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RE: Validity

From: Bob Regan <bregan@macromedia.com>
Date: Fri, 4 Nov 2005 06:59:51 -0800
Message-ID: <DC9D05204B1E16419D62C12561C93221063B68C7@p01exm01.macromedia.com>
To: "Gez Lemon" <gez.lemon@gmail.com>, "Andrew Kirkpatrick" <akirkpatrick@macromedia.com>, "WCAG WG mailing list" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

Hi there, 

This is an old debate that we have had in detail before in multiple
working groups. 

The point here is that there are times where we all assume the vendors
on all sides are working in perfect harmony with the specification, OS,
Tool maker and AT. 

The specific reference here is related to use of <embed> with Flash.
Recently, there has been activity around creating code that embeds Flash
content in a page that follows standards. From a validity standpoint, it
works great. However, there is a negative consequence here, this valid
markup renders the Flash content inaccessible using that screen reader.
After a few chats with the AT maker, it is clear that a simple fix is
not forthcoming.  

This creates a situation where the author must choose, accessibility
versus validity. From Macromedia's standpoint, it would be terrific if
the issue did not exist. However, it does.

It is interesting that Makoto raises the issue of practicality on the
same day that this old debate has resurfaced. This is precisely the
issue here. When we looked at this issue for the current release, I
advocated on behalf of the use of embed because to change our default
techniques would have a very negative consequence for people with


bob regan | macromedia | 415.832.5305

-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org] On
Behalf Of Gez Lemon
Sent: Friday, November 04, 2005 6:46 AM
To: Andrew Kirkpatrick
Cc: WCAG WG mailing list
Subject: Re: Validity

HI Andrew,

On 04/11/05, Andrew Kirkpatrick <akirkpatrick@macromedia.com> wrote:
> The assumption here is the the assistive technologies actually use the
> code.

That wasn't my assumption, although I will admit I had assumed that
our guidelines weren't based on Microsoft's accessibility
architecture. There is no way to assume a useful DOM if the markup
isn't valid.

> Not all validation errors are of the same level of importance to
> accessibility.  We have specific guidelines and techniques for
> errors, but most validation errors are insignificant.  I've seen pages
> with hundreds of accessibility issues that actual users find quite
> accessible and useable.

Are you sure the guidelines capture every validity error that might
result in an accessibility barrier? How can we be sure we have all
bases covered? Is it not simpler to merely require validity?

More to the point, what exactly is the problem with validity? As so
many people feel quite passionately that validity will kill the
guidelines, although there's no evidence of this as it's in WCAG 1.0,
I feel I'm missing some fundamental point. Thrashing out which
validity errors cause accessibility barriers and those that don't
isn't getting us very far, and is probably the reason this guideline
is nowhere near ready.

Best regards,


Supplement your vitamins
Received on Friday, 4 November 2005 15:00:25 UTC

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