Validation: For Whom the Bell Tolls

You start by creating a page that looks good, something with personality. The goal is to let your audience know, right away, where they are and what’s going on. Take Ernie’s page, for example (go there and then come back, or better yet, open it in a new window).

With its simple layout, clean look, great use of color and images, the page grabs your attention right away. Now look closer, and you’ll see that his design does all the work in explaining what the page is all about. You know what you’re looking at, and you can probably already predict the tone of his writing before reading the first word. This design method works well here, freeing you from distraction so you can get to what’s important: the content.

So he’s got a good design that works. But what about the stuff beneath his design, what about his markup?

Long story short: it ain’t right.

He’s got all kinds of errors. Required attributes: omitted. Attributes that don’t belong: included. Worse: no Doctype specified. Ernie, we’re in trouble.

So what’s a guy to do? Zeldman would tell you it’s not good design without good code. He’d tell Ernie that he needs to abandon bad markup and move toward standards.

I think it’s possible to have both. Hivelogic looks pretty good and also validates. So does A List Apart. But Evhead doesn’t. Harrumph doesn’t. In fact, most of my favorite weblogs – and websites – don’t.

Let’s get our act together and start moving forward. With WaSP on its way out, it’s up to us to keep the faith.

So let’s go.

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