One thing web developers who do not work in large corporations or with the public sector or education often forget is that there’s a lot of red-tape and checkbox ticking to be done before you even start a line of code. This get worse once there has been a decision made or a guideline in place, as replacing or upgrading those slips far down the list of need-to-do’s.
The web is a large and confusing place and the fact that you just cannot control or demand the setup your visitors use to come to your site and consume what is there can be frustrating. To me, it is what the web is about and I love the challenge of the unknown. Official sites, however, do not revel in unknowns and challenges and try to help webmasters to release quickly by cutting down on things to support.
Last friday, the UK government’s Central Office of Information (COI) published a public consultation on browser standards for public sector websites which misses the mark of good advice by quite a bit.
Bruce Lawson checked the guidelines in detail and responded to them on the WaSP blog
I agree with all that is said there, and humbly point the COI to the graded browser support my employer applies to steer the wild web into easier supportable channels.
There’s a comment form on the bottom of the page on the guidance site that gives you a chance to react to this. It might not mean much, but let’s not forget that if we can have an impact on the public service, it’ll mean a lot more web sites out there that do the right thing. These are the areas we should concentrate on – if your blog doesn’t render properly that is much less of an issue than you not being able to pay a parking ticket or sign up your kids for school.