Argos Does A Microsoft

After about two years of ‘Coming Soon’, “Argos”:http://www.argos.co.uk/ have finally redesigned their website so that it doesn’t lock out users of “Mozilla”:http://mozilla.org/ or any other browsers that use its rendering engine, Gecko.

So, is this a victory for “Web Standards”:http://www.webstandards.org/ ? Erm, no. A quick peek at the source code reveals Nested Table Hell and running the home page through the “w3c’s”:http://www.w3.org/ “HTML Validator”:http://validator.w3.org/ reveals, at time of writing, an “unprecedented 862 errors!”:http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.argos.co.uk%2Fwebapp%2Fwcs%2Fstores%2Fservlet%2FStoreCatalogDisplay%3FlangId%3D-1%26storeId%3D10001&doctype=HTML+4.01+Transitional&charset=iso-8859-1+%28Western+Europe%29

So, as with Microsoft’s “much-criticised redesign”:http://www.zeldman.com/daily/0902b.html#prince”, which included steps backward like <font> tags, Argos have invested a lot of time and money in Yet Another Obsolescent Website (YAOW for short). So the new site works in more browsers than the old one. Big deal. Will it still work in Mozilla 4, “Opera”:http://www.opera.com/ 11 or Internet Explorer 9? I doubt it, as the web site team that built the Argos site have gone to great lengths to make the site as _backward_–compatible as possible without ensuring that the site is “_forward_–compatible”:http://www.digital-web.com/features/feature_2002-09.shtml.

To the designers, developers and implementers of the Argos web site: you have built obsolescence into your product, which will cost you or the company money in the future every time a new browser comes along. You should have “Designed With Web Standards”:http://www.zeldman.com/dwws/. I’ll leave you with a quote:

bq. Designing With Web Standards is for every web professional who wants to reach more users on more browsers, platforms, and devices — including wireless and hand-held devices — with less work, less maintenance, and at lower cost. It's for designers, developers, site owners and managers who seek to end the costly spiral of obsolescence, where each new browser or Internet device means a whole new coding cycle and another line item on the budget. Few organizations today can afford the merry-go-round of coding and re-coding that has characterized web development until now. (“Source”:http://www.zeldman.com/dwws/)