Re: conformance levels [was: Re: alt crazyness ...]

On Mon, May 5, 2008 at 5:18 AM, Jim Jewett <> wrote:
>  Olivier GENDRIN reminded us of
>  and Smylers wrote:
>  > That has two levels of conformance, with a 'partial
>  > conformance' exception for included external content.
>  > Are you suggesting something similar for HTML 5?
>  Yes; there has been resistance in the past to multiple levels of
>  conformance, but this does provide a pathway.

We already have (at least) two key paths for "conformance": HTML
conformance + WCAG conformance.

Markup that follows HTML guidelines (and therefore results in the
desired DOM) is compliant.
Markup that doesn't follow the guidelines invokes the error handling
defined by HTML5 (which results in a usable DOM) is NOT compliant.

Compliant HTML may or may not be accessible; therefore it may or may
not be WCAG compliant.

On the omission of @alt ... It does not prevent the creation of a
usable DOM (in the way mismatched or unexpected tags or unknown syntax
does). It does impact accessibility. Therefore (imho) it belongs in

I'm aware of these differing points of view:
- if we stamp code as 'compliant html' it doesn't raise
author/developer awareness of accessibility issues.
- if we do stamp code as 'compliant html' (due to accessibility
issues) then authors/developers may give up on compliance altogether.

I'm of the opinion we should give authors/developers some credit to
make decisions about what level of compliance checking they need to
undertake, and what they do with the results. (Many education/outreach
efforts exist to expand this, and they need to continue). In some
situations, I can see an author/developer wanting and/or needing to
assess the html compliance. Sometimes a task being undertaken is at
that level. Building authoring tools seems the most obvious, where
checking the output html is compliant is #1. Possibly they need to
balance this with ATAG compliance more than WCAG ...

Anyway, that's my opinion. Keep html compliance tightly focussed on
ensuring source markup follows the guidelines and doesn't invoke any
of the exception handling defined by html5 (or warn where it does so
the markup can be fixed). That's what I need as an author. When I want
to check accessibility (and I will) I will check compliance against
WCAG, not HTML5.

Now if you want to address the concern of raising awareness of
accessibility issues when checking html compliance, then build WCAG
compliance checking into the same tool that does html5 compliance
checking. Enable it by default and allow testers to disable it,

Hope this is a somewhat helpful addition to a long discussion. So much
talk of alt, I'm getting thoroughly tired of the attribute!

Has anyone asked ... if I use <figure> and <legend> with an <img>, do
I need to use @alt as well?
In the short term, I'd consider it essential for accessibility. But
longterm, when assistive technology catches up and penetrates the
customer base (yes I know this takes ages), I'm fully confident figure
+ legend could be enough in many situations and @alt should be
optional (and I could use alt="" I know, but I'd be happy to leave it
out. Less typing.)


Received on Monday, 5 May 2008 03:03:54 UTC