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Compliancy Standards – Why Bother?


Active Member
Article by Matt our New Media Director

Firstly you may be asking yourself what are Compliancy Standards? It’s a fair question and unless you’re responsible for designing and developing websites you’re unlikely to have encountered it. Compliancy Standards is a term used to describe websites and web browser’s relative compliance with the standards proposed by the World Wide Consortium (W3C) for interoperability of web content.

Put simply this asks is your website accessible and understood by as wide an online audience as possible without discrimination to limitations of technology and disability?

This includes the code used to build the website, HTML, PHP, ASP, Javascript etc., the rise in use of CSS style sheets and other rich media technologies in determining how your website looks in a browser. A cursory look around the web will demonstrate clearly that most web pages don’t comply with the W3C’s specifications.

The most obvious accusation for failing to comply is that the developer has been lazy – as long as the site displays correctly to themselves and their clients they ignore the wider public unless there are obvious functional errors – but the tools have to be in place to make compliancy achievable. Whilst huge advancements have been made in recent years by the likes of Mozilla Firefox and Opera to ensure better interoperability to help developers meet compliancy standards there is still room for improvement and anyone simply checking across a range of browsers isn’t doing enough.
The variances between different browser versions and platforms can be maddeningly difficult to level out but it is worth the time and effort and this is the assertion of the Web Standards Project (WaSP) a group of professional developers dedicated to disseminating and encouraging the use of web standards worldwide and reducing the cost and complexity of achieving that goal.

It’s not compulsory is it?

W3C long ago decided they didn’t wish to only be a standards agency – leaving that job to ISO – which is why their particular standards are often mistakenly seen as mere guidelines. We can say emphatically that W3C web development criteria are not guidelines they are far more important than that which is why meeting Level 1 W3C standards means you also meet those set out by the DDA and therefore are not potentially breaking the law.

Can I check my website?

Once you’ve decided that compliancy standards aren’t just something you’d like to try and that the benefits far outweigh the time and cost of having a compliant website you’ll need to determine where you’re currently situated.

If you already have a website you can visit http://validator.w3.org – and enter your domain name. Prepare yourself for bad news as it’s unlikely you’ll pass, but on the positive side you will be told what’s wrong and armed with this information you can move ahead with improvements and fix things.

Isn’t compliancy a lot of fuss for little reward?

Actually no, spending some time to get your standards up to scratch can earn you much more than respect or a pat on the back. According to a recent Disability Rights Commission survey around 81% of websites are not fully compliant so a huge number are missing out on the added benefits of compliancy such as;

  • Improved search engine rankings
  • More efficient Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
  • Faster navigation speeds
  • Quicker loading times
  • An enhanced online profile
  • Strong visitor retention
  • Increased revenue (by a minimum of 10% on average)
It seems a logical choice to set your business apart from the massed ranks of non-compliant websites and embrace Compliancy Standards as part of your online presence.
Your website is elevated to a new level when it comes to customer experience, search engine indexing and online validation. There’s a greater opportunity to get a return on your investment and you can be satisfied that you’re doing everything you can to help usher in a more inclusive era of online content.

Compliancy Standards ? Why Bother? | Armadillo Creative


Staff member
There's 3 things I'm trying to follow with my new site, w3c validation for both the css and html, seo best practices and then optimisations for the best performance on the site (compressed js, images etc).

It just made sense to me to make sure the site followed the best practices when I'm making it as it saves me having to go back and fix things :)


Active Member
Sunburn said:
spam ? lol

Ban him!!!!:D Most probably bugger off and never post again.

Just some general reference articles that may or may not be of use to certain people, or not...

Now... where is that 'submit article to 10,000 forums' button??
Good article. Gave me a few more selling points when explaining to clients why adhering to Compliancy Standards is a good thing, and how it can enhance their site. Thanks for posting Mr. Burgess!


Senior Member
I think standards are something to consider, and not just take as gospel.

For instance, target="_blank" on links,,, opens in a new window, now I know this is 'bad practise' for alot of situations, but for example .... If I have a terms & conditions at the bottom of a form you have filled in, and I want my site not to be dependant on javascript, should I use standards and hacks or should I use non-standards....

I feel to use a hack in this situation is worse practise and slower than breaking standards, and will happily do so on many occasions, would prefer this to a tiny image to say "I can code to standards, mainly by using hacks"


Active Member
Sorry to Matt your new media director but....
Compliancy Standards is a term used to describe websites
Is it?????
I've never heard of it TBH, and the only search results that come up are for your site, and other sites with this article in Google.
The search ~ Compliancy Standards - Google Search

Your results on the first page alone ~
Compliancy Standards ? Why Bother? | Armadillo Creative //Position 3

http://www.designforums.co.uk/web-coding-development/2911-compliancy-standards-why-bother.html //Position 5

Compliancy Standards – Why Bother? - UK Business Forums //Position 6 and 7 I see you got some grief on that 1 not sure exactly what they said but I guess this articles not to help others IMO.

Compliancy Standards - Why Bother? //Position 8

Also a search of the W3C website doesn't even bring up the term. :down:
Compliancy Standards - Google Search

So err....sorry but I've never heard of it.
What I have heard, and if you search for it you will find results, are the terms
Standard compliant Web sites,
and Web standards.

Both terms are found on the W3C website, and many, many, many others.

