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RE: Validation as test for basic accessibility

From: Bruce Bailey <bbailey@clark.net>
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2000 09:12:21 -0500
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Cc: <kynn-hwg@idyllmtn.com>, "Steven McCaffrey" <smccaffr@MAIL.NYSED.GOV>
Message-ID: <000401bf6287$33cad0e0$1aac66a7@151877>
Dear Steve,

1.  By "higher profile" I mean a larger site with a URL of the type that has
good face validity.  I am not interested in, for example, some teenager's
fan page on GeoCities!

2.  I have not performed any analysis.  I have come across many pages that
were accessible, but not valid.  They are not hard to find, just follow the
links from the "Bobby Approved" database at CAST.  Kynn provides succinct
examples that valid html 4 code fragments can have significant accessibility
problems.  He did not even include multimedia which, if not captioned, is
not accessible -- validation does not go anywhere near that one.

My own personal experience is that producing valid code is an invaluable
step towards producing accessible code.  From talking with others, I
understand that this is popular technique, even if valid code, per se, is
only a P2 checkpoint.  I have been looking, for some time now, for pages
that validate but are NOT accessible.  I have not come across any.  I would
like to know if my personal experience is representative of the current
"state of the web".  It is my impression that authors who care about
validity care about content and much less about presentation, and therefore
they don't bother with multimedia nor fancy CSS -- so it happens that their
pages ARE accessible, even if they did not work to achieve this.

Steve, my impression is that you are in a position of policy implementation.
Is this correct?  Would it not be MUCH easier to have a rule like:
"You will publish only code that validates as HTML 4 (or latter)"; than
"You will publish only code that meets the P1 checkpoints of the WCAG"?

I am thinking about consequent need of such a policy in terms of:
1)  Getting authors to "buy into" the rule being fair and important and
2)  Providing authors the resources to adhere to the rule;
3)  Monitoring adherence to the rule by time-deprived / resource-strapped
third parties.

Steve, and others in positions of enforcement, what do you think of this?

-- Bruce

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Steven McCaffrey [mailto:smccaffr@MAIL.NYSED.GOV]
> Sent: Wednesday, January 19, 2000 7:41 AM
> To: bbailey@clark.net; webmaster@dors.sailorsite.net;
> kynn-hwg@idyllmtn.com
> Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
> Subject: Re: Validation as test for basic accessibility
> Hello:
> Bruce,
> 1.what are examples of "higher profile sites?"?
> 2.  You say
> "
>  You are quite correct that there is no causal relationship
> between valid HTML 4 and a documents status as being accessible."
> You must have performed an analysis on a representative sample to
> make this statement.
> Please post that  list you used to this list and show me it was
> in fact representative, easy to do since you've already done the
> correlation analysis.
> -Steve
> Steve McCaffrey
> Information Technology Services
> New York State Department of Education
Received on Wednesday, 19 January 2000 09:14:25 UTC

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