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RE: Template for Accessible Web Page

From: John Foliot - Stanford Online Accessibility Program <jfoliot@stanford.edu>
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2008 15:04:22 -0700
To: "'Matt Morgan-May'" <mattmay@adobe.com>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <00d401c88ec4$2eb46e50$913d42ab@stanford.edu>

Matt Morgan-May wrote:
> On 3/25/08 12:57 PM, "John Foliot - Stanford Online Accessibility
> Program" <jfoliot@stanford.edu> wrote: 

Remember, I started off writing:

>> As you know, there is accessible and then there is "compliant", and
>> often, in a world of required tick boxes, "compliant" is mandated.

...and then you snipped out the next line:
"I won't argue the merits of this perspective/methodology, as most of us
have been around long enough to be able to discuss the pros and cons of this
argument in our sleep"

>> However, WCAG 1, Priority 2, 3.2 clearly states: "Documents must
>> validate to published formal grammars". (...and that I type from
>> memory) 
>> 
>> If the template has a DTD (it does), then it should validate to that
>> DTD - period.  

To which you respond:

> Even then, validity itself is a best practice, not the sine qua non.

This is the crux of the disagreement:  I too am pragmatic, but if you are
_mandated_ to be WCAG AA (see: http://tinyurl.com/2c6xxo )then, you don't
get to pick and choose, you are either right or wrong: it's binary, not
gray.  I didn't write the rules, but if you're gonna play, you need to play
by the rules - is all.

Matt, this also needs to be taken in context - this is not a slam on
Dreamweaver, nor on a specific template, but rather a mind-set.  Templates
should be valid - period.  It isn't really that hard to do (you yourself
said that the latest Dreamweaver has "...over two dozen templates which are
not only valid, but come in your choice of HTML 4.01 or XHTML 1.0,
Transitional or Strict; XHTML 1.1; or XHTML Mobile 1.0.")

I took (and continue to take) exception to the fact that you dismiss "valid"
as nothing more than best practices: it isn't (according to WCAG 1), and
should not be classified as such, especially by an authorative voice such as
yours Matt.  

Recently there was a huge brouhaha over IE 8's Standards mode switch, a move
necessitated by all of the crud HTML out there generated over the years by
developers who didn't take "validation" seriously enough, and browsers that
shrugged, winked, and said that's OK... 

Funny though, the reaction from the developer community regarding the newly
improved IE8 "standards mode", and the proposed switch needed to activate it
was exactly the opposite to what Microsoft expected, to the point that they
actually reversed their decision earlier this month
[http://tinyurl.com/2th4jw]. Standards Mode? Validation?  All part of the
same parcel IMHO.  Supporting "quirks" mode requires overhead and extra code
in the browser code-base, and there is no need for it if everyone was more
cognitive and diligent in achieving validation - it's isn't rocket surgery
after all.

If more developers and development tools had taken "validation" seriously
back in 1999 (when the WCAG 1 was released) then perhaps Redmond would not
have had to stick handle that hot potato.  So validation might not be a Holy
Grail, but it is way more than just a "best practice" IMHO.

> And you've probably had as many arguments like this as I have, so now 
> I'll just leave it be.

Thread closed.

JF
Received on Tuesday, 25 March 2008 22:05:01 GMT

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