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Re: Summary of arguements FOR validity -- and another against -- and a third of alternatives

From: Matt May <mcmay@bestkungfu.com>
Date: Fri, 4 Nov 2005 17:48:55 -0800
Message-Id: <E4B8232B-28FF-4C78-AE58-190172B46134@bestkungfu.com>
To: WAI WCAG List <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

So as not to introduce bias, I will only attempt to answer the  
arguments against validity at Level 1.

On Nov 4, 2005, at 1:59 PM, Gregg Vanderheiden wrote:
2) Now I need someone (else?) to send one of the arguments against.


HTML validity cannot be established as a necessary minimum  
requirement for accessibility.

Many validity failures have no direct bearing on accessibility, or  
even any bearing whatsoever.

In some documented cases, attempting to hack invalid code so that it  
passes validation causes the code to be less accessible to AT.

The state of the Web:

Certain functions intended to increase direct accessibility with AT,  
including code designed by AT vendors themselves, are invalid, and  
there are no signs their use will recede in the foreseeable future.

The percentage of authoring tools (including content management  
systems) in today's market that reliably produce valid output at all  
times is well under half, and as older products are factored in, the  
figure approaches zero.

The production of valid HTML is not a common skill set among everyday  
developers, outside of a small group of skilled practicioners.

Validity is not a state commonly understood by non-technical  
producers of HTML, who number in the tens of millions.

It may never be possible to make some content valid, because the flaw  
is created by a tool or process that cannot be changed by the  
responsible party.


WAI and the WCAG WG produce recommendations for increasing  
accessibility to PWDs and are not, and must not be seen as, crusaders  
for or enforcers of other W3C specifications.

A minimum requirement of validity would consign a large proportion of  
accessibility repair work to tasks that may not, in the end, actually  
improve things for users.

A minimum requirement of validity would introduce a potentially  
enormous amount of time and expense to repair larger legacy sites,  
for an benefit that is hard to quantify, and therefore hard to justify.

Establishing a process for producing and maintaining valid content is  
a more effective tactic for increasing overall Web validity than  
specifying that the final outcome must be valid.

Received on Saturday, 5 November 2005 01:49:09 UTC

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