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W3C Web Accessibility Standards 2.0 200

WildFire42 writes "The W3C has released their W3C WCAG 2.0 Standards (that's World Wide Web Consortium Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) for a request for comments before it becomes a standard. I've discovered quite a variety of geeks here that may access web content in a variety of methods, from screen readers, to Braille displays, to open captioning on streamed videos, etc. Web accessibility is still in its infancy (relatively), but is becoming a concern for more people every day. Once the WCAG 2.0 becomes a recognized standard (probably sometime in 2004), it will most likely be a concern for web developers, but the W3C still wants input from the public, to get a feel of the kinds of disabilities that have not received enough focus in the 1.0 standards. More information on the Interest Group is at the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative page. Your input and insight is needed!"
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W3C Web Accessibility Standards 2.0

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  • Pew! (Score:5, Funny)

    by thorgil ( 455385 ) on Saturday August 02, 2003 @08:31AM (#6595029) Homepage
    Pew! took a while to read it.
    No wonder people don't RTFA.
    • Re:Pew! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by RobotWisdom ( 25776 ) on Saturday August 02, 2003 @09:10AM (#6595087) Homepage
      Like all W3C proclamations, this has three deadly accessibility problems:
      1. 20+ screens of meta-information before the real content starts
      2. written in an over-abstract, PhD-thesis prose-style
      3. readability is decreased by highlighting many phrases as inline anchortext (better to isolate the links at the end of the sentence or paragraph, imho)
      • 2. written in an over-abstract, PhD-thesis prose-style

        Perhaps, then, somebody should write the "In Plain English" or "Clearly Explained" version?

  • Hrmm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by acehole ( 174372 ) on Saturday August 02, 2003 @08:33AM (#6595030) Homepage
    How about a recommendation to get rid of popups/unders?

    sounds good to me...

    • Re:Hrmm (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Tirel ( 692085 )
      how about you using a browser that doesn't allow popups (opera, all mozilla derivates, konqueror, all text browsers and dillo are just a few that come to mind), or if you really need to stick to the current browser, why not just use a proxy that blocks them (squid, junkbusters, proximitron, tinyproxy,... the list goes on) ?
    • How about a recommendation to get rid of popups/unders?

      I haven't had a problem with them since I stopped using IE. :) Maybe we should put forward a recommendation that everyone who uses it switch to Mozilla, Opera, etc.?

    • Re:Hrmm (Score:4, Insightful)

      by xenotrout ( 680453 ) on Saturday August 02, 2003 @09:03AM (#6595073) Homepage Journal
      Removal of pop-ups is a recommendation of the current w3c accessability standards. Switching window focus without letting the user know that it is going to happen can confuse accessibility programs and users. I believe pop-unders are just a hack that switches focus back, so they are also not recommended.
      Very few web sites that I've seen care about accessibility standards. Very few web devs, it seems, even care about W3C standards, because they develop for browsers (i.e. IE) rather than for the web (i.e. W3C standards). Check a number of pages with Watchfire Bobby [watchfire.com] and you'll see. Even slashdot has quite a few "violations" of the WCAG 1.0 standard.
      • Yup. As an example, just recently my sister was using my computer to access her course schedule for school and for some reason a simple javascript button on her school's site [www.ocad.ca] wouldnt work. I tried it on Mozilla, Opera, NS 7 and none worked. I called the school to see what was happening and got greeted by "You need to get a proper browser - Internet Explorer". I had to hang up and stop myself from screaming at the woman.
      • Switching window focus without letting the user know that it is going to happen can confuse accessibility programs and users.

        It's even worse than that. Some sites have Flash or Java, which pops up a plugin warning dialog in Mozilla (I don't want either installed), and the page will change focus back to the main window. I have to find the dialog again (either with alt-tab or moving the window, because the browser window will be on top), and click the stupid If I leave too many of these dialogs open, Mozi

  • Here's a useful tool (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Saturday August 02, 2003 @08:57AM (#6595063)
    If you want to test if your webpage is accessible to visually deficient people, you can ask Bobby [watchfire.com] to scan it and analyse it. Best accessibility report tool in town, I use it on all my pages.
    • by JimDabell ( 42870 ) on Saturday August 02, 2003 @09:25AM (#6595120) Homepage

      Of course, automated tools cannot accurately test for compliance with WCAG, Section 508, or similar accessibility requirements, merely check a few things and give pointers to the bits it cannot check.

      I've found that the Accessibility Valet [webthing.com] does a very good job, much better than Bobby used to (I haven't tried Bobby in a while though).

      • Not to mention that many government agencies don't actually test against the spec, but rather they try to run the web application with buggy screen readers like JAWS which don't even support the specs very well. It is immensely frustrating to code to the spec, only to find that a customer uses a buggy tool to verify "compliance" and thinks your application doesn't meet guidelines.

        We've tried to solve this by generating different web applications based on a user's accessibility preferences. Disabled users g
    • Contrary to the parent, Bobby is the least useful accessibility report tool in town.

      I work in an office that does accessibility reviews, and we have never used Bobby. It was bought out by a for-profit (after belonging to a NFP group for quite some time) and has more or less stagnated.

      Bobby will give you an enormous list of things to fix, but most of what it says can be ignored and it ignores most of what needs to be said.

