Last month Simon Willison wrote a post about how web developers need to move beyond advocating web standards for the sake of being compliant to advocating for best practices in general (which leads to standards adoption anyway).
There are plenty of benefits of re-framing web standards in the larger context of best practice. Firstly, discussions get a lot more interesting – as I’ve just demonstrated, there are enough facets to creating effective sites to keep us talking for years to come. Secondly, wrapping web standards in the larger context of industry best practices makes them a much easier pill to swallow. “Our site doesn’t validate” is a turn-off. “Let’s follow industry best practice” is far more appealing.
The best way I have phrased this in my work is to have “code we can be proud of” on our site. If someone goes to view source on our web pages we should feel proud of the techniques we use and that we are indeed using best practices. During our last redesign that phrase seemed to stick and provides focus to our work.
Simon Willison is making a change to his weblog format which de-emphasizes the date posted and instead gives the title of the post prominence.
Simon Willison: Small design tweak, big difference:
By removing the day headers entirely, I hope to shift the focus of this blog from religious daily updates to entries with a little more substance. I think the psychology of a blog’s design is easily under-rated; I’ve already noticed that my blog entries have been getting longer since I started adding entry titles. At any rate, with this latest design tweak I certainly won’t be rushing out poor quality entries before midnight any more.
I believe that some staff at our office are hesitant to blog because it appears to require a rather large time committment to post every day, which the format does encourage. So, ultimately, this might limit adoption rather than encourage those who do write to post every day. Something to think about.
Another thought: if you get rid of the date emphasis, is it still blogging? It always seems that the reverse chronological order of posts has been a big element and removing the dates de-emphasizes this quite a bit. Simon is obviously still blogging but it’s interesting to see if the form is beginning to evolve a bit.
I’m sure this is nothing new and was debated ad nauseam back in ’99. 🙂 Feel free to post pointers to previous discussion if you know of it.
This is worth checking out if you work with cascading style sheets: Simon Willison: CSS ain’t Rocket Science. Lots of good tips and ideas.