On the heels of their year-end Zeitgeist, Google has released the results of an interesting web authoring analysis. By sampling over one billion web pages, a feat few others could accomplish, the company gives us a pretty good idea of how people are using HTML on their sites. While I’m sure most people could care less, I find this intriguing since I spend most of my day working with this stuff.
Looking at the results, it seems safe to say that web standards and web accessibility are off the radar for the vast majority of web page creators. Just short of 25% of pages fail to use the “alt” attribute for any images, something so easy to do for accessibility that there’s no reason not to.
While that surprised me, the fact that so many pages use completely invalid or outdated coding techniques sadly didn’t. I have do doubt that some of this is due to normal people putting together personal sites after learning from poorly designed examples. I don’t believe this makes up the majority of the problem, however. For some reason I can’t comprehend, people who call themselves “professional” web designers/developers have no interest in using modern coding techniques and technologies revolving around XHTML and CSS. There are now so many great examples of how to create web pages, there’s absolutely no reason (other than laziness or complete incompetence) not to do it.
So, if you call yourself a professional web designer/developer and are still using techniques and examples from 10 years ago, you may want to either A) start doing some reading on how to use current web technologies or B) start looking for a different career. Or, if you don’t plan on doing either of those, simply stop calling your a “professional” and admit that you have no idea what you’re doing. After all, the first step is admitting you have a problem.