I know what you are thinking…what in the world is XHTML validation? I am glad you asked. XHTML validation ensures that all of your website is up to code. Didn’t know building a website was that much like building a house, did you? Just like in the housing industry, the web design industry has certain rules for structure, and syntax. You don’t have to build to code, but it is certainly better, and more profitable, if you do. Checking to see if your site is validated is fast and easy. So there is no reason not to ensure your web pages are XHTML validated.
Why all the fuss?
I know the arguments already. “I don’t need to validate, my site looks fine”, or “making sure the code is validated is too expensive”, or “it will quench my artistic flair”. All I can say is wrong, wrong, and…boo hoo…wrong! Actually, just because your site looks good on your browser, doesn’t mean it will on every other one. To kill the second argument, you should actually be requiring your web designer to build to proper code in the first place. Finally, in 2010, most of your fantastically designed, content rich websites are built with standard HTML and CSS script. Still not convinced? Let me give you three great reasons to make sure you validate all of your pages:
- It is much easier to apply style and layout consistently across multiple platforms and user agents when you have validated HTML script.
- If your site is built to the proper standard, it stands a much better chance of being handled as it was designed by both present and future web platforms, browser version changes, etc.
- It separates you as a professional web designer from the world of pimple-faced teenagers who quickly hack something together for extra cash.
Okay, I get it…now what?
Now that you are keenly aware of your need to have web pages that are up to standard, I will show you how to check. It is really quite easy.
- Go to the W3C validation site
- type in (or copy and paste) the website address of the page you want to check.
- Wait for the results! (if your page is validated, it will look like this)
If not, the bar on the page will be red, and it will display the number of errors and warnings, along with explanations of each. The explanations are really detailed and can help you when trying to correct the errors(or making your webmaster correct them).
That is literally all there is to it. Fixing the errors may take some time, but you will show what a true professional you are by making the effort to validate your entire website. So before you add any pages, may sure they validate. As a matter of fact, go back and check your old pages too. You may be surprised at what you find.