Saturday, August 2, 2014

W3C Standards (for retards?) - An insult to web community

Have you ever come across a guideline from "Elite Doctors" on "How To Stay Alive" - A guideline which will prescribe you to keep breathing, keep eating and keep sleeping everyday to stay alive? Do you think such a guideline is needed? Do you think that what I'm asking is hilarious if not idiotic?

Yeah, the question is idiotic. Sadly, that is what W3C standard also is. Idiotic. Plain and simple. Nobody needs W3C standards just like no one would need such a prescription from doctors. In fact it is an insult to the intelligent community of web developers.

If you have some very dumb ideas that you need to present and still want to look like a genius, try putting that idea into very complicated and verbose language that people have to read several times to understand what exactly you are saying. W3C has used this "golden escape rule" marvelously!

W3C is divided in three categories. A, AA and AAA. The first two mostly prescribe silly recommendations, and third is really left upon developers to decide whether to follow or not. In fact, it should not be followed fully in most cases.

In the "level A" they are prescribing the things which are very very hard to *not* to do. Here are the examples.

Although I've provided the link above, click on it only if you want to twist your mind for 15 mins and scream... What The Hell! (this advise applies to all the links that I'm going to post in this post) Basically what this means is that you should always put some caption for any audio or video content and put some description for it. Now, have you ever seen a single page on whole of the web where you get to see a plain page with only a video/audio link on it i.e. without title/description?

1.4 Distinguishable: Make it easier for users to see and hear content including separating foreground from background. 

What this means is that the text or audio content that you put on webpage should be readable and audible respectively. Additionally, the text color should be set in such a contrast that it doesn't dissolve in the background color. If this is not an insult to the most creative community, which web designers is, then what will that be?

3.3 Input Assistance: Help users avoid and correct mistakes.           

What this basically says is that each form fields should have a label beside which indicates what that field is for. At the time of submitting the form, it should do the regular validation and notify the user accordingly. Apparently, only a retard who wants to make huge losses from the website business would require such a guideline. We have yet to see such a retard being born.

Almost all the A and AA level standards are routine common sense issue which anyone, who wants some users to view his site, would invariably do without anyone's recommending. Why did the authors of W3C standards thought that they have to prescribe something that would be followed invariably no matter what? Now does it sound like a team of "Elite Doctors" prescribing the methods of how-to-stay-alive?

The above are the examples for Level A compliance. The Level AA is also not a very smart one. But Level AAA takes the cake of stupidity off all. While A and AA are silly recommendations which no one needs to know (yet invariably follows them), AAA is a standard which hardly anyone should/would follow.

This one prescribes to have changeable background and text color for the users so that they can choose whichever color they want to see on the web page. Think how an ugly place internet would be if everyone followed this standard?!

Point 3.1.5 deserves to be quoted in full.

3.1.5 Reading Level: When text requires reading ability more advanced than the lower secondary education level after removal of proper names and titles, supplemental content, or a version that does not require reading ability more advanced than the lower secondary education level, is available. (Level AAA)             
I have no words to describe this!! How can anyone in his right state of mind can think of such a bizarre thing? And still the authors of this standard expected themselves to be taken seriously.

The problem is that these standards were created in stone age when the authors thought that they are the only ones on this planet with brain. Since then the world has moved on far too advance. The W3C standards should also have evolved to new challenges and provided standard that will actually help in the betterment of the Internet. The issues such as...

  • Most of the content on internet does not have a date on which it was last updated. Apart from the news sites and blog/forum sites, we don't get to see when the page was updated last. There are oceans of pages which don't get updated for years but we just don't know how old that content is. It should be made mandatory to stick a datestamp on each section of content (although in some pleasant manner) for when it was updated last. This will really help users to evaluate the user to understand and evaluate the content in right perspective.

  • To get a higher rank on search engines, the websites put deceiving meta tags and content on their web pages. This makes it very difficult for users to search what they are looking for. Some sites have even made this their  business model. This needs stop somehow.

  • Some websites just simply keep forwarding and redirecting from one link to another just to get more and more hits. And in the meanwhile they hope to get a click on a banner ad. Such sites should be banned. There should be strict policy from W3C, browsers and internet backbone servers in combination to block these sites.

  • A website which shows deceiving ads on its pages should never get a compliance.

  • A website that steals the user data (and sells it) without user's explicit consent should be labbled as "thief" somehow. There should be clear mandate on forcing the website to get an explicit consent of the user *each time* they steal the data. There should be transparency on whom they sold the user's data.

These are the real challenges that internet is facing today. I understand that things things are very hard to achieve but then, creating good-for-nothing standard is also pointless. The world will be same with or without such "standards". They will be appreciated only if they can evolve and do something meaningful.

Right now I have yet to see any sane organization asking for W3C standard compliance from me. Only government bodies and alike bureaucratic orgs ask for such a compliance for obvious reason. And when they come across, I go like... Oh Well!