Defining Web Standards in the Elevator

The elevator pitch is the refers the brief moments entrepreneurs have when trying to pitch an idea to a venture capitalist in order to receive funding. The meeting is often visualized as the executive is caught alone for a few moments within an elevator.

I’m working on a new book about Web standards. It got me thinking about the term and how the term seems to be one of phrases that everyone might agree on, but possibly something people define differently from person to person.

I thought it would be interesting to get what web designers and developers view as what web standards are. If the definitions are interesting, I might put them in the book.

So, let me know: what would you define as Web standards if you had a client or executive’s attention in an elevator?

2 thoughts on “Defining Web Standards in the Elevator

  1. My elevator speech to Executive Bob (trust me, it’s shorter if you read it aloud):

    Picture this: you’ve just built a great new Web 2.0 site. It’s a fantastic service! Its “social connection” value is unprecedented. Technologically, it will re-define the way that the online communication channel connects people in the here-and-now, whether your users are engaged via a laptop, cell phone, Blackberry, just about anything with Web capabilities. Bye bye, MySpace and Twitter — this thing’s got it all.

    But there’s just one hitch: the site functions differently for different people, in different ways, using different communication tools. My web-geek friend in LA says the Sign-In widget works great using Firefox, on a broadband connection, with a Mac. But, strangely, my grandmother in Louisiana, using IE 5.5, on a dial-up, with a 10-year-old PC, can’t even read the navigation headings “because the font is so dang small.”

    What happened? What went wrong? Shouldn’t your paradigm-shifting web experience be the same for all your users? “Yes, it should have,” you think to yourself. But it was never designed and developed that way. You never planned in a web standards framework. “Didn’t think it was needed,” you thought to yourself. “Overkill, hype, lost hours coding when we could be innovating.”

    As a result, your so-called social connection site became a disjointed mess. Browser differences, load time discrepancies, whatever. They all led you to the same ultimate conclusion: lack of standards meant lack of adoption. You want a MacDonald’s hamburger to taste the same at every store, in every state…heck, in every country. Why can’t your users’ web experiences be the same? 

    It can. With the right planning and execution, it will.

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