Non W3C compliant source code

Non W3c Compliant Code

I’ve mentioned W3C compliance issue before in my blog and hey - if web designers don’t wish to use W3C compliant code, that’s fine, (their pigeon!) - but why mislead visitors to the site by claiming that their work is W3C compliant, when quite clearly it isn’t?

What is W3C compliant code?

To quote from a previous blog article that mentions w3 c compliant code, “The W3 part of the acronym stands for WWW, or World Wide Web and the C part of W3C stands for Consortium, so W3C means “World Wide Web Consortium”. W3C is a combination of member organisations that work together to develop the standards for the World Wide Web (WWW). So, if a site has W3C compliant source code, it passes the compliance standards set out by the W3 Consortium.”

Whilst we ensure compliance on our sites, we don’t stick W3C Logos on our site or stick up big banners claiming compliance - There’s nothing wrong with that - but not if you are non compliant!


The purpose of writing this wee article is to give a big hello to the chaps at London based Web Design Agency WebTeamEU, who emailed me today requesting a link. I had a quick look at the site, whom, I believe have a nice looking site. The reason for mentioning them is that they have four graphics on their page to point out what they do and one of them is a W3c compliance graphic. Bye the way, I mean no malice here, the WebteamEU team appear to design nice looking sites.

What amused me is that on the front page of the WebTeauEU site, their graphic says, “W3C Compliant Websites - Look out for it in our work”

They also feature front page content that reads “We are passionate about W3C and we always mark our work with it.  The W3C Conformance logo is clearly displayed on any design work. If you choose to go with us, you will have a website which displays the W3C logo & demonstrates to search engines that your website is interoperable, and to your customers that you have worked with a professional Web design company which  has taken due care when building your site.”

Yet on checking W3C compliance, on the front page alone, I discovered no less than 527 non compliant errors! On One Page! I also checked three sites on the Webteameu portfolio page and of the three I checked, one of the sites was compliant, but the other two were non compliant.

My point isn’t that, or any other website should be W3C compliant, but that if you are a web designer or web design agency and to have a banner graphic on your page claiming source code compliancy, content on the page claiming all your source code is W3C compliant, as well as featuring the W3C source code standard logo on your website - your site should be W3C compliant. It should certainly not feature 527 non W3C compliant source code errors! (This was written some time ago and as of today, 27/10/10, there are only 44 errors)

After viewing this, I’m sure the chaps at WebTeamEU will fix the con-compliant errors and then some of the content in this article will look inaccurate, but I have copied the errors and the code elsewhere, so if anyone wants to see them in the future, they just have to ask.

6 Responses to “Non W3C compliant source code”

erica Says:

I have to agree.. I took a look at the page, and though it looks nice, I feel a web design company should ‘practice what they preach’. For me, if I was going to hire someone that touted w3c compliance, I would want to see their own site as an example. That has been a pet peeve of mine for years!

Adam Ellerington Says:

Hi guys.

We have only just seen this, so apologies for taking time to respond.

I would like to express our gratitude for complimenting our nice looking sites.
We fully accept the constructive feedback, and appreciate that our colleagues in the same industry will always be scrutinizing our work. This is especially the case in such a competitive industry such as web design/development.

In answer to your W3C feedback on our site, it was at a time where we were implementing and experimenting with major changes to our site from a design point of view, and as you would appreciate, when even the smallest changes are made, it will cause conflicts within the W3C code. Some which take time to fix, and others somewhat quicker. As long as they are fixed in the end, that’s whats important. We are very passionate about W3C, and we are always working to improve the W3C compliance of our site, and our client’s sites. In some instances, there are times where you will have to bye pass W3C compliance, in a trade of for more enhanced graphics. There is nothing wrong in this, and we always look for ways to find solutions for this in the long term.

The fact that we have been the subjects of this scrutiny, is actually quite flattering. It means people are actually taking notice!

With regards to “copying our code elsewhere”, we are not sure of your objective here or the legalities of it, however we appreciate it was a subject you felt strongly about needed to take further action.

Our final comment on this is, please do’ continue to follow what we do. We have had some excellent feedback from our recent customer satisfaction surveys, so we must be doing something right.

Please, email us directly if and when you feel the need to publicize constructive criticism about our working practices next time, as we do feel we have the basic right to respond earlier.

All the best.

Adam Ellerington

Thanks for taking the time to write, Adam.
I hope you realise that I used your site as an example, not as a direct, deliberate dig and there was no malicious intent on my part, it was simply that your website was a perfect example of the thousands of sites that preach W3c compliancy and then don’t take the care to ensure that their own site is compliant - particularly with so many errors on your own site, as well as your clients’ sites. Again, your designs are first class, it’s just the w3c compliant claim I can’t understand. Why make such a big thing of it Adam, when your developers don’t seem to be checking compliancy at all?

As you have invited a response, I note that the index page of your own site is now w3c compliant, but you haven’t bothered making the internal pages of your website compliant? Why would you do one and not the rest? You also advertise several client sites on your index page that are not compliant -, for example, which has 429 non-compliant errors and 388 warnings,, which has 475 errors and 18 warnings and which has 127 non-compliant errors and 106 warnings. In fact, of the ten site examples you give on your index page, none of them are W3c compliant. To be fair, you have since removed the graphic from your index page that said, “W3C Compliant Websites - Look out for it in our work” and the paragraph “We are passionate about W3C….” has been watered down to “We will not only design and develop your website, but we will also give you a search engine friendly website, based on W3C standards”, but I thought that at least one of the ten sites on your index page would be standards compliant? Again, I’m not having a pop about the fact that they are not w3c compliant - the majority of websites aren’t - the purpose of the article was to get accross the fact that I feel strongly that if a design company makes w3c compliance a major selling point, they should follow through with their claims and should actually make their own website site and their clients’ sites w3c compliant.

