On 30th November 2010 it is the fourth annual Blue Beanie Day. It was founded by Jeffrey Zeldman, who was the lead author of one of my favourite books 'Designing with Web Standards: Third Edition' and has among many others been designing, speaking and championing the use of Web Standards since the mid-nineties. Blue Beanie Day 2010 is also on facebook.
My involvement in the Web Industry has led me through many a twist and turn over the last 7 years or so. Having your own area on the Infinite Web was the basic phenomenon that draw me to it in early 2000. The idea that you can make your creations appear in Front of anyone in the world still excites me enough to want to be involved full time, over a decade later, in my every day work.
Something I've noticed over that time, as I learn more about it as I'm sure many of us have, is how this Web beast is growing and changing, with endless new technologies, devices & browsers arriving on the scene at regular intervals. This is also why webstandards.org was set up. Thanks mainly to them, browser manufacturers, Development software makers, Web Standards creators and other influencial Companies now talk to each other, something that would have seemed impossible only a few years ago. With all this technology and data (and social networks!) vying for users attention, someone has to make sure it doesn't get out of control and that is our job as people who make Web sites.
Thanks mainly to webstandards.org - software, browser & standards makers now talk to each other much more than they used to.
It all comes to a head when data is presented to the end user, which is where we need to direct more attention as all these browsers and devices become more widely used. By far the most popular way of presenting information on the Web is HTML or XHTML, whether that comes from a CMS template, a file or a database. We layout and style the HTML using CSS to make it look 'pretty', that is, in every possible browser and device we can, often with huge demands being placed upon us and having to make adjustments along the way. Even HTML itself is changing and as a Front End Designer who wants to make sites I build look and bahave in a way that engages the user, I also want them to be accessible and standards compliant in equal measure. Trying to add new technologies like HTML5 and CSS3 into this mix as they evolve, keeping everyone happy and adhering to Standards and Accessibility, is definately a challenge. It is also one that the future of the Web depends on and our clients will thank us for it. When their site does well into the future, it will be because it was built by someone with the correct mindset.
Without Web Standards, the Front End layer of the Web could become chaotic, ugly and bloated. Despite this, there are actually few sites that satisfy the standards, even with all the benefits that compliant sites can offer, although they may appear to look fine on the surface. This is why professional Front End Developers, Back end Developers, Usability Specialists, Creative Designers and many more, support Web Standards, doing what they can within their own discapline. Blue Beanie Day is the perfect symbol of that dedication. There is a facebook page to accompany this years Blue Beanie Day. If you have a twitter account and can use Photoshop, find a picture of a Blue Beanie, super-impose it onto your twitter avatar (or simply take a picture of yourself with a blue beanie on) and upload it to your account. If you tweet about this years Blue Beanie Day, also remember to use the #bbd4 hashtag. Its worth bearing in mind, if you keep those brains warm they can do great things.
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