A Web Standards Checklist, How to make a proper website
A web standards checklist
The term web standards can mean different things to different people. For some, it
is 'table-free sites', for others it is 'using valid code'. However, web standards
are much broader than that. A site built to web standards should adhere to
standards (HTML, XHTML, XML, CSS, XSLT, DOM, MathML, SVG etc) and pursue best
practices (valid code, accessible code, semantically correct code, user-friendly
In other words, a site built to web standards should ideally be lean, clean, CSS-
based, accessible, usable and search engine friendly.
About the checklist
This is not an uber-checklist. There are probably many items that could be added.
More importantly, it should not be seen as a list of items that must be addressed
on every site that you develop. It is simply a guide that can be used:
* to show the breadth of web standards
* as a handy tool for developers during the production phase of websites
* as an aid for developers who are interested in moving towards web standards
1.Quality of code
1. Does the site use a correct Doctype?
2. Does the site use a Character set?
3. Does the site use Valid (X)HTML?
4. Does the site use Valid CSS?
5. Does the site use any CSS hacks?
6. Does the site use unnecessary classes or ids?
7. Is the code well structured?
8. Does the site have any broken links?
9. How does the site perform in terms of speed/page size?
2. Degree of separation between content and presentation
1. Does the site use CSS for all presentation aspects (fonts, colour, padding,
2. Are all decorative images in the CSS, or do they appear in the (X)HTML?
3. Accessibility for users
1. Are "alt" attributes used for all descriptive images?
2. Does the site use relative units rather than absolute units for text size?
3. Do any aspects of the layout break if font size is increased?
4. Does the site use visible skip menus?
5. Does the site use accessible forms?
6. Does the site use accessible tables?
7. Is there sufficient colour brightness/contrasts?
8. Is colour alone used for critical information?
9. Is there delayed responsiveness for dropdown menus (for users with reduced motor
10. Are all links descriptive (for blind users)?
4. Accessibility for devices
1. Does the site work acceptably across modern and older browsers?
2. Is the content accessible with CSS switched off or not supported?