A few comments on the comments:
First of all, despite my definition it seems that it’s not clear I’m talking about large *website creation* companies. Healthcare companies and multi-channel retailers are entirely different kinds of companies because they don’t make websites for others, they maintain their own. Web designers who work for them have serious problems, but they fall in Jeffrey’s category of invisible web workers, not in mine. These web workers are just not the subject of my article; they’ll have to wait for the results of the Web Design Survey.
John Young gives excellent advice on the companies’ pocketbook, but my plan was to make standards fashionable in management circles. As soon as something is in fashion, managers stop thinking about their pocketbook and start thinking about impressing their peers. Large companies have wasted enormous amounts of money on fashionable nonsense, and if we can harness that mechanism for the standards movement, we don’t have to talk about financial matters (at least, not at first).
Besides, I don’t like the psychological part of this solution. If we’d talk about pocketbooks, we web developers would unconsciously assume a humble, begging stance, instead of a proud “we know better than you” attitude. I feel that we need to assume this attitude; it makes more of an impression on managers than talking about finance, which we don’t know much about in the first place.
We have to make managers react to us and speak our language; not the reverse. How? By making our language fashionable.
I fully agree with Peter Uzzi that education is tremendously important, but it is not the subject of my article, either. Besides, as soon as enough large companies demand web standards, universities will start to change, too (slowly, yes, but surely).
“We [put the information out there] because we LOVE it. That’s reason enough. The rest will take care of itself.”
True, but is it enough? Recently I’m starting to doubt whether the standards movement in its current form will reach much beyond its current audience; that’s why I wrote this article.
That’s not to say we should abandon the old strategy; far from it. The old strategy will continue to serve us well, and the mechanism Amber describes will remain valid. We just need an extra component.