The Web Standards Project Closes: “Our Work Here is Done”

With little ceremony other than an announcement written by Bruce Lawson and Steph Troeth on the Web Standards Project blog, the volunteer army of people who worked to bring web standards into common use have ceased their organizational work.

I want to quote the entire announcement. I know you can go to the WaSP blog and read it, but it seems like something of an homage to the important work done by so many dedicated designers and developers for the past 14 years to reprint it below. And I’m  proud of my small part of the work as a member of the education task force and the development of a web standards based curriculum.

When The Web Standards Project (WaSP) formed in 1998, the web was the battleground in an ever-escalating war between two browser makers—Netscape and Microsoft—who were each taking turns “advancing” HTML to the point of collapse. You see, in an effort to one-up each other, the two browsers introduced new elements and new ways of manipulating web documents; this escalated to the point where their respective 4.0 versions were largely incompatible.

Realizing that this fragmentation would inevitably drive up the cost of building websites and ran the risk of denying users access to content and services they needed, Glenn Davis, George Olsen, and Jeffrey Zeldman co-founded WaSP and rallied an amazing group of web designers and developers to help them push back. The WaSP’s primary goal was getting browser makers to support the standards set forth by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

In 2001, with the browser wars largely over, WaSP began to shift its focus. While some members continued to work with browser vendors on improving their standards support, others began working closely with software makers like Macromedia to improve the quality of code being authored in tools such as Dreamweaver. And others began the hard slog of educating web designers and developers about the importance of using web standards, culminating in the creation of WaSP InterAct, a web curriculum framework which is now overseen by the W3C.

Thanks to the hard work of countless WaSP members and supporters (like you), Tim Berners-Lee’s vision of the web as an open, accessible, and universal community is largely the reality. While there is still work to be done, the sting of the WaSP is no longer necessary. And so it is time for us to close down The Web Standards Project.

Many (if not all) of us are continuing to work in the world of web standards, but our work is now largely outside the umbrella of WaSP. If you are interested in continuing to work on web standards-related projects along with us, we humbly suggest you follow these projects:

  • A List Apart – The magazine “for people who make websites” is run by WaSP founder Jeffrey Zeldman and is a consistent source of forward-thinking articles and tutorials.
  • HTML5 Doctor – A solid resource and discussion forum on all things HTML5, brought to you by Bruce Lawson and his team.
  • W3C Community Groups – If you have a passion for a specific web technology, you can help make it better by participating in one (or more) community groups. In particular, you might be interested in one of these: Core Mobile Web Platform, Responsive Images, Web Education, and Web Media Text Tracks.
  • – A fantastic web standards resource, providing up-to-date documentation, Q&As, tutorials & more. Chris Mills, Doug Schepers, and a number of other standards advocates are involved in this project.
  • Web Standards Sherpa – An educational resource founded by WaSP which continues to operate under the leadership of Chris Casciano, Virginia DeBolt, Aaron Gustafson, and Emily Lewis.
  • Web Standards + Small Business – An outreach project started by WaSP that educates small businesses about why they should care about web standards. This project is overseen by Aaron Gustafson.

The job’s not over, but instead of being the work of a small activist group, it’s a job for tens of thousands of developers who care about ensuring that the web remains a free, open, interoperable, and accessible competitor to native apps and closed eco-systems. It’s your job now, and we look forward to working with you, and wish you much success.

Congratulations and a big thank you to everyone who gave time and talent to the Web Standards Project. WaSP changed the world.

Interact With Web Standards Curriculum Now at Home at the W3C

The Interact with Web Standards online curriculum developed by a group of volunteers at the Web Standards Project has moved from the WaSP site and now lives at the W3C. The material at the WaSP site is still there, but updating is now handled at the W3C.

The W3C took over the curriculum some time ago. It is on the Web Education Community Group Wiki. All the courses that were on the other site (for example Web Design 1, my course) are still there. Some of the courses have been updated since moving to the W3C, mine among them. Plus there are lots of new web education materials on the W3C site that have been developed and published online since the move.

Everything is still free and web-standards based. The courses are modularized for classroom use with full sets of learning objectives, learning activities, projects. Tests and project grading matrices are provided.

