Web standards are a hot topic when it comes to the web design/development community, and a big part of web standards is having a flawless website consisting of no XHTML errors. It is very rewarding to get the green light from W3C verifying that your website is error free.
With so many considerations and requirements a web site must live up to, the last thing any designer or developer needs is more confusion. User capabilities, browser capabilities, and the headache IE causes are enough to worry about when juggling multiple web projects, right? Recently, web designer Nick Hand has created a solution to simplify a web designer/developer’s workflow. I sat down with Nick to talk about his new web project ‘StayValid,’ which is a web application used to manage the validation of all your web projects from one central location.(Subscribe to this blog and win a FREE 6 month StayValid subscription! Click here to find out how.)
Enlighten us by sharing a little about yourself.
Well, I grew up in Palmer, Alaska, and wouldn’t trade that for the world. I received my Bachelor’s degree in Digital Arts and Design from Full Sail University in Orlando, Florida – graduated at the top of my class in June 2007, and had a job waiting for me back home in Alaska. I’ve been working as a Sr. Web Designer in Anchorage ever since. No I don’t live in an igloo, yes we have cars and electricity (obviously), no I don’t eat whale blubber, and yes I know Sarah Palin.
How did StayValid come about?
I’ve become somewhat of an advocate for valid and semantic code over the last couple years. The realization of just how much time and money is spent on making corrections for inferior browsers just blew me away.
After the many facepalms, tears, fits of rage, and more tears, I began to realize the problem wasn’t so much the browser’s fault – but the fact that we as web developers haven’t pushed strongly enough for a consistent set of standards to make our lives easier. How could we possibly expect Microsoft products to behave anything like other browsers without some set rules of how certain behaviors are rendered?
Since this realization, I began spending a decent amount of time running pages through the W3C validator. This can be time consuming in itself, when running page after page, at least for the core pages of your site. It just seemed like there should be an easier way to manage the validation of your entire site, and for that matter, multiple sites. Alas, the concept of StayValid was born.
How does StayValid work exactly?
The functionality of StayValid is a very simple premise. Essentially what you’re doing with our service is creating a hub for you to store and access all your validation scans in one place, so you can manage them with an easy-to-use interface to drastically simplify the process of making your sites validate.
For example, if you are a freelance web designer, or even a small studio that makes a new site every week, you can add each site subscription to your StayValid Dashboard, it is immediately scanned and your validation results are directly accessible on a per-page basis under that domain.
Making your site validate can be time consuming, and you may not have time to get it completed in one sitting. No worries, you can just visit StayValid at anytime, log in to your Dashboard, and your site subscriptions are waiting for you to continue reviewing errors. No need to scan your site again or scroll through endless unorganized code outputs that generally are the result of current online validators. StayValid has each page’s output neatly organized by URL. You can even choose to hide valid pages so they are out of your way. There’s a nifty new feature that allows you to scan an individual page directly from the error details view, so you don’t have to rescan your entire site just to recheck validation of one page!
Can you give us a briefing of your design process for this project?
My first thoughts for StayValid were mostly functionality-based, which lead me to trying to find if there was a service that provided what I was wanting to create with StayValid. As I searched – and came up empty handed – I found the sites that provided ANY validation functionality were painfully drab and unattractive.
Not only did this reflect poorly on the use of the sites’ functionality, it seemed to create a sort of ‘old fashioned’ feel to the whole process of validating. I wanted site validation to seem current, modern, and part of the future of web design and development – which I feel it is.
So I wanted the core of StayValid to be productive and stay focused to the goal, but I also am hoping to make a bit of an impression to show the ability to put a beautiful face on the somewhat code-based tedious functionality. There’s enough difficulty in sorting through your nonsense code to make it validate, I didn’t want it to be difficult to make your way around StayValid’s interface. That meant creating a slick, clean-cut environment that is easily navigated and keeps the power of the service at your fingertips while making it an enjoyable experience at the same time.
Sell yourself, why should designers/developers use StayValid opposed to a browser validation plugin or by visiting w3.org to validate sites?
Using StayValid not only keeps all your site validation results organized in an intuitive, simple environment, but adds powerful tools like the ability to automatically have your site scanned every night, have your scan results emailed to you, and individual page scans on-the-fly while reviewing page errors. Knowing you can add a few site subscriptions, leave it, come back later, check the errors, fix them, rescan, be emailed when it’s complete, is just a comfort of having that much more control over your site’s maintainability. With each scan also comes the number of pages found with our site crawler, and a list of every page found on your site through internal linking. These can also be very powerful tools in site management.
What do you want people to know about StayValid?
I’m not going to claim that there is anything groundbreaking about the technology behind StayValid. It’s just a simple, yet powerful tool that has the potential to save very valuable time for designers and developers who feel it is important to maintain site validation.
StayValid will not stop at just producing site validation output, there’s more in the works, and I’d love to hear what people think of it, and what they would like to see come in future releases in areas of functionality. What would save you more time in your site development? What tools and time-saving options do you want to see? I value user feedback greatly, and I see a lot of potential to continue growing the power of StayValid to meet needs of today’s web developers.
Along with most web applications, StayValid is fresh out of the box, so bare with them as they work out the rough patches. You can help by giving feedback about your experience using StayValid – all user feedback is greatly appreciated and will only be used to make StayValid more useful and enjoyable for you. So be patient, but take advantage of the tools it provides!
Want a FREE Premium StayValid subscription? All VelvetAnt subscribers will have a chance to win 1 FREE Premium StayValid subscription or one of 2 FREE Basic StayValid subscriptions for 6 months! Click here for more information on StayValid and how to win your own free subscription.If you are a blogger and want to become an affiliate and run your own contest for stayvalid subscriptions, contact Nick at firstname.lastname@example.org