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Re: Re : Influence of valid code on screen readers

From: Isofarro <lists@isofarro.uklinux.net>
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2005 20:16:32 +0100
Message-ID: <42B32190.4000500@isofarro.uklinux.net>
To: Matt May <mcmay@w3.org>
CC: Roberto Castaldo <r.castaldo@iol.it>, w3c-wai-gl@w3.org

Matt May wrote:
> Agreed. And before we can tell Web developers that it's safe 100% of the 
> time to use valid code (and no fair adding new attributes!), we need to 
> have user agents that conform to UAAG, and authoring tools that conform 
> to ATAG.

Jeffrey Zeldman's keynote talk at the recent @media2005 describes an 
almost identical position they tackled. Browsers didn't properly support 
CSS, and that was holding back the adoption of CSS. What WaSP did was 
phenomenally unique, they tackled the woeful browser support with the 
attitude of "Lets pretend they support CSS properly".

I would suggest that that particular idea was sufficient to start the 
feedback cycle that brings us to today. Most modern browsers, with the 
exception of IE6, support CSS Level 2 quite well. Well enough so that 
CSS layouts are stable and acceptable - even preferred way of working.

So when we say "we need to have user agents that conform to UAAG", lets 
pretend they do, and force them to catch up with us again.

> I really, really want all Web content to be valid, too. But I'm not 
> willing to tie it to WCAG when it's not certain that it will help in all 
> cases.

I'm a little concerned - there's evidence presented here that screen 
readers deal with valid markup better than invalid markup. What's the 
purpose of WCAG2.0 if its not in the effort to improve on WCAG1.0, and 
ultimately improve the accessibility of web content?

 From a previous post of yours you indicated a wish to have more pages 
being accessible (greater quantity) - but isn't just as important to 
improve the guidelines (with better understanding and experience over 
the last six years) so that existing and new content is _more_ 
_accessible_ to people with disabilities (better quality)?

 > Especially when it will cause many developers to give up on
> accessibility completely, because they won't be able to claim 
> conformance on the old content that would take person-years to clean up, 
> when it may not be broken in the first place.

Joe Clark's own book suggests a decent approach to that particular 
problem. Make sure new pages are going to be accessible. And make a 
commitment to making older pages accessible, as and when they come up 
for review and changes. Over time the accessibility requirements of the 
older pages will be met.

Each piece of legislation on disability discrimination has a "reasonable 
effort" clause. Cleaning up thousands of pages of old content in one go, 
if it is person-years of effort, is clearly that. With a commitment of 
making the pages accessible as they are updated, that would be a good 
statement of intent, and I'd be very surprised if a court saw that as 

Mike (the non Sith-African)
Received on Friday, 17 June 2005 19:17:32 UTC

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