The site for the textbook, InterACT with Web Standards: A Holistic Approach to Web Design, remains where it has been. The book is a perfect classroom tool to use with the projects and assignments in the online curriculum.

Web Education Community Group at the W3C

A new W3C web education community group is building and forming. You can join and participate here:

The Web Education Community Group (CG) aims to evolve the Web and improve the overall skill set of the web industry by improving the quality of available web education resources and courses around the world.

There’s a wiki at The curriculum from WaSP InterACT is being moved there. This will increase distribution and participation in keeping the web standards based web education curriculum that InterACT created current and relevant.

I know some of you are interested in working with Move the Web Forward. As web educators, joining and participating in the Web Education Community Group at the W3C is a perfect way to contribute to moving the web forward.

Now Available! InterACT with Web Standards: A Holistic Approach to Web Design

InterACT with Web Standards coverInterACT with Web Standards: a Holistic Approach to Web Design is available today.

This announcement is a BIG DEAL.

This book puts everything you need to teach a class in web design or development with web standards into your hands. The book is easy to use in connection with InterACT’s 17 courses in 6 learning tracks making it the perfect tool and resource for teaching or learning contemporary web design best practices.

If you are a student who wants to learn about building a web site with web standards, this book will lead you there.

For educators, your semester will be a snap to plan with this book. It’s all right there for you.

The book is published by New Riders (2010). There are 10 authors. The major contributor being Chris Mills, with additional expertise from Erin Anderson, Virginia DeBolt, Derek Featherstone, Lars Gunther, Denise Jacobs, Leslie-Jensen-Inman, Christopher Schmitt, Glenda Sims and Aarron Walter. I’m really proud to have been a small part of making the book a reality, because I think the book is going to be very important to students and teachers who are looking for the a reliable resource for web design best practices.

In addition to the writers, a number of other people worked to bring this book to life. They include Aarron Walter as project manager, Patrick Lauke as technical editor, Jeff Riley as development editor, Leslie Jensen-Inman as creative director and Jessi Taylor as book and site designer.

Many kudos go to Leslie Jensen-Inman and Jessi Taylor. When you see this book and hold it in your hands you will realize what a work of art it is from a design and typography point of view. It’s a beautiful book.

Take a look at the table of contents:

  1. InterACT
  2. Tools
  3. Learning on the Web
  4. Internet Fundamentals
  5. Writing for the Web
  6. Information Architecture Intro
  7. Site Planning
  8. Content Analysis
  9. Content Strategy
  10. HTML Intro
  11. CSS Intro
  12. <head>
  13. Headings and Paragraphs
  14. Whitespace
  15. Links
  16. Images
  17. Lists
  18. Tables
  19. Forms
  20. Floats
  21. Positioning
  22. Accessibility Intro
  23. Accessibility Helps
  24. Accessibility Testing
  25. Bringing it All Together
  26. Index

The InterACT with Web Standards book site has everything you need to know. There, you’ll find links to purchase the book, links to code examples from the book, links to bonus content, and links to the sample project. The site has links to information about InterACT, OWEA, and the Web Standards Project. You can take a peek inside the book, read some reviews, grab links to all the resources cited in the book, and MUCH MORE.

Buy now and take advantage of this limited time offer tweeted by @waspinteract.

InterACT With Web Standards, the first book from The Web Standards Project, is out. Save 35% on it with code INTERACT. May 17 16:00:20 via CoTweet

Meet Glenda Sims on Ada Lovelace Day

Glenda Sims is a whirlwind of accomplishment in information technology, web education, museum accessibility, web accessibility and web standards. She’s someone who makes things change and gets things done, and the worthy honoree of attention on Ada Lovelance Day.

Ada Lovelace Dayis an international day of blogging (videologging, podcasting, comic drawing etc.) to draw attention to the achievements of women in technology and science.

Take a visual tour through Glenda’s life, from her childhood in Texas to her current position as Senior Systems Analyst in Information Technology Services at the University of Texas at Austin.

Her blog is Oz: the blog of glenda sims (the goodwitch) and she’s @goodwitch on Twitter. The rest of her information is listed at Flavors/goodwitch.

Before we get into the professional activities that made her an Ada Lovelace topic, let Glenda tell you a bit about her personal life.

