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Re: Validation as test for basic accessibility

From: Matt May <mcmay@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 15 Jun 2005 09:00:22 -0700
Message-ID: <42B05096.3060703@w3.org>
To: "Bailey, Bruce" <Bruce.Bailey@ed.gov>
Cc: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org

Bailey, Bruce wrote:

>Understood, but I cannot think of any single item that would have more far reaching impact than raising validity to the P1 level.
>  
>

For accessibility? How do you figure? I'd go with "Provide text 
alternatives for non-text content" myself.

>>Invalid code is highly correlated with inaccessible HTML
>>    
>>
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>Five years later it is still apparently impossible to find a non-trivial formally valid site that isn't WCAG1 Single A conformant.  Does anyone care to argue that, in actual practice, the one-way correlation between validity and accessibility is less than 99.9%?
>  
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Yes. The notion is absurd. I've seen some of the best designers out 
there make the statement that validity equals accessibility, and each 
time, they've taken heat for it _from their own community_.

It's not the product that makes valid code also accessible, it's the 
_practice_. Accessibility is not a subset of validity, just a related 
property. My cat has stripes, but that doesn't make him a tiger. Both 
accessibility and validity are indicators of higher-order proficiency on 
the part of the developer. Now, I could easily find you highly 
accessible invalid documents, and completely accessible documents, but 
it would get boring quickly. Maybe I should start with the Department of 
Education homepage?

The DRC report from late last year said that 81% of their sample of UK 
sites failed WCAG 1.0 level A. They can't all be invalid. And I think 
that if you dig through the data, you'll find that what I said 
originally is true: valid sites are generally more accessible, but 
validity does not cause accessibility by any stretch.

>Allow me to be US-centric for a moment.  WCAG1 P1 strongly influenced the Section 508 Accessibility Standards.  The 508 Standards are well overdue for updating.  It stands to reason that WCAG2 P1 will strongly influence any revision to the 508 Standards.  Taking the safe^D^D^D^D cowardly route for the guidelines is likely to doom the government requirements which will follow to a similar level of mediocrity.
>  
>

I think that the US government itself has enough trouble keeping 
documents valid that a validity requirement would be the first thing 
taken out.

-
m
Received on Wednesday, 15 June 2005 16:00:25 UTC

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