Back to basics…

Having just read the biggest web design mistakes made in 2004 from, I’m wondering whether I have something to confess. In my exuberance to promote web standards I may have been guilty of making an idol out of the technique. While web standards are good, and wholesome, and necessary, and useful they aren’t the be-all-and-end-all for a website. Design and the quality of content are of far more importance to the majority of visitors, so it’s that which I should be concentrating on. My source code might be beautiful, but not many people see that.

However I do disagree with one thing. The author makes this point:

Remember, nobody gets excited about the tools used to build a house (“Please tell me what brand of hammers you used!”). People get excited about how the house looks and performs.

But that analogy doesn’t really stand up. A more correct parallel would be to equate the use of web standards in a site to the quality of materials used for a building. Finding out what brand of hammers a builder uses is like asking which web design or coding program a web designer uses. Interesting to geeks, perhaps, but not really relevant to most people.