1. #1
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Being standard compliant, can it really give us the edge?

    While I work on my site to make it standard compliant, I checked number of sites to see if they are standard compliant; it turns out that I have not found even one site that is standard compliant(I've been checking major sites only by the way). For example,

    CNN 52 errors http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=ht...www.cnn.com%2F
    New York Times 451 errors http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=ht...nytimes.com%2F
    IBM 1 error http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=ht...bm.com%2Fus%2F (Ok, IBM is doing a pretty good job)
    Sun 7 errors http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=ht...om%2Findex.xml (Not bad)
    Microsoft No DOCTYPE specified http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=ht....microsoft.com
    Yahoo Not able to extract the document http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=ht...w.yahoo.com%2F

    Being standard compliant, can it really give us the edge? I mean, I read number of articles posted on sitepoint and I am quite convinced that it is of great importance to make the site standard compliant, but does it really contribute to attract more visitors? Can it really help us to differentiate from competitors?

  2. #2
    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stoli_sambuca
    Being standard compliant, can it really give us the edge? I mean, I read number of articles posted on sitepoint and I am quite convinced that it is of great importance to make the site standard compliant, but does it really contribute to attract more visitors? Can it really help us to differentiate from competitors?
    Of course being standards-compliant alone doesn't attract more business, unless you cater to an audience that works towards standards-compliance (i.e. selling XHTML strict templates or something). However, if your site is faster than your competitor's site and you have more compelling content, or even if you get higher rankings in search engines from removing the cruft out of your pages, it will attract more visitors. I guess what I'm saying is that compliance alone won't get you more visitors, but the side effects of being standards-compliant can have its benefits. Just don't expect that "valid XHTML" button to be the sole reason you get a few more people on your site.

  3. #3
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stoli_sambuca
    but does it really contribute to attract more visitors?
    that's not the point. visitors don't care how the site is coded, as long as it's quick and it works. in terms of quickness, using standards - and separating content from presentation - can help you considerably. also in terms of search engine positioning, having lightweight standards-compliant code increases the content to markup ratio and can, in some search engines, increase relevance (not to mention that using proper Heading tags etc as opposed to purely visual markup can also increase weighting on key words)

    Can it really help us to differentiate from competitors?
    see the second part of the above reply. also, it can help you differentiate because it then enables you a lot easier to implement things like complete style and layout switching, and easier site-wide maintenance.
    re·dux (adj.): brought back; returned. used postpositively
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  4. #4
    Caveat surfer Buddy Bradley's Avatar
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    Perhaps also worth pointing out that the sites you have surveyed don't NEED to be compliant, as they already have millions of visitors a year - if it ain't broke, don't fix it (although I'm sure they will become compliant at some point in the future).

  5. #5
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    yup...also keep in mind that those big sites all use some sort of content management system. the big established (read: expensive) systems still chuck out some of the most violently ugly html around. it's not just a case of quickly deciding to switch to standards...some of these tools need to be updated first to allow for that.
    re·dux (adj.): brought back; returned. used postpositively
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  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard jag5311's Avatar
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    Lets take coldfusion for example. If you setup a form so that the output will be on a page (like a news article or something and you want it to have separate paragraphs, you usually have to use #ParagraphFormat(blah)#. Well unfortuntely, that creates this

    <P> no closing tag, but 1 nice capital p tag. Not very standards compliant huh. So the next best thing is a custom tag developed that for every carriage return in a form creates a new paragraph, and it puts a <p> at the beginning and a closing </p> for ya. So that is nice, I use it on my gamecube site. I would still prefer to have it work out where I could do double carriage returns and that will represent a paragraph all while utilizing the lowercase <p> tags.

    that was a little off topic, but I felt it was an example of Garbage code. Coldfusion likes to do CAPITAL letters in alot of their code, especially javascript.

  7. #7
    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jag5311
    that was a little off topic, but I felt it was an example of Garbage code. Coldfusion likes to do CAPITAL letters in alot of their code, especially javascript.
    Given Macromedia's recent push for standards-compliance and accessibility in Dreamweaver and even (gasp!) Flash, I think the next CF update could address that. As to whether hosts/sysadmins will move to the next version of CF just because of that, only time will tell.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Wizard jag5311's Avatar
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    true. For now, Custom UDFs and tags.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Zealot Octal's Avatar
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    As vgarcia points out there are a number of positive side effects from being accessible, also highlighted in this Sitepoint interview

    1. Accessibility extends the reach of our service.
    2. Accessibility makes our site inter-operable.
    3. Accessibility is a demonstration of our corporate social responsibility.
    4. If our competitors are accessible and we aren’t, we may be viewed in a bad light and lose custom.
    5. There are over 8m people in the UK with a combined spending power estimated at £45 billion per annum.
    6. Accessible design enhances the user experience for everyone (e.g. the site downloads more quickly, more technologies are supported).
    7. Inaccessible sites may be in breach of the 1995 Disability Discrimination Act.
    8. RNIB works with companies to highlight best practice through positive press stories and events.
    9. If our Website is inaccessible, we may be excluding potential future employees with disabilities, which is also unlawful.
    10. Accessibility is not about limiting creativity. The very act of working to standards and guidelines that include the maximum audience is a very creative process.
    Octal - All your base-8 belong to us
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    Willing is not enough, we must do." - Bruce Lee


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