8 Apr 2009 3 pm eastern

What are web standards?

What are web standards? And why should I care? A fun new clip from the BigThink marathon Zeldman interview. See also this and that. Or just click the “CHANNELS” button in the video above.

[tags]zeldman, webstandards, bigthink, interview[/tags]

Filed under: Design, industry, Interviews, Press, Web Design, Web Standards, Websites, work, Zeldman

53 Responses to “What are web standards?”

  1. Mark said on

    You look older than I remember. Grizzled, even!

  2. Kris Marissens said on

    Hey, I’m watching this… :)

  3. Steven said on

    Great interview! You should do a TED talk :)

  4. suBi said on

    it’s one thing to read your book and learn, its an entirely different experience to watch you talk about it…

    loved the part at 7:29, design, problem and solving the problem and the tradeoffs associated. Awesome… I’m loving this video series

  5. TJ Kelly said on

    Brilliant. Thank you! I’ll be showing this to every boss and/or client I come across. Thanks!!


  6. diy web hub: practical help for do-it-yourself web work » Blog Archive » Jeffrey Zeldman discusses the web on Big Think said on

    [...] 4/8/2009:  Jeffrey now has up another segment in which he talks about the history of web standards as well as some of the  reasons to have [...]

  7. Jim Doran said on

    I’ve always appreciated that you didn’t get religious about web standards. When I started making web sites, we used tables and no CSS. DWWS was friendly, and I liked the “start where are you and move forward” sentiment.

    These videos are great…thanks!

  8. Dennis said on

    Great video, very well explained!

  9. willem said on

    Hey Z,

    what’s going on with the band aids? Have you been pruning the roses again? (grin)

  10. David W said on

    This was excellent, thank you for sharing your thoughts and reflections. Having lived and worked and followed you and others like you since the late 90’s, I hung on every word.

    I completely enjoyed the entire series, and hope there will be more.

    You don’t look anything like your icon, btw :)

  11. CHas4 said on

    Is the embed code missing some content? I can’t get it to work.

  12. APESHIT is Naked for CSS Naked Day | APESHIT said on

    [...] And if you are metal and happen to be curious about Web Standards, check out this interview with designer/writer/standards-guru, Jeffery Zeldman, where he talks about the importance of Web Standards: http://www.zeldman.com/2009/04/08/what-are-web-standards/ [...]

  13. Dan Denney said on

    Big thank you to Zeldman and BigThink.com for putting this together. Awesome interview with one of our industry’s true leaders.

  14. Scarf*oo said on

    Congratulations with the interview, fun to watch and it’s nice to see how similar your view is to most of us out there. Tradeoff after tradeoff.

  15. Links for 09-04-09 | burningCat said on

    [...] What are web standards? [...]

  16. Rob Hunter said on

    Thanks for posting all these Z. Please come back soon, we’ll have you as often as you’d like.


  17. Chad M said on

    Fantastic interview. I notice that you’re presence on screen evokes almost exactly the same proportions as the great pyramid of Giza. Is that coincidence? Or have you just become a foundational figure of history in the web? ;P

    I completely agree with your design philosophy! Very refreshing. Please keep sharing.

  18. Garry Sibbald said on

    You hit the nail on the head , I too have seen so many client’s eyes Glaze at the mention of their new website being developed to meet current web standards. The majority of small to medium sized businesses (SME’s) are not aware or not the slightest bit interested in web standards.
    Over the last 8 years, we have built 100’s of sites and in all this time, I cannot remember one instance when the client has requested that the site is developed with web standards in mind.
    The only way to get clients to realise the importance of web standards and accessibility is to emphasise that by adopting best practice in these areas it will also assist them in achieving a high ranking on Google. To sell web standards to the ‘real world’ you have to tell it in a way that will make them listen.

  19. Shane said on

    Great content! One criticism I have of it: usually a director will have the speaker looking off screen not staring directly into the camera lens/our souls.

  20. Adriana said on

    I enjoyed the video. I’ll be featuring it today at Scene 360 news.

  21. Adriana said on

    Nobody is an expert. Funny, especially about the surgeon… indeed someone has to know something, or else we’re screwed during an operation.

    I thought it was only one video, but it is more divided by topic. I loved listening to you. The topic about comments on sites is really interesting and something I’ve been analyzing over time. I.e. so that I can keep a positive environment for all at Scene 360 projects.

    It’s quite interesting how some sites don’t have moderators because they don’t have time to review hundreds of comments per day, but on the other hand permit offensive language creating a bad environment. And it is very annoying to go into a site to get ripped apart without much sense of what is being commented.

    And of course there is good and bad everywhere. But I think with some effort from site owners/bloggers, you can improve the quality of comments… especially if you exclude swear words and insults. Or just don’t put comments if you cannot review it. Everyone has an opinion, and they should be entitled to share it, but stating you “suck,” one word sentences doesn’t seem to explain much or give constructive criticism. I’ve also experienced that there are designn community sites that don’t have issues with comments. E.g. Behance Network. Since most users are not anoynmous, there are less negative attacks. If people are tracked down by name, someone known in the industry it is unlikely for that person to start f-wording or other.

    Keep up the good work, Zeldman!