Whilst having a flick through your site, Adam, I noticed a couple of issues that you may want to address. If you go to the site using Internet Explorer 7 using the root URL in the address bar and then hit refresh, a message comes up saying “Internet Explorer cannot open this Internet site” and if you click ok, the site disappears. The other issue I noticed was that in IE8, the footer navigation does not appear when using the Root URL, although if you hit the home button, and the /index.aspx is added to the URL, the footer appears then. This would suggest you may face canonical issues in the search indexes, although now you know about it, you’ll be able to fix it.

With reference to your comment about “coppying the code elsewhere”, it was copied so I could prove that the errors did appear on the site, should you have fixed them quickly and someone asked me to back up my comments regarding the number of errors on your website. The code was never published or used anywhere, so just to put your mind at rest, there are no legal issues there.

I like the new design and I love the way that you have laid out your product prices on the index pages - original and straight to the point. I’m sure a few companies will be following your example in the near future! We wish you every success with your site Adam and again thank you for taking the time to reply. I hope you don’t mind me mentioning the two wee issues I found on the site, I thought you’d want to fix them. Be well BM.

Adam Ellerington Says:

Thanks for this feedback.

The sites you mention on above are all sites which have rather advanced graphics, based on client specification, and we have made a trade off between graphics and W3C compliance, which now and again needs to happen. The sites are very good designs, approved by the customer, and all have excellent search engine ranking. Force one Security, is now ranking on page 1 for a competitive key term ” security services london”. They are on the same page as Mi5, for a fraction of the budget. In this instance, non W3C compliance has not affected search engine ranking.

With regards to internet explorer 7, we feel this is outdated, and webteameu would rather concentrate on internet explorer 8, which is the latest browser from this particular company. As you know cross browser conformity is getting more and more complex, and are constantly working to make sure our products work on the latest browsers, especially in the first instance.

May I please pose a question, since you have opened up the subject . You guys, on your website, claim you are on page 1 for “ethical services”, when actually you come out 14th at the present moment, on page 2 . You have done nothing wrong here, but there are parallels with our w3c situation. Ie, claiming something which is not accurate on your website. We are confident you guys are positively looking to regain page 1 status, in the data centres that you are not listed as page one, just as we were trying to fix our W3C errors, after making major changes to our site.

Why claim you are on page one when you are not?

Do you wish to open a seperate blog about this, on your site?

I don’t wish to get into a long debate with you Adam, but as a matter of courtesy, I’ll comment on your reply.
Trade-off: There is no need to trade off advanced graphics against w3c compliancy. A good developer could easily make any of the sites I mentioned W3c compliant. If that’s what you are being told by the webteameu developers, they are either deliberately misleading you, lazy or incompetant.
Good designs: I agree wholeheartedly. The webteameu designs are first class and your clients should be pleased with them.
All have excellent search engine ranking: The term you have quoted is only competing against 78 other websites that have optimised their title tag for the specific term Security Services London, although it is a good value term, with nearly 1900 searches in the UK each month. There are lots of excellent search terms that you should be going after in that field and with a bit of tweaking of the site and optimisation of your source code, you could easily achieve them. I didn’t check the other webteameu sites, but I have no reason to disbelieve you.
Explorer 7 is outdated: 20% to 25% of your visitors (and your client’s visitors), use internet explorer 7. In fact, around 10% still use internet explorer 6. I find your statement extraordinary, Adam.
Ethical services: We have never targeted, nor claimed to have achived the search term “Ethical Services”, although if I wanted to achieve it, I could be on page one of Google for the term inside ten minutes, as there are only 26 sites, specifically targeting the term in their page title, but although there are 1900 people searching for the term per month in Google UK, I think the majority of them would be looking for green type sites, so there is little point. If you are referring to the 8 terms quoted on the index page of the site, they are, if you read the head, the positions from a year ago (yes, I’m ashamed to admit the table hasn’t been updated for a year!) and they refer to UK searches in the UK Google. All of the terms are still on the front page of Google, (8 of thousands of front page positions we hold). I can only assume that you meant ethical SEO, if you follow this link, you’ll find that we are still on the front page for the term: . Information on a table that is a year out of date, (and still accurate), is not in the least comparable to having w3c compliancy as one of your main selling points and not having any internal pages on your site compatable and not having even one of the sample sites on your index page w3c compatable. Seriously, it’s not, is it? The term clutching at straws comes to mind, Adam.
Do you wish to open a separate blog on this on your site: No thanks. I have replied as a matter of courtesy to you. I’ve covered all of your comments and don’t have the time to continue the dialogue. I wish you and the whole team at every success. You seem like a nice guy Adam - it’s been a pleasure conversing with you. BM

samurai champloo episodes Says:

Doesn’t it take up a lot of time to maintain your blog so fascinating ? Erm…. Just the time it takes to write the blog. oops, forgot to include the spam link, sorry BM

Guillermina Ascolese Says:

Great reading thanks for posting, I have added to my propella bookmarks.

Edward Says:

The WebTeamEU site is NOT W3C compliant and the errors are quite serious. Fully agree with replies and observations to Adam’s comments which are most instructive.

I’m horrified over the claim that non-compliance is occasionally required and just as astonished at notion of ignoring older IEs in favor of IE 8.

W3C compliance serve other needs as well including user confidence; improved rendering time for some browsers; improve security; less cross browser testing needs and improved development times.

I’ve found that developing with W3C compliance up front and using targeted CSS to handle IE quirks is the optimum all around solution.

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