David Wertheimer, design director of Economist.com (and fellow blogger), outlined some fantastic future plans for his site in a WebDesign-L post yesterday. Namely, he and his team are planning to rewrite their site in standards-compliant code. Here's a snippet of what David wrote:
1. We are looking into the adoption of limited-use CSS for our text rendering, which will significantly reduce our HTML once more -- time to phase out the "178 font tags" noted here earlier. Issues remain, and implementaion may take several months, but development is underway.
2. We are determining a formal doctype (debating HTML 4 and XHTML 1.1, if you're curious), and new development will soon be written with compliant code, start to finish, preparing Economist.com for the future as well as the present.
I continue to stand by my opinions that providing consistent page delivery and a backward-compatible user experience is tantamount to good design.
At the same time, I am moving Economist.com forward, with code compliance and simpler page structure, and we are doing so with an eye on our browser stats and a clean, consistent design. I am proud of this achievement and I encourage the design community to strive for similar goals.
Outstanding! The fact that the director of a major site was willing to openly discuss -- and encourage suggestions for -- some of his site's flaws is admirable in itself. But even cooler than that is his dedication to Web standards and clean page structure. To my knowledge, this is unprecedented. (News sites traditionally have had terrible code.) I hope this gets the ball rolling in the industry, and I have a feeling it will, once David and crew begin to reap the many benefits of their work and other sites take notice.