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RE: Summary of arguments FOR validity -- and another against -- and a third of alternatives

From: Bailey, Bruce <Bruce.Bailey@ed.gov>
Date: Mon, 7 Nov 2005 09:08:24 -0500
Message-ID: <CCDBDCBFA650F74AA88830D4BACDBAB50AED2F2B@wdcrobe2m02.ed.gov>
To: "WCAG2 list" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

> Anyone - any others?

These are not my reasons, just my attempt to list (not justify) others that have been implied.  Listed in no particular order.  My regrets that there is some overlap with Gez's list, I a gave myself a 9:00 am EST deadline, and don't have time to pare this down more.

> Can someone give me a list of the arguments FOR including validity.   
> The list should be one sentence summaries of each issue

Mandatory accessibility is inevitably delegated to unmotivated institutions.  Validity, more than any other criteria that impacts accessibility, is robustly resistance to casual implementation.

Using the concept of baseline technology requires that basic syntax checking be used when available.

With regards to validity, the difference between a Level 1 and 2 success criteria comes down to parsing the difference between "minimum" and "enhanced".  Well-formedness is minimum, strict validity is enhanced.  But the former concept doesn't exist in the HTML specification, so in order to get what is required validity must fill in.

The absolute requirement for valid code gives both content authors and AT software developers a stable middle ground to work towards.

Valid code is much easier to evaluate against accessibility standards.  Valid code is also much easier for AT developers to work with.  These two niche markets will have dramatic benefits to widespread validity, which in turn cascades to PWDs.

The authors and testers of accessible have too many variables to contend with:  OS / browser / plug-in / AT -- including multiple versions and platforms for each.  Eliminating one variable (the tolerance of code soup) has huge positive ramifications for these two groups.

Mathematically speaking, the permutations regarding how code can be broken is insurmountable in human terms.  The additional interaction of OS / browser / plug-in / AT that are constantly changing (hopefully improving) make the combination infinite (or at least a very, very big number that is hard to calculate).

There is the tradition and implicit idea Level 1 criteria be invisible (that is, not effect the authors preferred default visual rendering).  Validity satisfies this.

There is the tradition and implicit idea Level 1 criteria be machine testable.  Validity satisfies this.

There is the tradition and implicit idea Level 1 criteria be practical (or not too much work).  There are numerous sites that routinely use valid code, so the practicality of valid has already been satisfied.

The one-way mathematical statistically correlation between sites that take validation seriously to those that are minimally accessible (compliant with WCAG1 Single A or 508 1194.22) is too overwhelming to be explained away by the theories offered.

The categorization of validity as a Level 2 success criteria is more harmful than including it at all, therefore it should be at Level 1.

The W3C has been remarkably supportive to accessibility with regard to their other standards.  This is the chance for WAI to give something back.

The Return On Investment for validity as Level 1 will far exceed the short term costs (in time and money).

The institutionalize of validity will inevitably result in mainstream authoring tools improving their tools.

Broken code disproportionately effects assistive technology users more so than mainstream browsers.  The change in process to routinely produce valid code is expensive, but will benefit PWDs more than the mainstream.

The evidence of the last ten years is that if validity is not mandated it will not become widespread, even if it makes the Web a better place for everyone (not just PWDs) and has a good demonstrated ROI.  There is no reason to expect a better opportunity to promote validity for another ten years.

If we under reach, WCAG2 will have far less impact than it could.  Mr. Peabody:  "Sherman, set the Wayback Machine for 1999.  Let's imagine what the Web would look like today if WCAG1 3.2 was P1!"

Our standardista overlords demand that we promote validity.  They will mock us if we don't.

The tally of reasons why validity should be Level 1 is a bigger number than the integer number of reasons against.  Can we not just decide by count?


> Now I need someone (else?) to send one of the arguments against.
> Same Rules

Since validity doesn't guarantee accessibility, it can't possibly be Level 1.  (Please overlook that this precept can be applied to most of the other Level 1 criteria, which are also subject to abuse.)

Validity will be difficult in practice in the short term, at least until widespread mainstream tools facilitated it.

The categorization of validity as a Level 2 success criteria is more harmful than including it at all, and we are not willing to classify it at Level 1, therefore it should not be explicitly included at all.

Institutionalize validity is likely to reduce the market for niche disability-oriented businesses.  We like those folks, and would hate to see the economic marketplace become more difficult for them.

"They gave us ramps already, what more do you want?  Don't you know your place?  Sure, the pot holes are a problem, but they effect the walkers too.  So what if they take longer to drive around than step over?  My wheelchair has good shocks.  Besides, the aren't the walkers all buying Seqways?  Eventually they will get around to fixing the potholes, they are so ugly they must see them."

It is going to be very difficult to convey why validity is so important to PWDs.  It would be so much easier not to try.

In aggregate, widespread validity does more good to the mainstream than those with disabilities.

If we overreach, WCAG2 might become irrelevant.  Mr. Peabody:  "Omygod Sherman!  Validity killed 508!"

Our corporate overlords demand that suppress the requirement for validly.  They will withhold money if we don't.


> Now if someone can summarize any alternatives or variations

Validity at Level 1.

Validity at Level 1 with instance-oriented possibility for disclaimer.

Define well-formedness for HTML and have it at Level 1.  Sanctioned automated testing tools would have to be made available for this IMMEDIATELY.

Delegate decision to party acceptable to both sides.

A painful delay while we attempt to reach consensus and/or conduct research.

Omit validity entirely from success criteria.
Received on Monday, 7 November 2005 14:08:31 GMT

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