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Re: Fw: Disturbing trend in tables

From: Frank Tobin <ftobin@uiuc.edu>
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2001 13:56:32 -0600 (CST)
To: "Bailey, Bruce" <Bruce_Bailey@ed.gov>
cc: "'w3c-wai-ig@w3.org'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.BSF.4.31.0101221335360.10754-100000@palanthas.neverending.org>
Bailey, Bruce, at 08:57 -0500 on Mon, 22 Jan 2001, wrote:

    IMHO, the link (ahem, correlation) between validity and
    accessibility has been grossly under appreciated by this (and
    other) groups.  In my experience, the learned people who care
    about accessibility tend to care about validity.  On the other
    hand, many of the folks who primarily care about validity (there
    seem to fewer of them) achieve accessibility seemingly by
    accident.  If this were not _something_ of a relationship, it
    would be possible to find pages which were valid, but

The relations between accessibility and validity can be interesting.
Personally, I came to this list not knowing that the term "accessibility"
in the list name referred primarily to those visually impaired.
Accessibility for me takes on a different connotation; for me,
accessibility means "machine accessible".  In my opinion, at the base of
communication lies content, meaning, and structure; what tools such as
XHTML Strict do is give us the means to define highly-machine-accessible
content, meaning, and structure (I'll abbreviate these three as CMS).

Given that machines can access CMS well, we have the tools to write
software with a fair amount of ease that tranlate the CMS into other
media, including media meant for the human senses, such as sight and
hearing.  Without the machine-accessible CMS, however, writing tools to
translate CMS from human-media to human-media is extremely difficult (as
symptomized in the difficulty of creating good artifical intelligence).

I don't think it's really "by accident" that those who emphasize validity
instead of accessibility happen to create accessible documents; the
validity enables current and future accessibilty, due to its nature.  The
tools to make the CMS accessible may not have been written yet, but given
validity, it can be done easily.

On the other hand, if you emphasize accessibility over validity, I feel
you are catering more to the technology that we currently have at hand to
deal with human-media, and future attempts to translate the human media
into other languages/media becomes hampered, since it isn't necessarily

Unfortunately, we currently don't have many datapoints of media to analyze
the situation with, but I feel it's likely that other forms of
communication (networked neural implants?) will arise and make the term
"accessibility" take on a whole new connotation.

Frank Tobin		http://www.uiuc.edu/~ftobin/
Received on Monday, 22 January 2001 14:56:41 UTC

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