W3C Design Standards

Sticking With The Standards

The Web is fundamentally designed to work for all people, whatever their hardware, software, language, location, or ability. When the Web meets this goal, it is accessible to people with a diverse range of hearing, movement, sight, and cognitive ability.

So how do we deal with this diversity?

The best way is to follow the standards documented by the Word Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Sticking with web standards is our primary tool for ensuring the site is consistent won all standards-compliant browsers (that’s approximately 99% of browsers in current use). It also helps to make content forward-compatible as web technologies and browser capabilities evolve.

The notion of standards compliance may seem like a no-brainer, but it used to be that everyone, including the popular browser makers, played fast and loosed with HTML and scripting. The price we paid was incompatible browser implementations and the need to create sites twice to make them work for everyone. Web standards are your friends and you can read more about them below.

W3C Design Standards

W3C develops technical specifications and guidelines through a process designed to maximize consensus about the content of a technical report, to ensure high technical and editorial quality, and to earn endorsement by W3C and the broader community.

HTML & CSS

HTML and CSS are the fundamental technologies for building Web pages: HTML (html and xhtml) for structure, CSS for style and layout, including WebFonts. Find resources for good Web page design as well as helpful tools.

JavaScript Web APIs

Standard APIs for client-side Web Application development include those for Geolocation, XMLHttpRequest, and mobile widgets. W3C standards for document models (the “DOM”) and technologies such as XBL allow content providers to create interactive documents through scripting.

Graphics

W3C is the home of the widely deployed PNG raster format, SVG vector format, and the Canvas API. WebCGM is a more specialized format used, for example, in the fields of automotive engineering, aeronautics.

Audio and Video

Some of the W3C formats that enable authoring audio and video presentations include HTML, SVG, and SMIL (for synchronization). W3C is also working on a timed text format for captioning and other applications.

Accessibility

W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) has published Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) to help authors create content that is accessible to people with disabilities. WAI-ARIA gives authors more tools to create accessible Web Applications by providing additional semantics about widgets and behaviors.

Internationalization

W3C has a mission to design technology that works across cultures and languages. W3C standards such as HTML and XML are built on Unicode, for instance. In addition, W3C has published guidance for authors related to language tags bi-directional (bidi) text, and more.

Mobile Web

W3C promotes “One Web” that is available on any device. W3C’s Mobile Web Best Practices help authors understand how to create content that provides a reasonable experience on a wide variety of devices, contexts, and locations.

Privacy

The Web is a powerful tool for communications and transactions of all sorts. It is important to consider privacy and security implications of the Web as part of technology design. Learn more about tracking and Web App security.

Math on the Web

Mathematics and formula are used on the Web for business reports, education materials and scientific research. W3C’s MathML enables mathematics to be served, received, and processed on the World Wide Web, just as HTML has enabled this functionality for other types of content.

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