October 24, 2011

If not for open web standards, you'd need a different web browser to access different web pages, and as for mobile, fuhgettaboutit!

Luckily, web standards like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, when properly used, allow us to read, shop, schmooze, dish, post, check in, and share everything from our kids' class pictures to our most deeply cherished beliefs―whether we're accessing the web via smartphone, tablet, or virtually any desktop browser.

But this utopia of information access we take for granted today was no accident. We owe it all to two words: Web Standards. For your pleasure and edification, we've collaborated with web experts Eric Meyer and Jeffrey Zeldman, the visionary founders of An Event Apart, the design conference for people who make websites, to create a fun and informative romp through the pages of web standards history.

Journey with us into the recent past―and who knows, what you learn may enable you to make your contribution the next major bullet point in the timeline of the Internet!

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Whether you're looking for talent or looking for work, Vitamin T can help!

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Comments (35)

Great work. It'd be amazing to have a print version of this.
Martin Stark, Tue., October 25, 9:39 AM
Great artwork :). It'd be amazing to have a print version of this.
Martin Stark, Tue., October 25, 9:40 AM
Why is this an infographic? Shouldn't this be a web page instead of an image? This isn't web accessible and is useless on a mobile device. #fail
Aaron Burrows, Tue., October 25, 11:07 AM
Nice infographic, but I can't believe you're giving more cred to Safari in 2003 than to Firefox. It was Firefox that wrestled development on the web away from IE and paved the way for other browsers.
Lars Gunther, Tue., October 25, 11:38 AM
Nice infographic, but I can't believe you're giving more cred to Safari in 2003 than to Firefox. It was Firefox that wrestled development on the web away from IE and paved the way for other browsers.
Lars Gunther, Tue., October 25, 11:41 AM
I would so, so love to have a poster of this. I realize it would be an oddly long poster, but it would still be awesome.
Megan, Tue., October 25, 12:11 PM
This image looks very pretty, but: 1. Why is this an image and not an interactive page? 2. What has the release dates of ugly fonts got to do with web standards?
Divya Manian, Tue., October 25, 12:19 PM
Possible typo? 2000 IE 5 mac version has near-perfect html5 support?
Jesse, Tue., October 25, 12:20 PM
This image is very pretty, but: 1. Why is it an image, when especially it is about web standards? 2. What has the release dates of ugly fonts got to do with web standards?
Divya Manian, Tue., October 25, 12:22 PM
I would so, so love to have a poster of this. I realize it would be an oddly long poster, but it would still be awesome.
Megan, Tue., October 25, 12:35 PM
The CSS Zen Garden launched in May 2003.
Dave S., Tue., October 25, 12:39 PM
"1984"'s link to your topic is really stretching the point, why not include WordPerfect or WordStar in that case? "2000" typo: 'HTML5'? *ahem*! "1978" is a bit of a half-truth: Commodore, the company that provided their CPU chips, sold more PETs than Apple I and ][ every single year both were on the market so I would put them forward as the actual usherers-in of the PC-era. Otherwise, a really beautiful and interesting infographic! Nice work.
Richie, Tue., October 25, 1:00 PM
I'd REALLY like a high res version of this! This would be SWEET in my cube!
Steve, Tue., October 25, 2:44 PM
Wow - thanks so much for all the input and requests. Please keep commenting - we're going to catch up to you!
Tim, Tue., October 25, 4:46 PM
Awesome work! Add another vote for a print version.
Seba, Tue., October 25, 8:16 PM
This is lovely & suitable for framing. But why on earth would a history of web standards be created as an image when HTML & CSS are so much better suited for the job?
Dale Cruse, Wed., October 26, 9:57 AM
Two type nits: You're showing Adobe Garamond, not ITC Garamond, for "1978" and Gotham was released in 2002, not 2000.
Mark, Wed., October 26, 11:44 AM
Yes, i second that. is there a poster available, even for purchase? As designers all know, it's pretty hard reading white text on black. Humm, interesting choice of background. Why?
Jane Westfall, Wed., October 26, 12:56 PM
It would make a great poster and you should offer it for sale. Before you do please add an honorable mention for Paul Irish, Divya Manian and company for the revolutionary HTML5 Boilerplate!
Priscilla Christian, Wed., October 26, 2:19 PM
The font used to set "1997", credited as Facelift, is a knockoff of my typeface FontFont Trixie. Not just a similar idea, but a point for point copy, with some scaling. Is this a post-ironic typographic critique or just a wee bit clumsy?
Erik van Blokland, Fri., October 28, 4:40 AM
quite amazed to see that no mention about chrome.. how come..
kugan, Fri., October 28, 7:40 AM
Another vote for a print version - please! :)
