HTML and CSS Validation is a tool that was created in the beginning of the World Wide Web to make sure that web sites were constructed correctly. Many times when creating projects using new technologies, for multiple devices or that use third party applications we come to the problem that it does not validate according to the W3C standard. There are many developers and clients that react in a bad way when they see errors when validating and believe that the application still has bugs in it. Many time developers have to go back and change features just to make the site get a perfect score. Many times this makes the development time longer and the project more expensive. Developers and clients have to remember that validation is only a tool and nothing more than that, and while we do need to follow the standards set by the W3C we also have to make sure that usability and functionality are our top priority.
Usability over Technicalities
We always have to keep in mind that everything that we develop is intended for a person and not for a machine. Usability and Functionality for the target user of the application is the goal that we always try to achieve. While robots from search engines might crawl the application, we have to remember they are not our main audience. We also have to keep in mind that Google does not take validation as a ranking factor. You can see more about Google’s stand on this matter in the following video made by Matt Cuts for the Google Webmaster Forum:
When using many of the newer CSS3 techniques there will be an error created in the validation tool. For example when using border-radius that help us give rounded corners to our backgrounds. To go around this the designer has to design the curves and the developer implements them, which will take longer that using CSS3. We have to keep in mind that cases like this we have to always put user usability over irrelevant technicalities.
Validation is Irrelevant yet Important
While your validation score does not affect how search engine see you, it might still give you an extra boost in search engine optimization or SEO when the algorithm is looking at the web page overall usability. Validation as well still an important tool to review when working on a project. This tool will help you find unclosed tags and improperly nested div’s, extra semicolons, among other things. There will always be the error from Google’s Analytics or from that jQuery slider but as long as the integrity of the structure is impeccable you do not have to worry about the validation score from the W3C Tool. Remember that the score is only there to help you build a useable application; there is no target score you want to achieve just as long as you get 100% in usability with your target audience.
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