  22. tedd said on

    For someone who claims that they are not the authority, are you going to refund all the money I’ve spent on your books? The books appear to be written by someone who knows what he’s talking about.

    From my experience, being there first usually means that you had the insight to focus your attention on something before others and that’s not usually a once in a lifetime event. So, please keep us appraised as to what shinny bobble has captured your attention.

    Keep up the good work.



  23. Web-standardit ovat voittaneet said on

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  24. Trent said on

    I really enjoy the interviews and workshop recordings you’ve been posting recently. Maybe categorize or tag posts with audio & video files uniquely, or take it a step further and start Zeldman Podcast Radio!

  25. Louise said on

    Mr Zeldman, you rock!!

  26. CSS Beauty | What are web standards? And why should you care? said on

    [...] What are web standards? And why should you care? . Zeldman talks about Web Standards in clip from the BigThink interview. Very interesting and informative. [...]

  27. What are web standards? « Webdesign News said on

    [...] What are web standards? [...]

  28. Kp said on

    Great interview. This was perfect for me, its nice to be reminded about how it all came to be. I took a lot from this. Thanks

  29. The Web - by Charles Schloss said on

    [...] zeldman, webstandards, interview http://www.zeldman.com/2009/04/08/what-are-web-standards/What are web standards? And why should I care? A fun new clip from the BigThink marathon Zeldman [...]

  30. Rory Martin said on

    Good interview.
    Web design, should always follow the web standards, it’s just good practice and it makes for a better site.
    When I go to see new clients, I always pick apart their old website and explain that their old designer has not built the site to standard and why it should be.

  31. Web Design News: Jeffrey Zeldman on Standards « Web Design Class said on

    [...] Web Design News: Jeffrey Zeldman on Standards Posted on April 8, 2009 by cartoongoddess Jeffrey Zeldman Presents : What are web standards?. [...]

  32. Table Layouts vs. Div Layouts: From Hell to… Hell? said on

    [...] [...]

  33. Westers Web Designs said on

    [...] Web Standards [...]

  34. Great Links - 04.24.09 | Mind of Shadows said on

    [...] Web Standardshttp://www.zeldman.com/2009/04/08/what-are-web-standards/ [...]

  35. CSS-Tricks Forums >> View topic - What are web standards? said on

    [...] on Wed Apr 08, 2009 7:37 pm Fascinating interview with a real industry mover and shaker. http://www.zeldman.com/2009/04/08/what-are-web-standards/ The crux of the biscuit is the [...]

  36. Matt said on

    great video! how’d you cut your finger? =)

  37. LoriHC said on

    I really enjoyed these. Totally brought back memories of the early days, and the observations were excellent.

  38. Fred said on


  39. Bill Woodland said on

    Great video, Jeffrey. As I told you at SXSW this year, I read every page of your book, and it changed my life. EVERY web developer should read it, know it, live it.

  40. Variegating said on

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  41. Anne said on

    Excellent video, def. one to keep referring to. Thanks for sharing your expertise and insight. :)

  42. phil "lepeep" thompson said on

    Just fantastic. I could watch this again and again. It’s strange to think that I was surfing the web in 1995 and we were all new to “the web”… It’s scary how far the tech has come in 10+ years. And each day brings new challenges…with Z at the helm, we’re in safe hands.

  43. Jeffrey Zeldman Video Channel on thinkbig.com - FP said on

    [...] http://www.zeldman.com/2009/04/08/what-are-web-standards/ :Internet, Interview, Jeffrey Zeldmann, Web Standards Noch keine [...]

  44. Tom Jones said on

    What amazes me is that even though there are very well defined web standards out there (and believe me, this was a major part of my BS in Web Design and Development Program), so many designers and developers COMPLETELY fail to abide by them!

    I know it’s not that convenient to use proper code (really, it isn’t), but it’s not very DIFFICULT either. It seems like no matter how well codified and explicit these rules get, designers will continue to bend them (or outright ignore them) as long as there’s no major negative penalty for doing so.

    And I’m not saying that something like that should be developed, but come on guys! As a community, it’s time for us to step up and use proper techniques!

  45. Shapia web services said on

    It is not the web designers are so much worried about the standards. It is client who worries about the standards so much. Even if explained that standards have to do nothing with the design they don’t accept it. But this video is really interesting has to be watched by few of my clients.

  46. Sam said on

    Excellent video on web standards, thanks for sharing.

  47. Web Design References: Standards, Guidelines and Patterns said on

    [...] What Are Web Standards? (Video) – Jeffrey Zeldman [...]

  48. Dale Berkebile said on

    Great video. It is amazing how things have changed since the mid ’90’s web development. We used to waste so much time making things work on every browser, every platform. We still need to manage this stuff to some extent, but things are so much better via web standards. Thanks for all you hard work in this area. Keep up the good work!

  49. Understanding Web Standards : Web Site Design said on

    [...] web standards – see W3C) sums up web standards very nicely in a recent podcast:   “Jeffrey Zeldman Presents: What are web standards? ” “…While working on the third edition of Designing With Web Standards, I [...]

  50. Manchester Web Design said on

    Really useful video. Thanks for posting this

  51. Blue Beanie Day | Jeff Bridgforth :: Webcraftsman said on

    [...] View video on Zeldman’s site [...]

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