I’m happily married (20+ years) to the love of my life, Scott. We have two of the most wonderful children on the planet (both boys). I am a native Texan. Born in Houston. Bachelor’s Degrees in Psychology and Business Management from the University of Texas at Austin. Began my career as a human resources professional at UT Austin. Had an opportunity to become a programmer (for Human Resources) so I could automated the tasks that could be done by computers, allowing employees to use their brains for more useful tasks.

I love to read. I’m really into kid-lit and discovering new authors with my youngest son. Last year we had a blast reading almost all of the book son the Texas Blue Bonnet Reading List.

One of my favorite things to do as a kid was to making jumping origami frogs…and yes…I still love to make them.

At UT-Austin, Glenda works on Team Web and help supports the central web site for the University.  She is the self-appointed web standards and accessibility advocate at UT. Her work on campus includes museum technology, usability, accessibility and universal design. She’s currently leading the project to redesign UT’s mobile web site.

She works with Knowbility, an accessibility training and advocacy organization based in Austin, Texas. She’s been an accessibility consultant, judge and trainer with Knowbility since 2001. She said,

My dear friends at Knowbility are a huge part of who I am today.  Sharron Rush, John Slatin, Jim Thatcher, Jim Allan and the whole accessibility crew in Austin have filled me with the burning desire to make sure that the web is available to everyone, regardless of their disabilities. Knowbility is like family to me.

I know Glenda best through her work with Web Standards Project, the InterAct curriculum, and OWEA (Open Web Education Alliance)—all projects I’m involved with myself. She’s an influential and dynamic leader in these projects and is moving mountains to bring change to web education. I asked her how she got into this area.

My journey into Web Standards started in December 2000 when I asked if I could become the web accessibility expert for UT. I was quickly introduced to Dr. John Slatin, an international accessibility expert and faculty member on our campus. John and I were an incredible force on campus. We shared new techniques, brainstormed creative solutions, developed training classes, policies and guidelines for campus and ran accessibility competitions for our webmasters.  We weren’t merely satisfied with teaching the “how” of accessibility…we wanted to build a culture of universal design on campus and created accessibility evangelists. My years working with John were priceless.

John introduced me to Sharron Rush and Knowbility in early 2001. We become the 3 Accessibility Amigos.

In SXSWi 2005, I was preparing to speak on an accessibility panel with James Craig, Ian Lloyd and Derek Featherstone. As we worked on our game plan for the panel, I was introduced to a whole new crew of web and accessibility advocates from the Web Standards Project. As I sat and listened to the vision and plans of the WaSP members I felt deeply inspired to take my work to the next level. Up until 2005 I was focused on making things accessible here in Austin. After SXSW this year I realized that I wanted to act globally as well as locally. I set a personal and private goal for myself. I wanted to become a WaSP.

In 2006 I had an opportunity to volunteer to work on a project that Molly was kick-starting called the WaSP International Liaison Group (ILG). Steph Troeth and I were asked to co-lead this project. I had the honor to work for more than 2 years on this project with an incredible group of web professionals who spent countless volunteer hours spreading the message (and the techniques) for ensuring an open web.

Glenda delights in telling the story of how InterAct and the now-forming Open Web Education Alliance came into being at SXSW in Austin. Here’s how she describes it.

At SXSWi 2008 I met the energetic Aarron Walter at the Red Eye Fly. Aarron had this idea that what the web really needed was a web education curriculum framework. His vision to build this framework as a way for educators, industry professionals and students to build and sustain a living curriculum gave me goosebumps. Within 24 hours of my conversation with Aarron, I was approached by Chris Mills who was already working on a similar and complimentary project (the Opera Web Standards Curriculum). Then Leslie Jensen-Inman and I were having a conversation where she was focused on solving the challenges of teaching the web and preparing students for real-world expectations.

I shook my head and said…”this is the magic of SXSW”…and realized I had to get these three people together. The next round of conversations took place in the middle of a bowling alley (at Geeks Love Bowling) and continued throughout the conference. The result of these conversations (and the hard work of many dedicated individuals can be seen at

Every time I talk to these people, whether it is in person, Skype or email, I’m filled with energy and excitement of what we can accomplish when we pull together.

