Validate It!

Posted on Sep 16th 2009 | 1comments

Web designing is certainly not a piece of cake. You have to consider a lot of things while designing websites. In fact, web designers have a long checklist of all the things that needs to be checked on the website before launching it. You can view some of these checklists here

One of the most important checkpoint in all these checklists is HTML validation. Hence, I also decided to validate my website using the W3C markup validation service.

And this is what I got:

I was a bit disappointed to get this result. However, on examining the result, I found that some of the errors and warnings were completely useless. I decided to look at the validation results of some of the popular websites to check if they were getting similar error or warnings.

Smashing Magazine

50% validation errors on smashing magazine were related to some sort of XML parsing errors, i.e., either there was a tag mismatch or there was a missing ‘;’. Still, these errors are not good enough to affect the looks of smashing magazine or its RSS.

A common error on my blog and smashing magazine is:

I will take that. It is important to use the alt tag as somebody might be using a screen reader.

Net Tuts

Again, majority of the errors were some sort of XML parsing errors. There was also the missing alt tag error. Nearly 15% of the errors were related to the missing opening tag of an element. This was different. Net Tuts had specified "</a>" two times even though there was no opening tag for one of the "</a>". This usually happens with HTML editors. For example, in Aptana Studio, whenever you will give opening tag, it will automatically give you the closing tag. Sometimes, we miss this and give an extra closing tag.

Similarly, I checked validation results for some other popular websites like lifehacker.com and cakephp.org. Again, there were similar errors.

So, how important is this validation?

As you can see from the results, most of the errors have no affect on the websites. More than 50% of the errors are related to XML parse errors, which are hardly causing any problems to the website.

However, some errors are to be taken care of, like the missing alt tag error or missing doctype error.(Amazingly, amazon has a missing doctype error!).

Google and twitter have also loads of validation errors. But, does it matter? No. We are having no problems with their designs and functionality.. Still, I would recommend validation as not every website is a google or a twitter. Users can abandon your website for some minor flaws even if it has been beautifully designed.

Conclusion

Validate your documents. It’s always good to have a perfectly valid document. However, no need to worry if you can’t avoid errors like XML parsing errors or other errors as long as they are not affecting the design and functionality of your website.

Following are some related articles on validation

Wikipedia

W3c Validation

Finally, I would leave you with the validation result of one of the favorite web design site of all web designers.

A List Apart

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