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RE: Validity

From: Bob Regan <bregan@macromedia.com>
Date: Fri, 4 Nov 2005 14:37:10 -0800
Message-ID: <DC9D05204B1E16419D62C12561C93221063B7406@p01exm01.macromedia.com>
To: "Bailey, Bruce" <Bruce.Bailey@ed.gov>, "WCAG WG mailing list" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

Hi there, 

Thanks for the note Bruce. I think there is still a serious issue here
that needs to be addressed, but let me see if I can reply to your

> Do you not agree that WCAG2, because of its incorporation of the
> of baseline, offers an excellent opportunity to promote the use of

My goal here is not to promote the use of Flash. This is an old argument
that I first got involved with in ATAG. Roberto and I have been going
back and forth on this one for months. If we continue to present it as a
Flash issue, we will never achieve resolution. I don't mean to be abrupt
and apologies if that is what I am doing (I will call upon your good
nature here Bruce). The issue is how we expect authors to handle
interoperability issues. 

> As someone with a computer science background, I perceive a deep
> fundamental flaw with a set of standards that proposes to use the
> concept but rejects fully embracing basic syntax checking available
> the core technologies.  I am incredulous really, and having worked in
> government for as long as I have, I have seen my share of absurdity!

I don't think these are mutually exclusive goals. Syntax checking can
note exceptions as easily as it can note as easily as violations. What
is important is a thoughtful approach to the application of that syntax.

> Also understood, but is not the actual problem with the browser (i.e.,
> IE)?  I cannot understand how, except for the misbehavior of an
> Brower, that EMBED versus OBJECT should make a bit of difference for
> plug-in nor the AT.  But maybe I am mistaken about that?  Please
> me if I am wrong about that.

It is my understanding this the issue in this case is specific to JAWS.
It works with Window Eyes. More generally, your comment raises the
general challenge that authors face in sorting out these kinds of

> You and I, and I am sure many on the list here, have also discussed
> sometimes there is a disconnect between compliance with accessibility
> standards, and actually something being accessible (that is, actually
> compatible with the AT, and fully useable).  That is *okay* because
> value of good stable standards for content authors is worth more than
> transitory and fragile accessibility.

I agree to the extent that the usability is dependent on accessibility.
Validity does not always enhance accessibility and vice versa. 

> Easy pickings:  choose validity.  

Respectfully, I think we need to agree to disagree here. I think there
are who classes of techniques whereby validity may someday lead to
accessibility, but for now remain on the far off horizon. As you rightly
point out, we see these issues all the time. The pace of development is
quickening, not slowing and AT companies face ever increasing challenge
of keeping up. If we only recently see fundamental support for things
like colspan and scope in HTML, when will we see the myriad issues in
CSS, DOM, SVG, and so on? I appreciate the idea that we have to incent
the market to make these changes. However, it does not change the
fundamental resource constraints within the industry. 

> Agreed, but if WAI caves on this issue, there is no reason to believe
> the issue will ever be fixed.

How did the issues you mentioned with table get fixed? Not to be trite,
but there are presumably usability enhancements associated with things
working as mandated by the standard over how they work as a noted
exception. The default should be validity. I have no issue with that.
However, a thoughtful approach to exceptions is needed if validity
actually prevents an author from going above and beyond the

Rules that are rigidly applied to all can't allow for thoughtful
professionals to address the unexpected. 


bob regan | macromedia | 415.832.5305
Received on Friday, 4 November 2005 22:36:41 UTC

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