Over the years, I’ve come across many web developers that have inconsistent interpretation of what best practices are. In most cases it’s a lack of knowledge at no fault on the individual.

I don’t want to risk sounding elitist, but I’m generally current on new methods, formats, tools, and “standards“. I’m one of those guys who can never get enough of the interweb, so I’m often stuck on the computer until the wee hours of the night catching up on the copious amounts of posts in my bloglines.

No, I don’t claim to ‘know it all’, but I usually have a pretty good grasp and I’m always learning new tricks and ways.

Looking back at WDN, I was a little surprised at the wide spectrum of attendees. Ranging from the veterans such as Molly, Tantek, Andy and Jeremy; to the n00b’s that made the right choice to attend – and learn.

It’s those in the middle that I’m worried about. Those that are happy and proud to have been around a while. Those who have been pumping out websites like it’s nobodies business. And most importantly, those that are either misinterpreting messages, standards or for whatever reason choosing to resist better practices.

On several occasions I overheard someone making statements that unfortunately mapped directly to some common web accessibility myths. I also overheard statements made about progressive enhancement, how the person did popups with addresses in both href and onclick attributes (you’re partway there folks). Or that template languages are a waste of time, why not just use includes and embed PHP in your templates.

Specifically; no, spacer divs are no better than spacer gifs; divitus is often not much better than table-layout and it’s definitely not cool to use <blockquote> or <ul> for indentation; <p> or excessive <br /> for whitespace.

Ultimately, I think the problem boils down to education. We need to get the word out, educate those, inspire others, and make the world a better place. Ok, I admit I stretched a bit with the last one.

I commend the organizers and presenters at Web Directions North as it’s clear they are taking the position of education, positive reinforcement and are for advocating for the consistent interpretation of best practices.

We need more of these talks, with more examples and more open minds.


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