Put simply this asks is your website accessible and understood by as wide an on-line audience as possible without discrimination to limitations of technology and disability?
Err....sorry but no, that would be the DDA, or the 1995 Disability Discrimination Act to be precise.

The W3C gives you the way of doing it but doesn't necessarily mean you have to do it.

For example you have a picture of a pie chart.
So ~
<img src="path/to/pic/of/pie/chart.jpg" />

Run it through the W3C validator and it will flag it up as not having an Alt attribute.

So you add 1 ~
<img src="path/to/pic/of/pie/chart.jpg" alt="" />

Run it through the validator and it now passes.

Now hands up to anyone in the room to what is exactly wrong with that, even though it passes the W3C validator???

I mean anyone at all?

Okay, okay I'll give you the answer.
If that pie chart contains information that a blind user needs it is still inaccessible, even though it has passed W3C guidelines at the highest level, therefore the site is still not legally safe.

This would not make you legally safe in that instance.

Granted if you followed the actual documentation then yes it would but that would require you to read the lot, and there is a lot, but as I point out the validator will still not flag it up, so.....

But as this article has got your site/other sites linking to yours, 5 positions out of 10 on the search page for this term, this thread, sorry to say is a spam thread, and sorry but some sections do also need to be re-written to be properly correct, as they currently aren't and implies something that you may not offer.

For example you say to a client look you are legally safe as it passes validation look at the link below to have it independently verified.
Your clients site ~ armadillo-creative

I'm not even going to go into the fact that yours doesn't even pass validation ~
Line 180, Column 118
: required attribute "cols" not specified.
If you would like me to clarify to Matt what's up with that please let me know. :)

And we got back to the above example with the pie chart it would pass validation, but doesn't mean they are legally safe at all.

Don't get me wrong I'm an advocate of standards and accessibility, 2 completely different things run by 2 different bodies or technically 18 different bodies, 1 being the W3C the other 17 being governments of specific countries that have their own DDA's/Versions of for example Section 508 of the US Rehabilitation Act, but get it totally right and then make sure yours passes first other wise it's like telling your children not to smoke while you blow cigarette smoke in their faces.

Hope you don't take offence, may of had a bad day, but still dude....stop spamming the same article on a few sites to dominate 1 term for your site as this is what this thread is for lets face it. :cry:

This is known in the SEO trade as, any one?
SERP domination, I would know as it's my speciality but I wouldn't do it on here as I have a little thing called respect to ppl who have helped me out.

I would say the rest of the article does seem more or less correct though.

Shame on you Berry...shame.....on.....you! :D


Key ~
Purple ~ XHTML
Red ~
armadillo-creative invalid coding error. :)


Active Member
Jeez Jaz, that reply is longer than most of my post put together!
I'll sit back with a glass of wine and in my Ludite way try and decipher it tonight, then I'll cane Matt in the morning before buggers off on Canada on holiday and leaves Armadillo besieged by the Spam Squad for 2 weeks;)


Active Member
WC3 Standards Compliance and Accessibility get continually confused.

WC3 Standards are there to ensure browsers view things in the same way as to agreed standards.. things like not putting inline elements inside block elements and ensuring all html tags are closed. So don't put a div inside a paragraph (<p> <div> </div> </p>) close break tags (<br /> opposed to <BR>) etc etc.

Accessibility is what is says on the tin, making sure the content of the page (including that in images) is viewable to all, text resizable etc.

As Jaz rightly says a page can be "Standards Compliant" and not be "Accessible" and conform to the DDA.


Bloody hell Jaz... when you post reply's you really do think about them don't you... that'll take me a while to read through :p nice reply though :)


Senior Member
tbwcf, (I realise you would know this but...) ending <br> tags etc. is all down to your doctype and can still be validated aslong as you use the correct ones. I imagine this is similar for many things... but either way I stand by my statement as standards to be considered as best practise but not followed as gospel, and agree with jaz in that all standards have to be followed correctly if at all and not just to pass some laws & standards, and actually to help people who need them there for a reason...


Active Member
I'll sit back with a glass of wine
I'll have to start by saying fair plays fella. But don't give him that hard a time, as more or less he's correct just slightly wrong in places, or places could be re-worded better if I'm honest.

On top of that I have my squad besieging some1 else at the mo, so don't worry about it in the short term. :D

Aww....maybe you explained the point in a somewhat shorter way than me, huh interesting. :cry:

Err...no what makes you say that..okay maybe I do have a slight OCD occasionally. :(

I agree IMO standards, guidelines and laws are there to help people do better in their business so as long as you follow them IMO then you are only bettering your business.

The 7 mile run I've just done has obviously put me in a better mood this morning, or is it the hang over, mmmm.......



Active Member
Aww I know and I cant believe you gave it up fella, you must be crazy.
My endorphins this morning where through the roof when I got back, going to go and make myself a nice omelette full of protein low in carbs, go gym for an hour then go and do some resistance swimming for an hour me thinks, awww the joys of only working 7 on 7 off, or how I like to put it less than half the year with 32 days worth of holidays thrown on top. It's a hard life it really is you know. :D

O and then I may get round to 3 hours worth of free-lancing tonight as well.


I gave it up because I had a busted knee from a bad tackle :( also had other problems arise in New Zealand.. Came back here and didn't really feel like starting it all back up again :p :lol: