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iPad ready? How about just Valid Web Standards ready!

Validating The Top 50 Websites of 2009

Apple revealed an iPad ready webpage today. A list of websites that support the latest web standards, including HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript. This is kind of an "in-your-face" to Adobe and it's flagship Flash product. If you're not familiar with the Apple HTML5 and Adobe Flash war, do a search for "Apple snubs Adobe Flash" on Google, you should get brought up to speed fairly quickly.

After looking over the list, I began to wonder about how many of the top sites are actually standards compliant. What I found was a little shocking. Now before you continue, please keep in mind that this is by no means a true scientific study. The colors used in the table don't take into account minor vs. major errors. I only checked the front page, so its possible that the inner pages are 100% compliant. I visually checked to see if a page had any Flash, Silverlight or HTML5 embedded on it. This really doesn't tell you if the site is completely created with these technologies or just using them somewhere on the page.

The following is a the list of Time Magazine's 50 Best Websites of 2009. I supplied each web address to the W3C HTML Validator and the W3C CSS Validator and noted the HTML & CSS versions and noted the any errors.

2009 Validated List

No.NameHTML VersionHTML ErrorsCSS VersionCSS ErrorsFlash/SL UsedHTML5 Used
1FlickrHTML 4.01 Strict38 ErrorsCSS level 2.130 Errors--
2California CoastlineHTML 4.01 Transitional15 ErrorsCSS level 2.1Valid--
3DeliciousHTML 4.01 Strict19 ErrorsCSS level 2.1383 Errors--
4MetafilterHTML 4.0 Transitional57 ErrorsCSS level 2.110 Errors--
5PopURLsXHTML 1.0 Transitional12 ErrorsCSS level 2.1Valid--
6TwitterXHTML 1.0 Strict65 ErrorsCSS level 2.1209 Errors--
7SkypeXHTML 1.0 Strict5 ErrorsCSS level 2.193 ErrorsYes-
8Boing BoingHTML 4.01 Transitional193 ErrorsCSS level 2.120 ErrorsYes-
9Academic EarthXHTML 1.0 Transitional9 ErrorsCSS level 2.123 ErrorsYes-
10OpenTableXHTML 1.0 Transitional1294 ErrorsCSS level 2.1Valid--
11GoogleHTML541 ErrorsCSS level 2.11 Errors--
12YouTubeHTML5257 ErrorsCSS level 2.11 ErrorsYesYes
13Wolfram|AlphaXHTML 1.0 Strict24 ErrorsCSS level 2.117 Errors--
14HuluXHTML 1.0 Transitional59 ErrorsCSS level 2.1212 ErrorsYes-
15VimeoXHTML 1.0 Strict118 ErrorsCSS level 2.164 ErrorsYesYes
16FORA.tvXHTML 1.0 Transitional187 ErrorsCSS level 2.1ValidYes-
17CraiglookHTML 4.01 Transitional14 ErrorsCSS level 2.1175 Errors--
18Shop GoodwillXHTML 1.1145 ErrorsCSS level 2.1Valid--
19AmazonHTML 4.01 Transitional1162 ErrorsCSS level 2.128 Errors--
20KayakXHTML 1.0 Transitional219 ErrorsCSS level 2.1112 ErrorsYes-
21NetflixHTML 4.01 Transitional7 ErrorsCSS level 2.11 ErrorsYes-
22EtsyHTML526 ErrorsCSS level 2.130 ErrorsYes-
23PropertyShark.comXHTML 1.0 Transitional9 ErrorsCSS level 2.124 Errors--
24RedfinHTML 4.01 Transitional3 ErrorsCSS level 2.11 Errors--
25WikipediaHTML5ValidCSS level 2.14 Errors--
26Internet ArchiveXHTML 1.0 Strict78 ErrorsCSS level 2.168 Errors--
27KivaHTML 4.01 Transitional102 ErrorsCSS level 2.137 Errors--
28ConsumerSearchXHTML 1.0 Strict61 ErrorsCSS level 2.160 ErrorsYes-
29MetacriticXHTML 1.0 Transitional399 ErrorsCSS level 2.17 ErrorsYes-
30PollsterXHTML 1.0 Strict298 ErrorsCSS level 2.17 ErrorsYes-
31FacebookXHTML 1.0 Strict41 ErrorsCSS level 2.1236 Errors--
32Last.fmHTML523 ErrorsCSS level 2.1273 Errors--
32PandoraHTML 4.01 Transitional65 ErrorsCSS level 2.15 ErrorsYes-
33MusicoveryXHTML 1.0 Transitional159 ErrorsCSS level 2.1ValidYes-
34SpotifyXHTML 1.0 TransitionalValidCSS level 2.152 Errors--
35SupercookHTML 4.01 Transitional9 ErrorsCSS level 2.1ValidYes-
36YelpHTML 4.01 Strict23 ErrorsCSS level 2.129 Errors--
37Visu WordsXHTML 1.0 Transitional137 ErrorsCSS level 2.15 ErrorsYes-
38CouchSurfingHTML 4.01 Transitional105 ErrorsCSS level 2.1159 Errors--'s NameVoyagerXHTML 1.0 Strict116 ErrorsCSS level 2.113 ErrorsYes-
40MintXHTML 1.0 Strict80 ErrorsCSS level 2.116 Errors--
41TripItXHTML 1.150 ErrorsCSS level 2.1183 Errors--
42AardvarkHTML52 ErrorsCSS level 2.1209 Errors--
43drop.ioXHTML 1.0 Transitional26 ErrorsCSS level 2.130 ErrorsYes-
44IssuuHTML 4.01 Strict2 ErrorsCSS level 2.17 Errors--
45PhotosynthXHTML 1.0 Transitional112 ErrorsCSS level 2.15 Errors--
46OMGPOPXHTML 1.0 Transitional38 ErrorsCSS level 2.15 ErrorsYes-
47WorldWide TelescopeXHTML 1.0 Transitional40 ErrorsCSS level 2.12 Errors--
48FonoloXHTML 1.0 TransitionalValidCSS level 2.1Valid--
49Get High NowXHTML 1.0 Transitional12 ErrorsCSS level 2.15 Errors--
50Know Your MemeXHTML 1.0 Transitional22 ErrorsCSS level 2.149 Errors--

I was happy to see that six out of the fifty sites were using the new HTML5 Spec. But what was really kind of shocking, is that only one site (Fonolo) validated perfectly and if you ignore the CSS validation, only three sites passed the HTML validation!

So what does this all mean? I'm not sure. My best guess is that the content management system these sites are using are generating invalid code. When you have a large site, it's understandably difficult to create a CMS that's easy enough for your content entry folks to use, but that generates valid code. At least this has been my experience.

Not sure if this table really means all that much, but I had never seen anything like this before, so I decided to create it. Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts.