I have been documenting some coding best-practices to be followed by web programmers I work with. Two of the best resources on HTML accessibility that I have come across so far are:
By way of an article at The Web Standards Project, I came across a good piece by Douglas Bowman, which he presented at Digital Design World, called "Throwing Tables Out the Window."
In it he walks through the benefits of redesigning the presentation layer of a corporate web site (in this case, Microsoft.com), and not only successfully argues the time savings for developers who code to W3C standards, but also gives a quantitative analysis of bandwidth savings from the redesign: an estimated 924 GB in bandwidth savings per day. In Microsoft’s case, the design-time savings would be even more significant, as the site serves different versions of pages depending on whether you are using IE with Windows or not.
Pay attention to what he is saying. I have had a similar experience (though not nearly on that scale) with a local non-profit organization. After using their web site, I volunteered to make some improvements, as I found the HTML to be convoluted, and usability and consistency were nearly non-existent. By removing most of the font tags, applying a more correct document structure with header tags, and creating a simple style sheet, I was able to reduce the file size of most of the site pages by as much as 80%. (I would estimate an average 60% savings in file size across the site.)
These are extreme examples, but bloated code is prevalent across the internet. If we can write our code properly up front, we can optimize download and render times, and make our code more maintainable.