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RE: Validation as test for basic accessibility

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-hwg@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2000 12:12:50 -0800
Message-Id: <>
To: <webmaster@dors.sailorsite.net>
Cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>, "Steven McCaffrey" <smccaffr@MAIL.NYSED.GOV>
At 06:12 AM 1/19/2000 , Bruce Bailey wrote:
>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. 

Okay, several comments:

(1) There is a strong -correlation- between producing valid code and
     producing accessible sites.  However, that is not a directional
     correlation, but rather a reflection of the individual involved
     and that person's mindset towards web design.

     In other words, people who are likely to care about valid code
     are also likely to care about web accessibility, because they
     understand the concepts of interoperability and platform
     independence that are at the core of both accessibility and

     In other words, someone being concerned about accessibility and
     validity is like someone being concerned about both (a) eating
     a healthy diet and (b) getting plenty of exercise.  The end
     result is a better page or a better body, but they're not the
     same thing.  You don't have to get plenty of exercise in order
     to eat a healthy diet.

(2) Using valid HTML is a priority 2 checkpoint because it's not
     required to use valid HTML in order to maintain accessibility.
     For example, if I have a perfectly accessible page which is
     valid HTML, and I throw in an unsupported component -- say, I
     put a LONGDESC attribute for the image I'm using as a submit
     button in the INPUT tag -- I have not necessarily damaged the
     accessibility even though my page is no longer valid HTML

     In fact, one could argue that such a "breaking" of validity
     may serve to be a -good- thing for accessibility!  I've just
     made information available that a particularly smart user
     agent -- which thinks the same way as me -- could use in order
     to provide information that is not allowed under HTML 4.01!

     So, while valid HTML does have a positive effect on accessibility
     and thus deserves a P2, it doesn't deserve a P2 because you
     can't say that invalid pages are automatically going to be
     inaccessible to any particular group.

(3) You haven't found sites that are inaccessible but valid for the
     reason described in (1) -- if someone is going to eat a healthy
     diet, she's probably also going to do some exercise.  There are
     probably some people who don't do both; these people are either
     lazy or ignorant. ;)


Kynn Bartlett                                    mailto:kynn@hwg.org
President, HTML Writers Guild                    http://www.hwg.org/
AWARE Center Director                          http://aware.hwg.org/
Received on Wednesday, 19 January 2000 15:36:49 UTC

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