A web site that has been created to be standards compliant is expected to follow the published standards of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the guidelines of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). This includes the separation of content and presentation code used to create each web page by using Validated HTML Markup and Cascading Style Sheets, and following the Web Accessibility guidelines. These are known collectively as web standards.
Additional areas of compliance that need to be considered when creating a web site include:
- The Data Protection Act - which requires anyone who handles personal information to comply with a number of important principles. It also gives individuals rights over their personal information including access, compensation and the prevention of processing.
- The Freedom of Information Act - which provides individuals or organisations with the right to request information held by a public authority.
- The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations - which applies if you sell goods or services to consumers by the Internet. It requires you to give consumers clear information about the goods or services offered, your contact details, cancellation rights and cooling off period.
- The Financial Services and Markets Act - which regulates financial services for the protection of consumers and the reduction of financial crime.
- The CAP Code also known as The British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing - which is published by The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and enforced by The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) and ensures marketing communications are legal, decent, honest and truthful and consumer confidence is maintained.
Ensuring that a web site is web standards compliant will benefit you in many ways. Your web site will be easier to maintain, load faster, display correctly on more devices and be accessible to users with disabilities. Using industry standard code will ensure that other web services such as search engines can access your content correctly and this in turn means better placement in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Last updated: Monday, 13th June 2016
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