Maciej Fiszer, Fri., October 28, 9:26 AM
Thanks for all the comments and the spirited debate! One of the best things about the Internet: the whole world can catch your typos. We've fixed those, by the way, and will keep you posted on having this baby printed. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. We loved the suggestion to make this info interactive and web standards compliant - we were just shooting for an infographic that would share the history. If you happen to pull that off, we're pretty sure Eric Meyer will share the heck out of it. Keep us posted!
Tim, Fri., October 28, 11:35 AM
I do agree that this would be nice if interactive. I might just take a stab at it myself! There has, however, been a lot of buzz as of late over Infographics, so I understand the decision to do it this way. Not to mention time constraints. Cudos to #AEA, @zeldman @meyerweb and @vitamintalent for putting this together.
Brion, Fri., October 28, 11:22 PM
I love this! Will certainly hang it on my wall to certify my geek-ness! I have to agree with the Zen Garden comment though - that's what sold us hard-headed ones on CSS.
Jill, Mon., October 31, 10:09 AM
AWESOME JOB!!! feel good about the work you are doing. there are very few people in the world who take the lead and you are the few. everyone else with an opinion, thank you for your input. ....cant please everybody!
DTM, Mon., November 7, 1:10 AM
It's hard to believe that the web didn't really kick off until I was in high school. Thank god I was able to use it through college! And now...I'm lost without it...sadly. I was taking notes in a meeting the other day the analog way (pen/paper) because my laptop was dead and I thought to myself, 'how long has it been since I've written something on paper?" eeeek.
Katie, Thu., November 17, 1:25 PM
This looks great but feels very Apple biased. It's as if this came straight from the Apple marketing department. A factual error in the 2010-2011 years that states Flash has been "killed" . If this is an "infographic" then it should contain correct info rather than biased opinions. I'm not inviting a ridiculous discussion about the future of Flash and "who won" rather to say this is just incorrect.
Heather, Thu., November 17, 6:32 PM
There's a typo just above "Goodwin's Law" where Tim Berners-Lee is referred to as "Bermers-Lee", note the "m"". Great infografic.
Robert Williams, Mon., November 21, 1:05 PM
Robert - good catch! We're just sending this to print, so thanks for the info... To everyone else, sit tight, we should have this out of virtual and onto paper soon.
Tim, Mon., November 21, 3:08 PM
You left out of your predictions that people will still use IE6 in the year 2020...
Jackson, Tue., November 29, 4:14 PM
I think this is a really nice work even if I’m not entirely pleased with exactly how everything is mentioned. I received this as a poster at An Event Apart SF 2012, and when presented as a poster I don’t mind that it’s not an interactive application. It’s a lot of information, and poster form is great for that. I found some small errors (or what I think are errors): 1997: An open double quotation mark is missing before the word Jscript 1998: Change one occurrence of "open source" to "open-source" 1998: Remove one extra space character between the words Netscape and Navigator 2004: This should say Macromedia Flash instead of Adobe Flash since Adobe purchased Macromedia in 2005 There are many straight quote marks that should be curly instead. Examples: "By year's end" in 2004 "Shea's" in 2004 "good design" in 2004 "it's not dead yet" in 2010-2011 Thanks, AEA and Vitamin T! It’s not perfect, but I appreciate the effort and could not have done a better job myself. Now to frame it for my wall at work...
Frank Farm, Fri., November 16, 12:06 AM
Frank - thanks for the constructive, and incredibly nice, feedback . Yes, we've learned even with all the incredibly smart people we got to work on this, there are still errors. I'd love to take you comments and roll them into v2 if we do one. Good luck on the framing - send pictures!
Tim Donnelly, Fri., November 16, 11:54 AM
The viewer in which it opens is a usability nightmare, so many conflated drag/pan functionalities that it's easy to activate the wrong one, and yet mouse wheel scrolling is not supported and it's impossible to save the image to view in a different program.... Can we get a link to the image itself.
Tom, Wed., February 27, 7:37 PM
Hi Tom – thanks for weighing in on your experience. Sorry you're struggling with it. We use Zoomify (http://www.zoomify.com/) as the technology for sharing these, and honestly, we haven't had anyone say they had a poor experience with it (and we've got tens of thousands of views on it). Here's an image that Webappers put together that you may like better: http://www.webappers.com/img/2011/10/web-standards.jpg And we'll definitely have another look at Zoomify to see if others find it as difficult to use. Thanks!
Tim Donnelly, Thu., February 28, 1:54 PM

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