School and the web

What has always bugged me is the way I've been educated in building web pages. I think it's great the Web Standard Project has formed a task force for improving that particular case.


In my first year, I was taught how to create websites using frames and the WYSIWYG editor Dreamweaver. We’re not even talking tables here, we’re talking frames and we’re talking the year 2003. Not a single line of HTML was hand-written in the first page I created. Purely out of interest and motivation, I went searching beyond and found tags, attributes and whatnot and I thaught myself the right way.

As a side-note, I oughtta mention that this school I was attending was neither a programming nor an IT training. It thaught Multimedia. Therefore, they provided lessons in Photoshop, Illustrator, photography, video editing et cetera. Webdesign was only a small part of the package. Nevertheless, a lot of people in my year really wanted to get a job in webdesign or development. So there you have it: a couple of dozen graduates all being very fond of the internet, with not a single clue what web standards or web accessibility mean.

Of course, I can’t speak for all schools in the Netherlands, but I think the very first thing one oughtta be taught is writing one’s own HTML. Not knowing what HTML-tags and attributes mean and do is harmful, considering accessibility and usability. As a matter of fact, webdevelopment studies should start with accessibility. After all, websites are all about content, and serving this content in an accessible manner should be first priority.

Anyway, this is a rant I wanted to write down for a long time, I guess I feel kind of cheated in a way. Go, WaSP! Hopefully things will change for future students.