In early 2009, John Allsopp was hosting Web Directions North in Denver. John has heard about the InterAct Curriculum and brought many members of the InterAct team together to host a Ed Directions Day in Denver. The synergy that occurred in Denver was off the charts. What happens when you add equal parts of WaSP/InterAct members + Passionate Educators + Web Industry Visionaries + Brilliant W3C Minds? You get the magic we call the Open Web Education Alliance.

A completely different facet of Glenda’s personality is her love for art museums. She said,

I’m deeply and madly in love with art museums.  And there is nothing I enjoy more than making museums and their collections accessible. I have had the great honor of working on a number of projects with the Blanton Museum of Art. My favorite project was developing an interactive handheld tour (iTour) for a research project. The research question:  Does having access to rich multimedia (on a handheld device) enhance or detract from the experience of exploring a work of art inside a museum gallery. Our research paper is published. The iTour project lead to a string of exciting adventures with Anne Manning, Dan Updegrove and Eric Guaglione.

Web Education Rocks
If you attended SXSW Interactive this year, I hope you ran into Glenda there. She was on a Web Education Rocks panel with the WaSP  team.  She says,

I have the great fortune of living in Austin where the amazing SXSW Interactive Conference occurs every year. What is SXSWi? It is like spring break for geeks…where geeks come to be with their own and dream beyond the edges of the horizon…and then…filled with some magically SXSW energy…actually turn those dreams into reality. SXSW is nothing short of magical.

She works to make the web accessible and she works to train the future professionals of the web. So, what does she look for in a web page?

There are two types of sites I love:  1)Super useful and usable sites  2)Immersive sites that make me think in an entirely new way.

One of my favorite “super useful” sites is Basecamp. If Basecamp were alive I would want to marry it.

One of my favorite “see things differently sites” is SFMoMA’s Art Scope.

I don’t think I look at websites like normal humans. I tend to turn websites inside, outside, upside down. I’m a big believer in the principles of creating a delightful user experience for the end user.

That is a fitting last comment from Glenda Sims. A big thank you to Glenda for her help and cooperation.

InterAct scores a big w00t with new book and site

InterAct with Web Standards coverInterACT with Web Standards: A Holistic Approach to Web Design has reached the stage in the publishing cycle where you can preorder the book.

You can order on or from At some point in the near future, it will also be available from Peachpit and other booksellers like Barnes and Nobel.

A new site at went up yesterday in support of the book. Currently there, you’ll find the table of contents, and a list of all the people involved in writing and designing this book. The list contains some familiar names and excellent people at work on this book.

It’s the first “companion” book written in support of the InterAct Curriculum.

Speaking of the InterAct Curriculum, even more course materials and more courses are going to be announced at SXSW in March, so be watching to see what the new courses are.

Here’s a blurb from the site, explaining what the book is all about.

Crafted by the education luminaries that brought you the revolutionary InterACT curriculum, the Opera Web Standards Curriculum, and the experts that power The Web Standards Project, this book is the definitive guide to the best practices every web professional needs to master to succeed in their career.

If you’re teaching a basic web design course, you should check out the resources available in this book as well as in the curriculum, which has materials for many more courses as well.

Useful Links: Digital News, Young Designers

Why the iPad (and kin) is Unlikely to Yield Consumer Savings at Wired Pen puts pen and paper to the math involved in digital distribution of  news by media companies trying to transition from print.

Group Interview: Expert Advice for Students and Young Web Designers at Smashing Magazine was eye opening. And annoying. For one thing, everyone they interviewed was male.

Another problem I had was that I didn’t recognized many of the names of the web design experts they interviewed. Of course, there’s no reason why I should know every web design expert on the planet, but I do stay in touch with this area of knowledge. All the men interviewed had interesting job titles, and are no doubt good at their jobs.

None of the men interviewed by Smashing Magazine were educators. Few of them mentioned formal training for web designers, and when they did, it was all about what happens outside of formal training. They talked about passion and experience, about finding work and freelancing. None of them talked about how their education prepared them to work in the web design field.

As a web design educator, I think the attitudes and comments of the men interviewed in this article deserve careful thought by folks like me who identify as educators of web designers.