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syntactic and structural orthodoxy

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@access.digex.net>
Date: Sat, 18 Apr 1998 17:22:20 -0400 (EDT)
Message-Id: <199804182122.RAA17915@access4.digex.net>
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
> commenting on http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/WD-WAI-PAGEAUTH-0414.html
>           
>      _________________________________________________________________
>    
> 1. Style and Structure
> 
>     1. [Required]
>          Use elements and attributes that comply with an HTML 4.0
>        Document Type Definition (DTD) and CSS-1.
>        The W3C offers an HTML validation service at
>        [35]http://validator.w3.org/ that can be used to determine if a
>        site complies with one of the HTML 4.0 Document Type Definitions
>        (there are three: strict, transitional, and frameset - see the
>        validation service for more information).  It is  recommended, but
>        not currently required, that pages comply with the strict
>        definition.
>     3. [Required]
>          Nest headings properly.
>        Since some users skim through a document by navigating its
>        headings, it is important to increment heading levels correctly
>        (H1 followed by H2, rather than H1 followed by H3). Headings used
>        for other purposes, such as formatting text in a larger font size,
>        may disorient users; use style sheets for formatting. Note.  See
>        items 9 and 10 in this section.
>     4. [Required]
>          Encode list structure and list items properly.
>        The HTML list elements (DL, UL, OL, LI) should only be used to
>        create lists.   Avoid using list elements for presentation effects
>        such as  indentation.
>        [New] Use style sheets rather than HTML attributes to control item
>        spacing. Note. See item 7 in this section.

ASG::

I have difficulty understanding the "required" rating of these
three.

The first one is too broad to be all required.  Suppose someone
uses HTML 3.0 <UL PLAIN>.  Who is going to find that page
inaccessible as a result?  Yes, we want to _recommend_ that
people use the W3C Recommendation for HTML.  But it is hard to
defend the choice of HTML 4 specifically as a make-or-break
threshold.

Having headers skip levels, or building a single element list, is
not necessarily improper, at least as I see it.  Calling this
improper is taking a somewhat narrow view of document structure.
Rating these rules as "required" says that if these rules are
broken, somebody's ability to access the page _will be broken_.
Can we really make that argument in this case?

Al
Received on Saturday, 18 April 1998 17:26:26 GMT

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