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remove validity completely?

From: David MacDonald <befree@magma.ca>
Date: Wed, 22 Jun 2005 16:32:35 -0400
Message-Id: <200506222032.j5MKWZ0f013635@mail2.magma.ca>
To: <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

A few posts ago I suggested that perhaps an answer to the P1 vs P2 debate
would be to remove WCAG reference to validity completely. 

If each technical specification requires validity then it is handled at a
higher level. We don't need it in the Guidelines. 

In the 2.0 guidelines "we" (and I use the term referring to the entire
committee *and* those influencing the committee) have shifted from a W3C
technology centric document to a set of standards that should apply to any

I don't know if there is a validator out there for every language that might
be used on the web... When I look up "validate pdf" (and its related
phrases) in Google or in the Help files in Acrobat, all I get is information
on how to open up a secure digitally signed document. So the question comes
up...is "validity" a testable concept for all non-w3c technologies.

Requiring validation may turn our document back into a "only use W3C
technologies" type of document. That's fine with me if that's what we want,
but I don't think that is what we want. If we leave validity out, then the
W3C technology itself requires validity. 

>>>  Like poor grammar in text, valid code can have minor, or major, impact
  on the "accessibility" of the content.

I spent a couple of days chasing down "ampersands" when I was making our web
site www.eramp.com validate. It drove me crazy but I did it. I wanted valid
code, because that is what the spec calls for. But it didn't make my site
anymore accessible. It was accessible before I validated. If webmasters have
limited time to do accessibility stuff, as many do, I would rather they
chase down real accessibility issues than this kind of stuff.

It is true some validity issues are critical to accessibility while others
are not...and brings us back to the idea of having an extensive list of
validity issues that 

(a) affect accessibility 
(b) that don't affect accessibility

We would have to do this for every technology...That is something for a
university to spend a year doing...as an external document, but it is beyond
our capability...

I understand the problems of having validity at level 2 and how that may be
construed to imply we are inferring its OK to have sloppy code at level 1.
But I don't think the solution is putting validity at level 1, I think the
solution is removing it completely. If people follow the spec as they are
supposed to, they will have valid code.

I don't have particularly strong feelings one way or the other, but it seems
there will be a revolution from the web community if we leave it at level 2
and a revolution from corporations and governments if we put it at level 1. 

I say take it out completely and put the burden where it belongs, on the
spec itself.


David MacDonald

...Access empowers people...
	...barriers disable them...

Received on Wednesday, 22 June 2005 20:32:45 UTC

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