The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international community that develops open standards to ensure the long-term growth of the Web
Having a website that adheres to the W3C standards means the code behind the site you see in the browser window is all correct and compliant to set down rules.
Checking that a page “displays fine” in several contemporary browsers may be a reasonable insurance that the page will “work” today, but it does not guarantee that it will work tomorrow.
One of the simplest ways to check whether a page is built in accordance with Web standards is to carry out a validation test on the W3C website. Validation provides one of the most reliable guarantees that future Web platforms will handle a page as designed.
The benefits of W3C Standards
- Decreases development and maintenance costs
- Improves accessibility
- Can decrease your hosting costs
- Search engine placement can rise
- Increase income through the web site
Complying with web standards can give your web pages greater visibility in web searches. The coding and structure present in a compliant web page makes it easy for search engines to access and evaluate the information so that they get indexed more accurately.
Compliant sites can be easily converted to other formats allowing for simplified migration to new systems, hardware as well as software, including devices such as mobile phones and PDAs.
W3C complaint pages not only allow the web to be used by people with disabilities, but also allow web pages to be understood by people using browsers other than the usual ones. These include voice browsers that read web pages aloud to people with sight impairments, Braille browsers that translate text into Braille, hand-held browsers with very little monitor space, teletext displays, and other unusual output devices.
A website may go through several teams of designers during its lifetime; therefore it is important that those people are able to comprehend the code and to edit it easily. Web standards offer a set of rules that every Web developer can follow, understand, and become familiar with: When one developer designs a site to the standards, another will be able to pick up where the former left off.
A major consequence of ignoring standards is that you will restrict access to your site.
For a business site, denying access to even small portions of a target audience can make a big difference to your profit margin.
For an educational site, it makes sense to allow access not only to affluent, able-bodied school-children with graphical browsers, but also to children in regions with poorly-developed infrastructure who are best served by text-only browsing, or disabled students using specialised browsers.