Many people ask the question … why validate?
Although most modern browsers will still display code with errors, validation ensures that your web pages meet current HTML and CSS standards. From a web designers point of view validation is a quick and easy way to check for errors that may be causing issues with the way your website renders on the screen.
There are however several areas where website validation is important for your site:
An increasingly important aspect of web design is to develop and create websites where all of the information can be accessed by all visitors … afterall why build a website for your business if a significant portion of internet users cannot access the content?
The validation process helps identify potential areas where issues with accessibility may occur and removes possible “barriers” to visitors who may be vision impaired, motor impaired or cognitive impaired.
For many countries this is now becoming a legal requirement and it is important for both clients and web designers to ensure that your websites do not discriminate.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine spiders use the structure of your web page to identify different components of your content to help with indexing. Whilst errors in code may not stop spiders in their tracks, code that is not correctly formed, e.g.
At the end of the day your goal is to drive traffic to your website through organic search results. It would be unfortunate if all of your hard work developing valuable content is negated by simple errors in the HTML code.
Check out our Search engine optimization and the importance of good code blog post for more information.
Faster Web Page Loading Times
Validated code will help ensure that your browser renders the page as quickly as possible on the screen. In a world where the patience of internet users is constantly decreasing every second helps in guaranteeing that your visitors stay on your website.
Website coding standards take into account future expected developments so although most modern browsers can handle errors in code, validation will help guarantee that as browsers develop your website will be “forwards compatible” and continue to function and render on the screen as originally intended.
Website validation helps reduce the possibility of having to hire a web designer for potentially costly rewrites of your web page in the not too distant future.
Updating Website Code
For web designers, updating other peoples code can be a frustrating a time consuming experience, spending several hours just to correct unecessary errors that should have not occurred in the first place. Creating semantically meaningful, valid HTML and CSS from day one will help your clients update their website in the future and ultimately minimize costs.
Be Professional With Your Web Design
From a web designers point of view, lets not forget one important aspect … creating valid, standards compliant XHTML and CSS is a sign of being professional. Whilst a website may look shiny on the surface, what’s below is equally important.
It is true however that validation does not guarantee that your pages will work in all browsers, neither does it mean that the XHTML and CSS used in the web page layout is appropriate but it is certainly a start to ensuring that your code is optimized and standards compliant. As a client you should expect your code to always validate.