Really quite a long time ago, I checked the standards compliance of design portals of the K10K ilk. Of course they had invalid code, often severely bad. Are things better now?

I thought I’d check after I noticed that Armin Vit of Speak Up tried to ban me from commenting on his site, since I complained twice (first; second) that his site’s character encoding turns his pages into a sea of question marks. Vit also “redesigned” the site in 2004 – a classic failed redesign that I also complained about. Last year I recall receiving an E-mail from Vit complaining that I had published one of his E-mails, when in fact all I did was link to an item on his very own site.

Today I attempted to post a comment that an article on design issues in search-engine optimization was complete nonsense, and was amused to find Movable Type offering this complaint: “Your comment could not be submitted due to questionable content:” Finally I am equated with pornography and hate literature! (My comment was posted anyway.)

My advice to Vit is to stop pretending that an ornate layout and “content” that highbrow design critics somehow enjoy constitutes adequate Web development. (Of course, that “content” doesn’t even appear correctly in browsers half the time.) The existing site is enough to get you invited to design conferences, but under the hood it’s a clunker. You’ve got lots of people who could help; start with Jérôme Vogel, who fixed JFP’s site for him.

Anyway, I thought this would be a nice time to re-check basic validation of all the sites listed in my original posting. Things are no different: NewsToday is still the only design “portal” with valid HTML. Two of the sites have disappeared. One caused the validator to terminate because of – wait for it! – character encoding. Validation errors were all over the proverbial map – 13 sites with fewer than 20 errors (six below ten errors, which is a good sign); seven between 21 and 100; and four with astronomical numbers (125, 162, 265, 335). I did not do a test for document semantics, as life remains too short.

As ever, “design” sites act like print publications. Their owners simply do not understand how to make a real Web site.

Let me leave Armin Vit with a homework assignment: Use a real browser (that is, not IE/Win) and bump up the font size. Try two increments, then five. How now, brown cow?

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2005.11.09 13:35. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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