The web is very young and is still developing—as well as growing—at a rapid pace. For a long time it was pretty fragmented; a mismatch of all sorts of different technologies being used to display a website and provide functionality.
Over the last couple of few years, many valiant people have been on a quest for some kind of standardisation, and that’s what blue beanie day’s all about!
“Why should I care about web standards?”
As a website owner you might not feel that enthusiastic about web standards but they’re a great idea. Let me tell you why…
You’re probably aware of the wide variety of different browsers as well as the growing mobile market. There are innumerable different devices and web-browsing applications that your website could be viewed on. Without a general consensus from the people who make the browsers for desktop, tablets and phones a web designer’s job would take an awful lot longer as they built your site in various different technologies to avoid excluding any significant portions of the market, and this would be reflected in the cost of your website.
So the bottom line for your business is that web standards save you money!
The bigger picture
Without getting too political, web standards are in keeping with the idea of the web as the great leveller. It makes information available to everyone and gives a voice to those who would normally be unable to express themselves, which is a pretty amazing and hugely important thing, if you stop and think about the implications.
Web standards allow communication with the broadest possible audience: freedom of speech at its most powerful!
Of course that’s all a little idealistic…
In reality, aside from things like state censorship preventing the internet becoming the true leveller that it should be, there are badly coded websites hampering the experience of sight impaired users and those with cognitive difficulties as well as those using older browsers.
But we’re reaching a point where a consensus has been reached on how we should write websites and this can only be a good thing.
What’s that got to do with blue beanies though?
The blue beanie thing is a way of raising awareness of the importance of web standards, as well as celebrating them.
The beanie is a doff of the cap (pun intended!) to Jeffrey Zeldman, who appeared on the front cover of his excellent book Designing With Web Standards
I’d love to know your take on web standards! Give me a shout on Twitter.