First of all, this is not off-topic at all. In fact, I reckon it's the most
important issue facing developers/designers on this list.
Here are some comments based on Peter's and my experience.. Take or leave as
you wish. :)
We always sit down with our clients and discuss (amongst other things)
target audiences and browser levels. If we feel the client's audience is
suited to a full css site, we let the client know our preferred decision and
the effects this will have (in simple terms). Generally, this is enough for
most clients and they are happy for us to proceed. If the client is obsessed
with further info, we outline the options:
1. faster loading - better for user and client
2. easier to maintain - cheaper for client updates
2. work better across modern and future browsers - better for all
3. provide printer specific options without any new pages needed
4. provide more accessible code - better for specific users and devices
5. ability to provide assistive options like style switchers.
These benefits will be available to around 90-95% of your audience. At the
same time, no browsers or devices will be alienated in the process - old
browsers will get all content, just with slightly reduced visual formatting.
1. table based pages - slower rendering and more code
2. harder to maintain
3. less accessible to people and devices
4. no special print options
This option is aimed at the lower 10% of your audience at the cost of the
We have not had a client choose option 2 yet. Having said that, there may be
times when option 2 is the best - if you are dealing with a high percentage
of NN4 users or a specific intranet etc.
BOSSES / MANAGEMENT
Most bosses focus on the bottom line. If you need to get up to speed on
developing with web standards, this takes time so the boss or management
will have to pay for this in some form. However, in the long run, the
company benefits (faster development, better provision of service), and the
companies clients benefit (see list above).
If you want to start pushing web standards in your work place, it becomes a
case of sitting the bosses/management down and outlining the aims, costs
(generally in staff time) and benefits to all players (boss, staff,
In early 2002, this is what Peter and I did with our employer at the time.
We asked for some time off to learn about standards, with the aim to the
benefit us and our users. We were successful.
PART OF THE PROCESS
After some time in the wilderness (while you learn the ins and outs),
building with web standards become part of your process - part of everyday
work. As Justin said, going back is VERY hard.
ONE STEP AT A TIME
The key point about standards is that they are not a black and white issue.
We are all "moving towards" standards. While some developers have made more
progress than others, we are all still learning (I know that sounds corny!).
The key, when beginning, is to focus on achievable steps. If you only
achieve the removing of all font tags and replacing them with CSS1, you have
made a huge step forward. If you make your code more valid - even if you
donšt achieve 100% valid code - you are making progress. If you tackle some
accessibility issues on your site, you are making progress. If you keep a
basic table for layout, but use CSS for all other stying, you have made
The big advantage that we all have now is resources. There is a huge wealth
of tutorials, blogs, books, mail-lists and people that can help you start or
continue the process.
> I have a question for you all, given that quite a few of you work for large,
> CMS-type companies and the collective level of experience here is seemingly
> very large:
> How many of you have experienced working for companies/clients which
> actively embrace the standards and protocols/working methods we discuss here
> every day? It seems to me that very often dealing with clients and client
> needs makes using standards to the fullest an impractical thing at best.
> I'd like to know how many of you have experienced work-places where
> standards are extremely important, and not just an afterthought in the
> production process.
> This is perhaps a little off-topic, but I think it's worth a discussion
> because the PRACTICAL, real-world use of standards is surely of utmost
> importance to us all.
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