Once upon a time, the only acronyms that a website designer or developer need to know were things like HTML, CSS, PHP, SQL. The tools that they use to actually build a website. But now, website professionals have to be aware of a whole new set of acronyms and most of these come with their own fun set of rules, requirements, and best practices. Near the end of last year, all of the conversation centered around WCAG 2.0 – the “new” rules established for websites under section 2 of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). Not to long ago, there was a big kerfuffle about GDRP and it’s impact on privacy disclosures for websites courting users in Europe.
Then the technology companies like to pile on with their changes and their “best practices.” SEO is a hard enough process without the ever popular moving target that is Google. They have really pushed mobile friendliness. Then site speed and performance came on to the radar. Currently the big target is centered on security and SSL Certificates.
Last year, a large grocer lost a federal court case in which they were found negligent of not providing an online experience that was fully accessible to individuals that are visually or aurally impaired. This got a lot of people’s attention. Last month, a rule enacted across the EU went in to effect pertaining to disclosures on the collection of private information by websites and allowing people to easily manage their own data. This has a lot of people wondering when something like this will cross the pond to the US. US businesses are still required to comply if they have a european audience. So just because a rule hasn’t been put into effect here doesn’t mean it doesn’t impact websites in the US.
Next month, Google is expected to take the next step in pushing websites towards having some sort of basic level of security/encryption. A topic I’ve already alluded to in a previous post.
It’s hard enough to keep up with all of this for website professionals. For small businesses trying to change the dream on their own, it’s basically impossible. They hear about a topic at an industry event that they have managed to sneak out of the office. But the information is vague at best, alarming at worst, and probably didn’t give them any concrete actionable step other than spend time they don’t have, to learn more.
My biggest advise to owners of websites is always “Don’t go it alone.” Find a website professional that you are comfortable talking to. Even if you aren’t having them do the actual work and are trying to do things yourself. Build a relationship that allows you a channel to ask questions and get answers. Even if you have to pay for a little time here and there, or the occasional lunch (we have been known to eat), the return is invaluable. The key is finding a “Professional.” One who keeps up with all that is going on in the world of websites.