The Standard of End-User Experience

Recently a lot of people around me were dropping the "standards" word. This might have something to do with the release of IE7, FF 3.0, Opera 9.0.2, etc., who knows. While this is fine and dandy, I would like to know what standard they are referring to. From what I remember from my networks class, there are two types of standards:

  • De facto (becomes a standard "by fact or practice" because so many people do it/use it/etc.) IE's "manufacturer-specific non-complaint enhancements" are a perfect example of this. Even though they fit the above quote, they are still a standard because IE and its ~90% market dominance has made it just that.

  • De jure ("by law") are the standards released by a lawmaking body (in this case the IETF or W3C). "Compliant HTML" fits this category. Please note that IMO RFCs do *not* fit within this category. RFC are Requests For COMMENTS. Standards are based on these, yes; but they aren't in the finalized form that a de jure standard needs to be.

Now, following either one of these is great, but by limiting yourself to just one you are going to eventually run into trouble with the other camp. Take, for example, the "Craptive X" features. Yeah, they are great when you are in the ~90%, but if your not, you know why I chose that name. The opposite is also true, there are websites that are making fully compliant HTML/XHTML/XML/CSS/javascript/etc. However, those sites "render" badly, if at all, in IE. Heck, there are even differences between the ways FF, Opera, render the same "compliant" code.

Now, some developers employ a remark along the lines of "Use another browser" to conceal the fact they can't/won't/whatever make their site work for whichever portion of the surfing population is affected by their shortcomings. There is even an increasing portion of this populous that go out of there way to sniff out these "inferior browsers" and redirect users to the homepage of whichever their favorite browser is. The funny part is that many times, other browsers (and the people who use them) get caught up in the fray and face these stupid redirections even when their tool can display the information coherently.

What I do like are the developers that have the mindset of remembering their end-users. The ones that have found the "Middle Path" and take the time to test out the way their site renders on *all* the different browsers. These are the developers that are worth their weight in Lutetium. For these are the people that remember the only standard that truly matters -- the standard of the end-user experience.

This standard isn't just limited to web-development either. We all know that applications that are actually beta tested are far better than those that were only used by their creator before being released. Heck, ask any interior designer who really gets the ultimate decision on which color scheme to use. Why can't we all remember this?

This standard is important. Does your creation make the cut?

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