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Re: Should validity be P1 or P2? (was RE: summary of resolutions from last 2 days)

From: <Becky_Gibson@notesdev.ibm.com>
Date: Wed, 22 Jun 2005 14:54:26 -0400
To: Tina Holmboe <tina@greytower.net>
Cc: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org, w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org
Message-ID: <OFD9C02580.4F312628-ON85257028.00655BAC-85257028.00682FA3@notesdev.ibm.com>

<from my previous post>
> support new technologies. I am just against requiring it at level 1
> in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines since validation against
> a specification does not always improve accessibility and may inhibit
> innovation in the short term.

<tina asks>
  Could you please elaborate on that last point there? I'm afraid I am
  confused as to how ensuring the correct syntax can inhibit innovation?
</tina>

I've brought up the DHTML roadmap as an example. It creates widgets using 
JavaScript that can be negotiated with the keyboard arrow keys just like a 
client application.  The DHTML roadmap technology is based on XHTML and 
Lisa has pointed out that there is a way to extend the specifications for 
XHTML.  That is good and something that is being pursued.  But, I can also 
make this technology work in HTML. It relies on using tabindex on <div> 
and <span> tags to set focus programmatically to those elements.   In HTML 
4.01 the tabindex attribute is not valid on <div> and <span>. I consider 
these widgets "innovative" because they can be used to improve 
accessibility but, with a validation requirement at WCAG level 1 I could 
not claim conformance. 

I can also think of other web applications that use the tabindex attribute 
and JavaScript to set focus to certain HTML parts of the page.   For 
example, an application that hides or shows a certain part of the page 
based on a user selection.  Yes, I know that is a controversial behavior 
within this group but I can make such an application accessible and 
usable. 

I can live with validation at level 1 as long as I am given an "out" if I 
violate the specification for accessibility or usability reasons. But, I 
am concerned that the exception may provide a hole that can be used for 
the wrong reasons as well thus making it moot. 

Becky Gibson
Web Accessibility Architect
                                                       
IBM Emerging Internet Technologies
5 Technology Park Drive
Westford, MA 01886
Voice: 978 399-6101; t/l 333-6101
Email: gibsonb@us.ibm.com
Received on Wednesday, 22 June 2005 18:54:33 UTC

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