Friday Feast #15: W3C, Standards, and Device Independence
Device independence is a phrase that I think you’ll be hearing a lot more of in the days ahead. You’ve already been hearing about separating content and presentation, for example. Well, that’s an important part of device independence. The W3C wants to ensure that information can be available in a variety of ways, not just via a Web browser.
If we approach markup for our websites with flexibility in mind, the content will be much easier to adapt than if it’s enmeshed in nested table cells, font tags, and a myriad of other markup. Using CSS can help separate content from presentation by eliminating so many of those presentation-related tags, replacing them with a separate style sheet. Greater flexibility allows your content to be more easily accessed from a variety of platforms, whether a Web browser, a telephone, speech recognition software, or other means. Following the latest web standards also provides a more forward-compatible approach that will make it easier to adapt to new and emerging technologies. The W3C is working with all this in mind.
While I happen to be personally fascinated by emerging technologies, I think it’s also important for web designers and developers to be aware of them, too. Meandering through the W3C’s site will show you that CSS, the DOM, HTML, XHTML, and XML are only a few of the many areas covered by W3C. I picked out some sections that especially deal with device independence for today’s Friday Feast to help bring more awareness about these emerging technologies.
- W3C “Voice Browser” Activity
The Voice Browser Working Group is diligently working on a suite of markup languages including dialog, speech synthesis, speech recognition, call control and more for interactive voice response applications. You can read and learn more about this technology and its current and proposed use via the W3C “Voice Browser” Activity section.
- Also check out the W3C’s Multimodal Interaction Activity where you can get a good grasp of how various technologies can be synchronized, such as combining XHTML, SMIL and XForms with markup for speech synthesis and speech recognition.
- The W3C’s Device Independence Activity is recently formed, replacing and combining the “Mobile Access Activity” and “TV and the Web Activity.” W3C is working toward making information available regardless of the device or mechanism, whether via the Web, voice recognition software, telephony, or other technologies. Their Device Independence Principles discusses their vision and celebration of greater device independence for Web content and applications.