The case of the missing alt attribute.

Jennifer Sutton brought this interesting factoid to my attention today: the single most common HTML validation error is the missing alt attribute. Of the 100 most common validation errors collected by W3C Love, a missing alt attribute comes it at number one — with almost double the occurrences of the next most common error. It’s 2012, and the key mistakes in HTML seem to remain the same. Now, one can’t help but hope — since these are the results of […]

Best Practices in Web Development: Part 4

Part 1 (Contracts, Site Requirements,Information Architecture) Part 2 (Hosting and Security) Part 3 (Navigation, Scent) Part 4 (Semantics, Structure vs. Design, Universal design) Part 5 (Interaction, Errors, and Administration) So, we’re finally getting to the meat of best practice web development. This is what people are usually thinking of when they ask about best practices in web design or web programming: actually building the web site itself. Web design best practices encompass a wide range of needs — everything from […]

Guide to Semantic Use of HTML Elements

This is part 2 of 2. Part 1 is Why use Semantic HTML? This guide only deals with HTML4/XHTML elements which have a specific, human-readable meaning. The semantics of elements such as link, which are not seen in normal browsing, have been left out, as have replacement elements like img or object. In some cases, I’ve also addressed specific attributes which are critical to providing semantic value to an element. This is not a guide which demonstrates the opinion of […]

Why use semantic HTML?

This is part 1 of 2. Part 2 is my Guide to the use of Semantic HTML Elements I’ve seen a lot of articles discussing the importance of HTML and XHTML semantics. I’ve seen articles describing what it means for a document to be semantic. Most of these articles, however, don’t provide a serious overview of what HTML elements actually may be considered semantic — and what those semantic elements actually mean. And, even more particularly, why it matters. Semantics […]

Supporting Standards that Support Accessibility

The justification that a web site is accessible because it “follows standards” contains a serious fallacy. Specifically, the assumption that standards support accessibility. One root of current standard accessibility practice is conformance to the HTML or XHTML standards set by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). This is a fine practice, and certainly should be maintained. Using correct syntax and following a standardized method of communicating information is always a solid best practice. However, this should absolutely not be taken […]

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