Web Standards as a Tool, not a Goal

Do you know what Web Standards are? Chances are if you’re in the website development industry you do. Or should. But if you’re the typical client of a website development firm, you either have no idea what they are, or do and don’t care.

I have been in the IT industry for a long time, and developing websites for almost as long. I read a lot of blogs, some of which evangelize web standards for client work to the point that they’re willing to sacrifice satisfying a goal for a tool. They have it backwards. Standards are the tool. Satisfying the client’s need is the goal.

Here’s an analogy: The goal is to have a nice house. You don’t care how it’s built. You have confidence in the fact that contractors, plumbers, etc. are following their industry standards. You just want to move in.

Website developers should care about standards, but there’s no need to be arrogant about it. Use it as a minor point when selling your services, but that’s all. Anything more than that is lost on the majority of your client base, and common knowledge at this point by your colleagues in the website development industry.

It’s a bonus if someone who doesn’t already know about them, would like to learn know about website standards. That’s an opportunity to educate and build relationships.