Everyone in the Web community has their niche. That thing, or for some who make the rest of us look dumb, things that they are really good at. For some it is information architecture, or social network marketing, or front-end CSS/(X)HTML layout, or database engineering, and others it is Flash Action Scripting, or back-end Ruby on Rails development. The list could really go on and on, but you get the point.
What’s strange is that you get the point, but many of these people who are highly skilled in a particular field don’t get it. They are still striving to be the “Web Master”; Jack of all trades in the Web design/development industry. They want to be all things to all people; the one-stop-design-shop, and they don’t want to say, “That’s not my expertise. Let me recommend you to someone else.” In some cases I think it is pride (not being able to admit they aren’t perfect), and in other cases I think it is fear (afraid they may miss out on a job, and what if another one doesn’t come along). Whatever their reason, they need to recognize that everyone’s skills are needed for developing on the Web today.
Over the last few years there has been a large group of people pushing for standards in the Web community. There has been a coming-together of Web designers, developers, strategists, browser software makers, and many others who are interested in working together to push the capabilities of the Internet forward, and the limitations of the Web out. Theses people have lead the way to a cleaner Web, what many people call Web 2.0. It may mean different things to different people, to some it is a design style now, but to most it is a philosophy; a way of thing about the Web and it’s future. It has evolved from a drive to create some standards.
What is different today is that for many design companies they have done everything possible to comply with these standards, and have now realized that because the Web has always been a hack, keeping up with the standards will often be to the sacrifice of common sense business. There is a new movement; a post standards-based movement. Designers and developers recognizing that although it is important to the future of the Web, a site, or portions thereof, cannot not always be strictly standards compliant. There needs to be some business sense in the design and development process, and sometimes sacrifices need to be made in meeting standards so that the business goals can be met.
For many, this is a fact that can be hard to swallow. Like Jeff Croft said, “not being standards compliant will not hurt anything but standards-purest people’s pride when they are viewing the source [code] of a site." But this is where we recognize our need for the skill sets of others. Whenever compromises need to be made we can always benefit from other experts to minimize what the compromises are. This is the post Web standards era. Purest, helping strategist, helping marketer, helping businesses grow. After all, that is the bottom line. Isn't it?