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RE: Validity

From: Bailey, Bruce <Bruce.Bailey@ed.gov>
Date: Sat, 5 Nov 2005 17:21:36 -0500
Message-ID: <CCDBDCBFA650F74AA88830D4BACDBAB50B2D4983@wdcrobe2m02.ed.gov>
To: "Paul Walsh" <paul.walsh@segalamtest.com>, <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Cc: "Matt May" <mcmay@bestkungfu.com>
> Validity does not equal accessibility.
> An accessible website can still contain invalid code.
> If nobody is contesting the above, and it’s possible to have an accessible site containing invalid code, how can you justify mandating code validity in an ‘accessibility’ initiative?

Pick one:
(1)  I am slow.
(2)  I am a pawn of the Illuminati who seek to promote validity for some mysterious but no doubt nefarious reason.
(3)  I sincerely believe I have deeper understanding of the implications that validity has for accessibility than those who arguing that leaving it as L2 is the better choice.

If the answer is (3) one could reasonably assume that my inability to articulate that conviction is the source of some personal frustration.  But that doesn’t mean I am wrong.

> If there are specific issues that cause specific errors, create specific guidelines to address them 

The specific issues caused by broken code can NOT be listed in any comprehensive fashion, especially by a static standards document.  They change with every new version of software.

> and stop trying to carpet bomb them with validity

Except that we know that validity will *help* a great, great deal.

> that is just to difficult and costly for the vast majority of large portals to address.

This is the same arguement we used to hear about why the Federal government could never address accessibility.  Validity, given the current state of the art, *can* be difficult and costly.  If validity were treated seriously by a large market segment, say the U.S. Government for example, those systemic problems would disappear relatively quickly.  We saw that happen with accessibility and 508.  The issue, for years and years, was perceived as being to difficult and costly.  Once the Federal government got serious about it, accessibility just became part of doing business.

> Otherwise you will alienate a large population where ‘valid’ code is just 
> not possible, yet accessibility is.

The majority of the population is comfortable with code soup, that will not change soon, not even if validity is elevated to L1 in WCAG2.  The people who are comfortable violating WCAG1 double A in the name of accessibility will be comfortable violating WCAG2 and are not likely to be alienated.  There will be a large population who is alienated if WAI doesn’t grow a backbone about this.

The elephant in the room is that WAI is, understandably, frightened of over reaching.  The code phrase for this is “being practical.”  I appreciate the fear, but I believe it is misplaced.  With the benefit of hindsight, who here thinks that if in 1999 validity (3.2) was P1, that WCAG1 would not have been as successful as it was?  Anyone?  Matt?

Then let us look what happened with 508:  For the most part, only the non-subjective P1 got adopted.  Well, WCAG1 3.2 is certainly not subjective!  Have you considered how much *better* (and by better I mean more accessible) the web would be *now* if the importance of validity was elevated six years ago?   I am hoping we don’t waste another six years waiting for WCAG3.
Received on Saturday, 5 November 2005 22:21:45 GMT

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