Most designers ignore the W3C test when coding their themes simply because it is a test too tough to pass.
Nevertheless, to comply a theme with W3C is important because of the following benefits:
- Compliance helps the search engine rankings as compare with non-compliant websites. Frederick Townes of W3 EDGE Web Design explained it well when he said, “Proper use of standards and bleeding edge best practices makes sure that not only is the copy marked up in a semantic fashion which search engines can interpret and weigh without confusion, it also skews the content-to-code ratio in the direction where it needs to be while forcing all of the information in the page to be made accessible, thus favoring the content. We’ve seen several occasions where the rebuilding of a site with standards, semantics and our proprietary white hat techniques improves the performance of pages site-wide in the SERPs.”
- Compliance helps ensure that your website is accessible from a number of devices; from different browsers to the growing number of surfers using PDAs and cellular phones.
- Compliance will also help ensure that regardless of the browser, resolution, device, etc. that your website will look and function in the same or at least a very similar fashion.
Exclusion of CSS Validation
We no longer grade themes on whether or not they have valid CSS for a couple reasons. First, certain “hacks” required to make various features function properly in legacy browsers (i.e. Internet Explorer 6-8) are not valid CSS, but are widely considered to be acceptible means of achieving cross-browser styling. Second, with the latest advancements in CSS3 and the way in which various browser vendors impelent these new specs, including one line of browser-specific CSS3 code can lead to validation errors. CSS validation is more or less a good way of spotting errors in a document rather than trying to achieve a “perfect score,” which is very important in terms of markup validation. Hopefully this helps to explain why we no longer apply a grade in this category.