Web Stuff

The Future of Web Standards

I’m having a sleepover in the Philadelphia airport, as I write this. It’s  somewhere between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.  Why? Well, Twitter, of course! See, there was a tweet that said:

We’re giving away 5 free student tickets to  the first 5 students or faculty who include #aeaedu in a Tweet. Hurry!

I did. And so did a lot of other people, and I figured I missed the boat.  Then:

Jim, Did you get my message?

BINGO! I went to gray, rainy Boston on Monday. It was, as before, a really good conference. Friendly, like-minded people, excellent food and a sense that we are all working toward a common cause.  And I’ll never pass up the chance to talk with Mr. Zeldman while he’s trying to use the bathroom.

The “standardistas” emphasized:

  • Web sites do not need to look the same in all browsers.
  • Having a “content strategy” is important, because content is king.
  • Design with CSS in the browser and not Photoshop
  • Use a Grid
  • Flash, particularly sIFR, can solve typographic issues
  • User testing is vital

This is standard issue stuff (pun intended), and was highly emphasized at last year’s conference. And the one before that.

Which made me wonder – what’s actually NEW? The web is moving quickly. A lot has happened since the last conference I attended (last August).  Why aren’t we, as designers,  talking about it?

We have jQuery, which is so easy to use, it feels like cheating. It handily repairs shortcomings of IE6 issues, allows us to easily implement AJAX and JSON solutions and gives us ways to enhance our designs with expedient virtuosity previously unthinkable  for most front-end designers.

And, what about Chrome? How does enter into the SEO conversation? How is touch computing affecting web design and mobile devices? How does Flash fit into our conversation, aside from solving typographic issues and video streaming? And Flex?  It does some pretty amazing stuff. What the hell is the W3 actually doing? And, let’s talk about HTML5.

Another observation – every other person I talked with had something to do with Higher Education. Is there a curriculum for Web Standards?  I think it’s time to expand the discussions at Standards based conferences –  the world knows that we strive to keep content separate from formatting and behavior. As a teacher, I see things shift in 5 to 6 month cycles – each new class entering my room knows more than the one that just left. Our conferences should keep up, too.

I’m really glad I got to go – the design portions of the conference were inspiring, as always.  And it’s refreshing to get out of the office (hospital)  and be with other designers, to inspire each other and connect with a community.

So, as I sit here in this empty, quiet airport during the middle of the night, I wonder…what’s next?