Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the Internet, founded the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) in 1994. The W3C is an international organization that provides a set of standards “to ensure the long-term growth of the Web.”
The W3C is based on the principles of accessibility (more on that in next week’s blog post), internationalization (designing and developing for all users regardless of culture, region, or language), privacy, and security.
With more than 400 members worldwide, a staff of about 50 people, and more than 12,000 web developers, the W3C community serves the W3C’s mission “to lead the Web to its full potential.”
Why are the W3C standards necessary?
These standards help digitally connect the world. They are used in browsers, search engines, and other web software. Without them, you would need to use specific browsers to view some websites. You would also be unable to share information with others via the internet and play games online with friends, among other things.
The W3C has made the internet a much more collaborative and interactive place.
What are some of the W3C standards?
The most widely used and well-known W3C standard is HTML or HyperText Markup Language. HTML serves as the “building blocks” of the internet and is the standard markup language for web documents. HTML provides structure to documents by using tags (for example, </p>) to define text such as lists, headings, paragraphs, links, images, etc.
Often, HTML is used in conjunction with CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). CSS is a markup language used to describe a web document’s visual presentation. For example, CSS can be used to define things such as where various elements are positioned on web pages or whether elements are consistently visible to users.
Another notable W3C standard is WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communications). WebRTC allows people to communicate with each other. WebRTC allows us to have video meetings, which are extremely common at Allyant and other workplaces as more people work remotely.
WebRTC allows friends to communicate with each other in real-time (voice communication) while playing online games. WebRTC has had an enormous impact on the workplace, among other areas.
SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) is another common W3C standard. SVGs are two-dimensional graphics that are not pixel-based. As of 2021, they are standard on the web and supported by all browsers. SVGs can be scaled in size without losing image quality, unlike pixel-based graphics like PNGs.
The W3C and Allyant
As a digital accessibility company, Allyant wouldn’t be in business if the W3C did not exist. We rely daily on viewing and editing the HTML and CSS of digital documents to make them accessible.
We also would be unable to have any work calls if it wasn’t for the W3C. The W3C controls the Web Accessibility Initiative (something we will go into more detail in our next blog post), which provides various digital accessibility guidelines.
The impact of the W3C
The W3C has enormously influenced digital properties, how they work, and how we connect to each other. For example, the W3C has significantly impacted how critical medical and financial information is shared. The W3C’s impact has been even more significant in recent years as more and more people are working and sharing information remotely.