The WaSP InterACT curriculum empowers educators to teach their students relevant best practices that will prepare them for a career in the Web industry. The foundation of WaSP InterACT is a strong grounding in web standards.
What Are Web Standards and Why Do They Matter?
Web standards are a series of guidelines created by the W3C - the governing body of the Web. They guide the way that we create websites and help ensure that the Web continues to be an open communication platform to which all have equal access.
In general, standards exist to make things simpler and easier. Isn't it convenient that most electrical devices in your country use the same electricity supply, and there is a common language for business and daily interactions?
Now imagine how much more difficult life would be if these facts were not true.
Let us now apply this to the Web. Web standards are technologies that are free to use, and work the same, regardless of device or platform. Provided you build a website using web standards and best practices, it will be usable by anyone, regardless of their location, the device they are surfing the Web with, and any disabilities they may have.
Are Web Standards Relevant to My Discipline or Program?
Web standards have many practical applications in the real world. Businesses, governments, and major organizations recognize the benefits of web standards, and are hiring accordingly. Web standards are important to you, regardless of your career path or program of study:
- Web standards make your website more findable to search engines such as Google, and therefore can generate more traffic to your website.
- Programmer/Computer Science
- Web standards encourage terse, efficient code that is easier to maintain. Writing code to the W3C's standard helps ensure your websites will work across all major web browsers.
- Web standards will help you achieve consistency in your design across browsers, and opens up a host of design possibilities. At the same time if you want to modify the type, color, or other formatting across an entire website, you can do so by making changes to a single code file.
- All Programs and Disciplines
- Companies have been sued for millions of dollars because their websites are inaccessible to disabled users. Building with web standards removes the risk of expensive, reputation damaging litigation.
- All Web Users
- Because web standards foster more efficient coding practices, pages often require less code which means users will experience faster page load times. Web standards keep content open and accessible to all users on the Web, regardless of disability or browsing platform.
In essence, following web standards is critical for the evolution and well being of the Web as an open communication medium for all users.
Getting Ahead in Industry
The web industry recognizes these points, and increasingly more and more jobs require knowledge of web standards and best practices. Therefore it is essential that schools teach their students these relevant skills to properly prepare them for a career on the Web. At the moment it is hard to find graduates with the required skills to become a professional web designer/developer. Some companies hire people and then have to give them extensive training to get them up to speed with required skills.
Advocate Web Standards in Your School
Give this document to your colleagues, your administrators, or - if you are a student - your teachers. Share with them the benefits of web standards and the relevance to their discipline. Show them the WaSP InterACT curriculum, and related resources such as the Opera Web Standards Curriculum so they can prepare students for a successful career on the Web.