Screw NN4! (Zeldman on standards)

If only my clients would read this and agree… Digital Web Magazine – Features: 99.9% of Websites Are Obsolete

The irony is that no one beside Yahoo’s management cares what Yahoo looks like. The site’s tremendous success is due to the service it provides, not to the beauty of its visual design (which is non-existent).That this otherwise brilliant company wastes untold bandwidth to deliver a look and feel no one admires says everything you need to know about the entrenched mindset of developers who hold “backward compatibility” in higher esteem than reason, usability, or their own profits.

Author: Andrew Hinton

I use information to architect better places for humans. More at

2 thoughts on “Screw NN4! (Zeldman on standards)”

  1. My clients pointed it out to me and said how happy they were I took them down this path toward validation. They are only validating 4.01 Transitional, but it is a step and once NN4 drops below 500 page views per month (currently at 8k) we move to XHTML transitional with CSS layout. I am teaching them box model now.

    The best things about validating are it make section 508 accessibility a rather simple hurdle to cross and all the pages are usable on mobile devices with no extra coding (except for the form areas). We have government employees in the field that can read the content we are converting and creating, yet their own groups do not show up properly on their mobile devices. We are saving them and the taxpayers a good chunk of money. Well structured information has its benefits. Well structured information with its presetation separated out is rather easy to repurpose also. Sucking that info into a database or XML structure with a script or two is rather easy work and you are many steps along the path to building a CMS.

    The best thing is to have receptive clients that understand and care about their information. The client also has to be willing to learn. Explaining the benefits of moving to standards based markup is a first step. The benefits are great.

  2. Zeldman’s elitist crusade doesn’t carry much weight with real-world decision makers.

    Why? Yahoo works in all sorts of browsers, and users don’t care if the code is standards-compliant. The fact is, Yahoo’s site has better browser-compliance than Zeldman’s. What’s the business benefit of dumping code that works for buggy, less capable, evolving technology?

    While design pundits can complain about sites like Yahoo, they haven’t built anything approaching the complexity or utility of it. The fact is, it’s impossible to build a web page using CSS for style that has the complexity of a typical Yahoo page. If you could come close, your code would be convoluted and full of jerry-rigged patches to make it work with various browsers.

    If pundits want to move business people to try out the CSS approach, they’d better be able to show a web page that uses CSS instead of tables for layout and styling that approaches the complexity of a Yahoo page. Then they’d better be able to show how doing it with CSS instead of tables and font tags will make a company more money.

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