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Re: Validity

From: Maurizio Boscarol <maurizio@usabile.it>
Date: Fri, 04 Nov 2005 13:47:11 +0100
Message-ID: <436B584F.1040702@usabile.it>
To: Gez Lemon <gez.lemon@gmail.com>, WCAG WG mailing list <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>


Gez Lemon wrote:

>The arguments put forwards against validity (from the
>face-to-face meeting in Seattle) can be summarised as:
>1: Validity isn't essential for accessibility

And this is the most important fact.

>4: Legislation could result in people being prosecuted for invalid markup

And, since it isn't essential for accessibility, it isn't a good thing. 
Stop and go. This is my only concern. If wcag would only be technical 
recomandation, I'd understand. But they are and will be the basis for 
national legislation: in that case many factor needs to be considered. 
And only what is proven to be *essential* should be considered essential 
for accessibility.

>Point 1 is concerning, particularly considering that level 1 issues
>tend to be about ensuring that content is understandable by assistive
>technology. If content is invalid, I don't understand how it could be
>testable that assistive technology is able to make sense of the

It' simple. Real case. You take an assistive technology and an invalid 
page, and test. Most of times, you find that a number of invalidity 
issues won't result in assistive technologies impossibility of  copying 
with content, and understand that in those cases validity isn't 
essential. That's really all: observe reality.

>If something is intended to be machine readable then validity
>is obviously important, as it needs to be read by software
>unambiguously. In simple terms, validity is important for assistive

Observe reality: assistive technologies has been developed in a very 
ambiguos code situation. And they work anyway. Some cases a border 
attribute or a cols attribute isn't very important to accessibility. But 
in a law they would be prosecuted the same way of tag-soup.

Then, a certain level of ambiguity can also be tolerated by user. It's 
not a matter of accessibility, but of good understanding or usability. 
And the natural language used in page is *far more important*, and a 
more basic issue, than code validation.
We should ignore that just because natural language isn't 
machine-testable like code validation?...

>Point 4 appears to be a serious issue. WCAG 1.0 has required that
>validity be addressed at priority 2 (level 2) since 1999; has anyone
>heard of any organisation being sued (or threatened with any kind of
>legislation) because their content was invalid? If not, is this really
>the issue we think it is?

It's a strange argument: we had the first law that include validation 
active in Italy from august 23th of current year (concerning public 
sites). Then we have to wait for the first works to be done with that 
law being active (never heard of one commercial agreement signed after 
that date: everyone is just waiting someone doing the first step...). 
Than we have to wait for the first dispute. Than we could verify if and 
how someone will be sued.

In this respectable working-group is sitting someone that has been 
louding in Italy for two years that people that would eventually use 
invalid code would be heavily sued in the future! Why did they use that 
argument if this isn't a real risk? Maybe he/they were making a mistake, 
maybe not.

It's obvious that we still don't have a real case: we are waiting 
sitting on the river. Your reasoning doesn't take in account the timing 
of actual legislations. It isn't a counter-argument at all.

>Validity as a level 1 issue could only serve to encourage
>organisations to consider accessibility from the ground up.

This should be true if wcag would be only tech specification for the 
brave. Even then, I'd put validation out of the first level.

But EU are indicating wcag as the basis for national laws. This change a 
little bit our horizon, I think.

And, if validity is that important, why none is putting up a group or an 
initiative to convince CMS-maker to force validation from within their 
product? That would be far more useful than forcing people to validation 
with a lack of good enterprise-level tools. After all, WASP started 
convincing browser maker, then developers.

Why on the hell are we forcing the site-makers, without considering the 
actual state of tools they are forced to use? Let's convince the CMS 
producer, if we're able to! That's important to make a wannabe standard 
a supported standard! People who make sites uses tools, and tools have 
strong impact on validation. We need valid tools first!

Disclaimer: I have no personal interests in the topic, 'cause I'm not a 
producer of tools related to validation or html pages, and I'm not 
risking of being sued by national law. I'm just a consultant and a 
teacher. Worth mentioning, you never knows... ;-)

Received on Friday, 4 November 2005 12:34:43 UTC

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