The topic is far from being new, but it reaches the surface of Web business at regular times. The Web community often struggles between a desire of creating a professional work and the necessity of making a living of one’s business.Molly E. Hoschlag was writing in November 2005 about Web standards and The New Professionalism. She was reminding us about what does that mean to be professional for a Web developer, Web designer:
The essence of this new professionalism isn’t about being perfect at what we do. It’s being able to say: Hey, I don’t know that. Let me go find out. It isn’t about knowing it all, because we surely never will. And, there will be shifts and changes. […]
Today, I want to express that I believe that this new professionalism means taking responsibility for the education of ourselves and each other, and ensuring that reversions like Disney Store UK never happen again.
In article published this week (February 7, 2006) on Evolt, Thomas Ashworth asked the following question Web Standards. Should my Business Website be Compliant? and concludes by
web standards bring real tangible benefits to business. Although finding a design company that will construct a standards compliant site is more difficult than just finding a web designer, the benefits speak for themselves. By moving to a standards based web site businesses can ensure they have accessible sites which are maintainable and future proofed. Increased customer exposure and search engine prominence can all improve the level of business that comes to you via your website. Web standards are the future of the internet and to ignore it could leave your business trailing behind the online competition.
The issue presents two faces, can we try to coin them:
- Web Professionals
- Web Site Clients
It will take time to modify the habits, to teach to your colleagues and to create an ecosystem which is sustainable enough to have good quality and profit, but it is really worthwhile as it has been demonstrated by pioneers in the domain.
Web Site Clients
All person who is in charge of writing a requirement document for the future Web site of a company can change things. You may have to fight and find the right agency but here again the effort is worthwhile. It may even help you to select the right agency to do the job. Do not think about your Web site as something different than your core business. When you are dealing with a supplier, a provider, you need absolutely to get a product of quality.
The main issue is that often you do not know what you should ask. Dominique Hazaël-Massieux has written a document a while ago about this specific topic: Buy standards compliant Web sites. It provides a list of simple requirements that you could add to your Web site requirements document when negociating with Web agencies. Any public feedback on this document is welcome and can be send to the publicly archived mailing list firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will achieve Web standards by acting on both side: responsibility for Web professionals and quality requirements from customers.