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W3C Validation: What is it and why to use it?

Learn what w3c is and why to use it, and also how to validate your web page for W3C standards, a simple guide on W3C validation.

Team LoginRadius
Team LoginRadius
January 26, 2015
4 min read

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W3C stands for the World Wide Web Consortium, a recognized global web standards body. Tim Berners-Lee founded this organization and is run by a full-time staff to continue creating and preserving web standards.

These specifications are then used to direct the creation of code that lives up to those standards by web developers and browsers. They write the rule-book in a nutshell, which helps determine whether our code is well-written or poorly written.

Let's understand some essential points of W3C validation.

What is W3C Validation?

World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) allows internet users to check HTML and XHTML documents for well-formatted markup. Markup validation is an important step towards ensuring the technical quality of web pages.

Why Validate a Site on W3C?

W3C validation is the process of checking a website's code to determine if it follows the formatting standards. If you fail to validate your website's pages based on W3C standards, your website will most likely suffer from errors or poor traffic owing to poor formatting and readability.

1. Help Improve Rankings in Search Engines

W3C validation helps you to get better rankings in search engines (SEO). Errors in your code can affect your site's performance and make a big impact on your site's SEO. Search engines check the HTML or XHTML code of your website when searching. 

If they find invalid HTML or XHTML code – meaning code that does not follow the official rules, you might be removed from their indexes. If there is an error on your web page code, robots will stop searching your whole website's content.

2. Validation Helps Teach Best Practices

Having a standards-compliant code is the best practice for web design. It also teaches and encourages best practices for web design. While many veterans have learned to create error-free code and make relatively few validation errors, most beginners make more errors.

Computer validation checks can help beginners learn from their mistakes.

"These technologies, which we call "web standards," are carefully designed to deliver the greatest benefits to the greatest number of web users while ensuring the long-term viability of any document published on the web."Web Standards Group

3. Improved Website User Experience

W3C validated websites will be easily accessed by people with modern browsers. Validation improves usability and functionality because your users are less likely to run into errors when displayed on browsers compared to non-validated websites.

Validation is fully compatible with a wide range of dynamic pages, scripting, active content, and multimedia presentations.

The website validation process allows website designers to correct formatting errors that impact website performance, and following international standards, the code used in websites is reduced in size while improving efficiency.

Because of this, web pages are displayed much faster and flow much better compared to websites that have not been validated.

4. Make Website Browsers Friendly

Making website browsers friendly is one of the biggest reasons why W3C code validation was introduced. Websites that are not validated may display correctly in one browser but not in other browsers. Many websites face cross-browser problems.

Websites that are not validated may display formatting problems when used in certain browsers. On the other hand, W3C validated websites are displayed without errors regardless of what browser is used.

There are five major web browsers: Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Safari, and usage among them translates to millions of internet users.

5. Multiple Device Accessibility

With the recent boom in smartphones and tablets, more people will be accessing the Internet from mobile devices than desktop computers.

By 2020, mobile commerce will reach $2.91 trillion worldwide, and some sectors are seeing an even higher proportion of mobile traffic, so there is a growing need for website owners to maximize the usability of their websites on new devices.

Unfortunately, many website owners do not take advantage of this growth and forego W3C validation that makes sure their websites and web pages are mobile-friendly too. If you want your website to be visited by as many users as possible, accessibility should be a big factor.

6. Validation Help for Easy Coding and Maintenance

Websites or web pages that validate using W3C website validation have code formatted efficiently and are easy to edit, and it helps website owners to create a new page or another new website with similar formatting.

The validated code used in W3C HTML validation, W3C XHTML validation, or W3C CSS validation can be used in future sites.

7. Validation as a Debugging Tool

Validators tell you where you have errors in your code. If your page isn't displaying as expected, a validator might very well point you to the cause of the display problems.

Also, an invalid code that may display fine in one document may show stopping errors in another because of the encompassing code.

How Do You Validate Your Code?

Validation is comparing your code to W3C standards. The best way to validate your code is by using the W3C validation tools.

HTML Validator:

This validator checks the markup validity of web documents in HTML, XHTML, SMIL, MathML, etc

CSS Validator:

This validator checks the CSS validity of web documents in HTML, XHTML etc.

There are plenty of browser extensions that will test the page you're viewing against the W3C validators.

HTML Tidy is another option for validating pages, though it may not offer the exact same results as the W3C validator. One advantage of HTML Tidy is using an extension; you can check your pages directly in the browser without visiting one of the validators sites.

Conclusion

If at all possible, any website should follow W3C validation requirements. It is the right way to do it, but it has many enduring advantages, such as extending the lifespan of the pages, maintaining browser stability, and much more. This will help you understand why W3C is necessary to test all our websites for W3C validation before calling a project complete.


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