Re: B vs Strong

At 5:03 PM +0900 1/19/01, Davey Leslie wrote:
>Twice recently you've mentioned that you consider XHTML to be "obsolete."
>As far as I can tell, the W3C considers XHTML 1.0 to be the current W3C

I know this.  As I don't work for the W3C, please don't expect me to
fully support every activity undertaken by the W3C.

I feel that attempts to make XHTML -- an XML dialect based on XHTML --
into a structured language for content are way off.  HTML is already
pretty much a lost cause, and attempting to build on that base is
just going to be unproductive.  So far all the efforts at building
XHTML have taken a very long time and have produced very little
beyond what you can get from XML itself, in twice the complexity.
(By this I refer to XHTML modularization.)

>Now, I'm not a hot shot expert with lots of fancy titles--I'm just a guy
>down in the virtual trenches trying to figure which voice to listen to: the
>voice that says there is a reasoned consensus about best practices;

In my opinion, you have to strike a balance between two or more
approaches.  There is _not_ "one true way" to do things that will
meet everyone's needs and situations.  Trying to claim that there
is akin to claiming that one user interface can meet the needs of
all users with or without disabilities equally.

Heh.  That's another place, of course, where I and the official
W3C party line part our ways -- I believe very strongly that it is
naive to assume that one set of XHTML, delivered identically to
all user agents, will "degrade gracefully" enough to give an
acceptable level of access to all people.  This is why I have
spent more than a year working on the problem of adaptive systems
which provide customized interfaces based on user needs and

>or the
>voice that says it doesn't really matter because the situation is so screwed
>up anyway--

I didn't say that.

>Bobby doesn't really work,

Bobby works for a limited definition of the word "work" -- it helps
catch a few pretty glaring errors that can be caught automatically.
The people at CAST make no secret of that fact; they readily mention
that Bobby is not an absolute check for "accessibility."

However, in the context of this particular thread, I've not even
addressed the limitations of the Bobby program; instead I have
stated that if you are a WYSIWYG user, Bobby won't do you any good,
because the amount of knowledge you need to understand Bobby is
higher than the amount of knowledge you need to understand a
WYSIWYG editor.

>validation doesn't really mean anything,

Validation means -something-, but it doesn't mean -everything-.  Note
that valid HTML is a level 2 priority checkpoint in WCAG 1.0, not a
priority 1 checkpoint.  Validation is useful in theory, and is
generally a good thing to do, but it is not a guarantee of accessibility
any more than a Bobby logo is.

>and WYSIWYG-ed pages are good enough.

Good enough in one context?  See, that's part of the problem, in
assuming that we can talk about accessibility in a vacuum, outside of
issues of implementation -- that accessibility can be the _only_
issue worth considering.  A very specific case was defined:  Non-
designer teachers with limited training resources and no software
budget want to put content on the web -- how can you do that in the
most accessible way?  And FrontPage plus instructions on how to use
FP features to increase accessibility are a solution that works for
_that_ situation, as well as any solution can work given the

Now, sure, you can change the premise -- you can say "okay, let's
assume that we want to teach them HTML", but that wasn't part of the
original spec, or you can say "well, let's buy an expensive editor
program", etc. -- but as written there is no perfect solution.  So
a solution that partially works is necessary.

>The later is what I hear you saying and it puts me in a heck of a bind.
>You're one of the experts, right?

I don't know if I'm an expert or not.  I've examined the issues and I
have my own opinions on them.

Kynn Bartlett <>

Received on Friday, 19 January 2001 11:55:19 UTC