Christian Heilmann

The business case for web standards – call for wiki participation

Sunday, April 8th, 2007 at 5:16 pm

I was rather shocked to go to Refresh Edinburgh and witness that the planned presentation “The Business Reasons for Web Standards� by John Sutherland was cut short because of me mentioning the failure of a lot of arguments when talking to enterprise level companies and managers in my Highland Fling presentation.

It was not my intention to discourage people to try finding and communicating business benefits, and I am sorry if I disheartened someone to do so. Whilst this was a strange experience (wow, people listen to what I say!) I am actually happy that it made people reconsider their arguments and realize that the subject of web standards for business stakeholders is rather more complex than selling it to other developers.

We all have done a “why our company should use web standards� presentation in our careers and many a time it didn’t work out for a simple reason: we don’t speak the language of the people we try to reach and we don’t solve their problems. Instead we try to make them see the world through our eyes. In any communication it is always beneficial to know what ails the person you talk to, help them overcome one or more of their problems and then bring your ideas to the table. Opening a door is much easier when you already have a foot in.

In order to avoid more misunderstandings and make sure we have the right verbal ammunition to deal with all kind of people when we try to sell the idea of web standards development I set up a wiki on the subject of “The business case for web standards development�.

I hope that by aggregating information there and using it to formulate our presentations and emails in the right manner we can have more impact than we have now. I also hope that reading success stories of others may encourage you to take a stand in your environment and try to get a chance to work in a less random manner than we have to do without sticking to standards.

Personally I also hope that I won’t drown in spam or not get any worthwhile content at all and I hope that the wiki will be self-moderated as I don’t have the time to tend to it 100%. I’ve been very disappointed in the past throwing myself to the wolves of collaborative aggregation and hope that I struck a more resonant nerve this time.

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