A Blog Not Limited

to web design, standards & semantics

Take Your Markup to Eleven

Jul 18, 2011

Published in

Geolocation. Multiple background images. Web storage. Gradients. Native media. Transforms and transitions. Canvas. It's an exciting time for the web. So many possibilities of what we, as designers and developers, can do for our sites and clients.

But you know what gets me the most excited? HTML. But not just any HTML. Great HTML.

Great markup is accessible. Great markup is semantic (and even structured). Great markup is easier to maintain (especially in a team environment). Great markup is portable. Great markup is future proof resistant.

My Practical Reality

If you like sexy and shiny and trends and making things for fun, you may already be bored.

As for me, I love sexy and shiny as much as the next person, but what I love more (especially now that I'm freelancing) is getting paid for good work. And my clients aren't asking for geolocation (yet). They don't care about offline web apps (yet). They don't care about CSS gradients (yet).

My clients want solid web sites that will last through branding and design changes. My clients want sites that are accessible to their users. My clients want sites that search engines love.

My clients want great HTML. So that what I do my damnedest to write.

One Louder

But great HTML isn't just the framework for your content. It isn't something that you can rely on a WYSIWYG to help you generate. There isn't even a validator for great HTML.

Great HTML means taking your markup one louder … pushing your skills to a new level … challenging yourself to think about markup differently.

Denver HUG

I took this Spinal Tap inspired message to Denver this past May, presenting for the Denver HTML5 Users Group. I talked about some of the ways I take my markup to eleven:

After 5 months of regular public speaking gigs, this one was, by far, my best ever. Plus, I not only referenced Spinal Tap, but Captain Tightpants himself. Unfortunately it wasn't recorded (still bummed about that … *heavy sigh*), but my slide deck is available:

As you can see, there are ways you can start elevating your markup today. Start small, with POSH. Try out the new HTML5 structural elements. Throw in an hCard. Experiment with HTML5 microdata. Add ARIA roles. And it isn't an "all or nothing" proposition.

Ready for Sexy, Shiny Time

But this presentation wasn't just about spreading the word about POSH or microformats or even web standards. It was about encouraging a different mindset. A more thoughtful approach to markup that leverages all it can do.

Because the best thing about great markup is it's the best foundation for enhancing and experimenting with those sexy and shiny trends and new developments.

And that's the main reason I love it. When my clients come to me, ready to try native video or willing to let go of cross-browser misconceptions and embrace the efficiencies of CSS rounded corners, their HTML is ready to support it.

HTML5 Cookbook

Interested in HTML5?
Get the Cookbook!

I was a contributing author for HTML5 Cookbook, available for sale on Amazon! Get yours now! (I hear chapters 1, 4 and 5 are particularly good.)

P.S. Don't forget my book Microformats Made Simple is still for sale!


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The Coolest Person I Know

Emily Lewis

Yeah, that would be me: .

I'm a freelance web designer of the standardista variety, which means I get excited about things like valid POSH, microformats and accessibility. I ply my trade from my one-person design studio in Albuquerque, New Mexico 87106 USA.

A Blog Not Limited is my personal blog where I pontificate about web design, web standards, semantics and whatever else strikes my fancy. Head on over to Emily Lewis Design if you'd like to see my work or, even better, hire me.


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