What is the W3C and how does it affect you?

You may have heard about W3C compliancy for website construction or PCI compliancy for ecommerce sites. What are they and why are they important – in a word quality. Let’s look at W3C in this article and see why it is important.

W3C stands for World Wide Web Consortium where a group of volunteers and staff work to develop Web Standards much like ISO standards. They are involved in defining an open web platform for web developers and companies to follow when designing applications online. What does this mean for you and your developer? Well there are backyard mechanics and factory certified mechanics. Who do you want working on your car?

A good development shop will closely follow these standards, for example;

  • Web design and applications for building web pages
  • Web architecture for the underlying technology and principles
  • Semantic web for the interaction of data in databases
  • Web services that include protocols, security and interfaces for accessing data
  • Devices, Browsers and Authoring tools to provide access to the web

We will not get into all of the gory details here but the difference in a professionally designed and coded site (versus one from your nephew’s friend in high school) involves understanding and implementing these standards to create a well designed and well structured set of tools online. Regardless, of whether it is for communications, marketing or a business process. When done poorly web sites do not load properly, can’t be viewed, don’t get indexed and ranked well, crash and basically drive you nuts.

The challenge with our business is it is always changing as new developments drives us forward. It takes experience and great effort from web developers, creative designers, software developers and management to keep up to date. The classic Time/Quality/Value dynamic is really at work here. If one of the three seems too good to be true, it is at the sacrifice of the other two.