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Options and presentation of validator

From: Philip Chalmers <philipchalmers@blueyonder.co.uk>
Date: Wed, 24 Nov 2004 15:17:38 -0000
To: <www-validator@w3.org>
Message-ID: <MDBBKOOCNOOHCNBOMDIHGEHBCKAA.philipchalmers@blueyonder.co.uk>

Hi,

Some suggestions to maximise ease of use and provide a clear statement of
the options - to encourage more people to validate their mark-up, even those
who already think they are good at HTML / XHTML!

Some of my suggestions assume that the unpublished "direct input" option
(http://validator.w3.org/fragment-upload.html) will be released fairly soon.
It's the only way to validate dynamically-generated pages BEFORE they are
published.

I like the way your HTML / XHTML validator has the "upload" and "URL"
options on the same page. In the HTML / XHTML validator, could you:
*	add the "direct" option on the same page (http://validator.w3.org/).
*	add a mini-menu above all of the forms, e.g.

		You can validate your HTML by:
		.	entering a URL [link to URL form]
		.	uploading a fine from you computer
			[link to upload form]
		.	entering HTML directly
			[link to direct form]
			Entering HTML directly is most useful
			for checking dynamically-generated HTML

Your CSS validator (http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/) has a similar
layout.

I think that by maximising ease of use and providing a clear statement of
the options you will encourage more people to validate their mark-up - even
those who already think they are good at HTML / XHTML!

I think the top-of-page message should use normal font. On most computer
screens italics harder to read because the dot-pitch makes them look fuzzy.

Some thoughts about the introductory text (less important than the previous
suggestions):
*	It could be a little snappier, e.g. "The W3C Mark-up Validation Service
checks documents like HTML and XHTML for conformance to W3C Recommendations
and other standards - and it's free." (I'd delete "Welcome .." because it's
does nothing for the user, rather like the infamous "click here".)
*	It contains some rather vague phrases (still present in my suggestion
above), which might put newcomers off:
	-	"documents like HTML and XHTML". Can you list all the supported
languages?
	-	"W3C Recommendations and other standards." Which other standards? Why are
they important? (I've only heard of the W3C Recommendations) [links to "more
information about ..." pages]
*	It should sell the benefits, especially to newcomers, e.g.:
	-	Pages will be laid out correctly on a wider range of software (browsers,
etc.) and hardware (e.g. hand-held devices as well as desktop computers)
[links to pages about user agents and platforms - but avoid the phrase "user
agents and platforms"].
	-	You need valid mark-up as a base for validating your CSS [link to your
CSS validator].
	-	If you use Javascript / VBscript, starting with valid mark-up and CSS may
save you a lot of debugging - it's frustrating to spend hours de-bugging a
script and then find that an object is missing or incorrect because of a
mark-up or CSS error.

I'd place the "benefits" section below the "URL / upload / direct" mini-menu
because many users of your service will know this already - the "benefits"
section is for people who are new to at least one of HTML / CSS /
validation. So the order I'd prefer would be:
*	"The W3C Mark-up Validation Service checks ..."
*	"URL / upload / direct" mini-menu
*	Benefits and any other explanations
*	Validation forms.

Sorry this message has gone on so long. At first I thought validation was a
pain (it sounds rather like spelling lessons) and only hard experience
taught me the benefits. I'd like to shorten the cycle for others.

Best wishes,

	Philip Chalmers

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Received on Tuesday, 23 November 2004 15:13:15 GMT

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