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Beta Validator usability suggestion

From: Jeffrey Zeldman <jeffrey@zeldman.com>
Date: Fri, 13 Jun 2003 13:07:08 -0400
Message-Id: <p05210643bb0fb172d67d@[]>
To: www-validator@w3.org
Cc: asjo@koldfront.dk, Karl Dubost <karl@w3.org>

Re: http://validator.w3.org:8001/

As you are working on an improved version of the W3C markup 
validation service, may I offer a suggestion?

Errors in the existing validation services are reported in language 
that is not always clear. For instance, in the CSS validation 
service, the error message "I/O Error Unknown mime type: some/type" 
does not necessarily tell a designer or developer what precisely he 
or she (or someone else) has done wrong, or what steps he or she can 
take to correct the problem.

Using the same example, the Validator FAQ 
http://www.websitedev.de/css/validator-faq.html  explains what "I/O 
Error Unknown mime type: some/type" means, and provides the steps 
that are necessary to fix the error.

But not every designer or developer knows to look at the Validator FAQ.

Wouldn't it be helpful if the validation service itself explained the 
error clearly, using the language of the FAQ? Or using some of the 
language of the FAQ and linking to the complete explanation on the 
FAQ page?

Clearer, more user-friendly error messages might help users 
understand and fix errors instead of scratching their heads and 
possibly giving up. This in turn might lead to more sites that fully 
comply with W3C recommendations. It might also help designers and 
developers feel that the W3C was speaking their language. And the 
best part is, it's just replacing one stream of ASCII with another. ;)

Thanks for listening.



Designing With Web Standards	http://www.zeldman.com/dwws/

"You can lead a web designer to standards, but you can't make him 
drink. Designing With Web Standards will make him thirsty." - John 
Gruber, Daring Fireball
Received on Friday, 13 June 2003 14:35:55 UTC

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