Written By: Kim Stuart
The internet is a great place; everything you could ever need to know is available with the click of a mouse. But online navigation wasn’t always as simple as it is today. Back in the days of Netscape and Internet Explorer, the online world that you experienced depended heavily on what your browser of choice was: there was no consistency among platforms.
This year, web developers around the world will be donning blue hats in support of the creation and upkeep of web standards. On November 30, the thirteenth annual Blue Beanie day will serve as a reminder of how far the web has come since its inception. Under the hashtag #BlueBeanieDay, you can find selfies of web developers from across the world featuring the iconic blue beanie.
But why a blue beanie? This hat is a reference to the 2003 cover of Designing with Web Standards, the ‘Bible’ of web design. The author of this book, Jeffrey Zeldman, is depicted on the cover wearing a blue beanie. Zeldman is also the co-founder of the Web Standards Project and has been a pioneer to accessibility standards on the web.
Despite the accomplishments the internet has made so far, the battle for web standards isn’t over yet. “#a11y” is the hashtag developed by Jeffrey Zeldman to show support for the improvement of accessibility across all sites. According to Zeldman, “#a11y is code for ‘Love your neighbor.’” Accessibility and usability are essential in making the internet a truly open space for all. Blue Beanie Day encourages web developers to go above and beyond the standard guidelines for accessibility and create sites that are welcoming to all, regardless of ability.
“I think it is important to be mindful of everyone when building a website,” said Web Team member Christian DeSilva. “The internet is a place for everyone, and web standards and accessibility make sure that’s possible.”
We’ve come so far since the days before web standards and it’s important to take a moment to recognize the steps we’ve taken, but we must also recognize the ones we have yet to take. Blue Beanie day serves as a reminder of our past and a symbol for our future: an online world for all.