Who’s in charge of the World Wide Web?

Happy Birthday to the World Wide Web Consortium

Founded by Tim Berners Lee, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) was founded on 1  October 1994. It was Tim Berners Lee who launched the world’s first website when he was a researcher at the Swiss-based European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) back in 1990. The W3C organisation now has 423 member organisations who work together to create the web development standards that keep the World Wide Web working.

What are web standards?

The first step to understanding the role of the World Wide Web Consortium is to know the difference between the internet and the World Wide Web. The internet refers to the hardware, such as the servers, satellites and computer networks while the World Wide Web consists of the billions of web pages that sit on top of the internet, that are interlinked using the Hyper Text Transfer Protocol. 

For the web to work as seamlessly as it does, all web developers stick to the standards approved by WC3. Examples of these standards include the code used to design websites and web applications, such as HTML, CSS and SVG.

WC3 has also put in place standards, called the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) to help online authors create content accessible to people with disabilities, such as:

  • Blindness and low vision,
  • Deafness and hearing loss
  • Learning disabilities
  • Cognitive limitations
  • Limited movement
  • Speech disabilities
  • Photosensitivity
  • And combinations of all of these

Following the technical standards explained in WCAG has also been proven to make your Web content more usable to all users in general.

Fostering agreement across the online community

As well as establishing and maintaining standards for web pages, W3C also has the role of getting all the various members to agree on compatibility of software. While software vendors may all agree to apply the standards set out by W3C, they are not legally bound to them and the incompatibility of different versions of software can lead to inconsistency in how web pages are displayed. Anyone involved in web development has experienced the frustration and user experience issues that different versions of software creates.

W3C is now a truly global community engaging with a wide range of online user and developer communities with 18 offices covering Australia, the Benelux countries (Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Belgium), Brazil, China, Finland, Germany, Austria, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, South Korea, Morocco, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom and Ireland.

iFactory is an award-winning Brisbane-based digital agency. We pride ourselves on applying the W3C standards to our digital design and application development and we are a current signatory to the Queensland Government GITC Version 5 Agreement. For more details on how applying W3C standards can improve your web presence, contact us today. Call +61 7 3844 0577.

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