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Standards compliance, huh?

I decided to run quick CSS and HTML/XHTML markup validation tests on major sites using the tools on the W3C website (here: markup and CSS). Here’s what I found:

site markup errors CSS errors
Google 62; 9 warnings 1
Slashdot 145 none none 52
Technorati 13; 6 warnings 19
Yahoo! 48; 44 warnings none 318; 69 warnings 52
Microsoft 176; 36 warnings 33
Lifehacker 314; 70 warnings 2

Despite such errors, since browsers will almost always load pages the way they were intended to, it makes sense to reduce code, especially when your site receives millions of hits. Google’s homepage, for instance, doesn’t even have a DOCTYPE declaration. But as web designers and students of the trade who are persistently insisted across textbooks, websites and workplaces to follow standards, where does that leave us?


  1. If you've got all the time in the world, or a big budget and big staff, or a pre-existing site you just hacked together that just so happens to work in most browsers, standards compliance means little as long as its accessible (mostly for the impared, visually or physically).

    However, for someone like me, standards are vital: when I'm designing a site from scratch, I need to get the best result with as little effort as possible. Standards let me do this, since they significantly cut down on the number of bugs that crop up.

    Of course, unlike the new york times and all them's folk, I don't have to support IE6, Netscape Navigator 5.0.x, etc, just the current generation of browsers with pretty good support.

  2. It's only when I got to understand web standards did I realize web pages are indeed documents, with given structures aimed at storing and presenting data while making it accessible. Web standards make a lot of sense, but as you point out, the big organizations seem to muscle through everything!


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