W3C Validated Links

September 21, 2008 at 9:33 PMBen

Every so often I'm at a website and notice a "This page is Valid XHTML" link somewhere on the page.  The link takes you to the W3C's validator page, examines the HTML of the page you came from and gives a report.  If the HTML validates without any issues, you get a nice green bar with a message stating something similar to:

This document was successfully checked as XHTML 1.0 Transitional!

The problem is that of the few times I've bothered clicking on one of these links on someone's site, not uncommonly the validator comes back reporting errors:

Errors found while checking this document as XHTML 1.0 Transitional!

... oops, that's not supposed to happen!  In fairness, it's usually just a couple of minor issues that don't cause any major issues on the website.  But, the red text and the "Errors found" message gives a bad impression.  I would imagine when the site was originally put together, the HTML validated and the designer slapped a "Validated" link on the page.  Most likely the HTML that doesn't conform to the spec crept into the page during subsequent modifications and updates.

Unless you're selling or showcasing website templates, putting a "Page Validated" link on your website doesn't seem worth it.  These links are meaningless to almost all visitors and they require the site maintainer to constantly revalidate their HTML when making modifications.  When the site maintainer forgets to re-validate or doesn't know he should re-validate, you end up giving a worst impression to the visitor who clicks on your "Validated" link and finds errors than if you never had the link in the first place.

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