      At the moment, our office doesn't recommend any automated accessibility checker. LIF
      • Bobby is the least useful accessibility report tool in town.

        I agree - Bobby really is quite useless. It gets confused easily and spews out incorrect messages left and right. It's probably the worst validation tool I've ever used.

        get the checklist instead of the W3C novella format

        The checklist [w3.org] really is the best way to go.
    • by malex ( 5167 )
      I also suggest LIFT [usablenet.com] as powerful tools for finding and fixing accessibility issues.
  • Article (Score:2, Funny)

    by Luigi30 ( 656867 )
    Now if only there was a standard to make Slashdot articles shorter...
  • by mrd_yaddayadda ( 629895 ) on Saturday August 02, 2003 @09:06AM (#6595079)
    Some countries (UK, Australia two that I know) have some legislation in place whereby some sites *have* to be designed to meet accessibility guidelines for vision impaired folks.

    This really annoyes me. The web is a visual medium. It should not be compulsory to cater for those that can't benefit from a visual medium, in a visual medium.

    We don't have legislation to ensure that every book that is released has a braille version and a speaking book version do we? No. Why take on the web this way?

    Yes I've been hit by this myself, and it's hugely frustrating being on the end of it as a site developer having the spectre of the law raised above you...
    • by quinine ( 20902 ) on Saturday August 02, 2003 @09:10AM (#6595086) Homepage
      Well, if you're talking about sites that provide govenment services then yes, accessability standards should be maintained. Just like if you go to a courthouse, there needs to be a ramp there for wheelchairs. If your talking about rubmyhotbutt.com, though, then I agree with you; this should not be compulsory.
      • by finitimi ( 126732 ) on Saturday August 02, 2003 @09:36AM (#6595147)
        Accessibility benefits everyone, not just the disabled. I recall back when wheelchair accesibility was first made a requirement for public places. I remember thinking to myself, "we have to spend all this money just for a few cripples?" Since then, I've raised a few children who I pushed around in strollers, and I was mighty glad for simple accessibility features such as sloping curb cuts in sidewalks.

        The w3c guidelines are mostly common-sense hints about what not to do. Many barriers to access are unintentional; the w3c is doing web developers a service by pointing them out.
        • Pretending that accessibility standards don't limit what you can't do with a web site is silly.

          All US government sites are compelled to be Section 508 compliant and they are uniformly...well, ugly. Uglier than a good commercial site. Is it a causal relationship? No, probably not. But the Sec. 508 compliance isn't helping matters in that regard.
          • All US government sites are compelled to be Section 508 compliant and they are uniformly...well, ugly. Uglier than a good commercial site.

            Well they don't have to compete with other sites, and their credibility is judged differently to commercial sites, so why waste the resources?

            Is it a causal relationship? No, probably not.

            Then what is your point?

            But the Sec. 508 compliance isn't helping matters in that regard.

            Why would you expect an accessibility requirement to improve the graphica

    • This really annoyes me. The web is a visual medium. It should not be compulsory to cater for those that can't benefit from a visual medium, in a visual medium.

      I've worked with blind people : there's a lot of simple services and entertainments that aren't accessible to them simply because selfish brats like you say "to hell with them, this or that isn't designed for them so why should we go out of our way to allow them to access it.".

      Guess what: blind people go to art museums to touch sculptures, they go
    • by iangoldby ( 552781 ) on Saturday August 02, 2003 @09:35AM (#6595142) Homepage
      I think you are missing the point that the web so easily could be an ideal medium for non-visual information.

      For example, if you compare the technology required to read a paper book out loud to that required to read an electronic text file out aloud, I'm sure you will see that the latter is a far easier task. There's no reason to make it difficult, but designers do, just because they think it is more important to have a heading in their own choice of font (presented as a bitmap) than for a minority to be able to read it.

      You might also like to bear in mind that local government in the UK has a duty to make information available in a form that people can understand. That's why most leaflets tell you where to get hold of a large-print version, or in audio tape form. (Presumably your neighbour tells you this from the original leaflet if you can't read it yourself!)

      So I ask again: The web is ideally suited to avoid the effort required to make paper documents universally accessible. Why make it difficult?
    • by LiamQ ( 110676 ) on Saturday August 02, 2003 @09:45AM (#6595172)

      This really annoyes me. The web is a visual medium. It should not be compulsory to cater for those that can't benefit from a visual medium, in a visual medium.

      The Web is not a visual medium. Yes, it contains a lot of visual content, but there's also plenty of text content that can be presented just fine in a non-visual manner.

      As a Web author, your role is to describe the structure of the content. If you use proper markup, such as H1 for headings and P for paragraphs, then browsers can present your content in an appropriate manner whether it be visual or non-visual.

      The Web still consists mostly of text content, and there's nothing visual about that. (Yes, I know about porn, but there's still plenty of text content even there.)

      • As a Web author, your role is to describe the structure of the content. If you use proper markup, such as H1 for headings and P for paragraphs, then browsers can present your content in an appropriate manner whether it be visual or non-visual.

        Goldfarb's Conjecture has been repeated so often and so mindlessly that everyone's forgotten it's a hypothesis about human cognition that's never actually been tested. Do writers and/or readers really organise a text as a hierarchy of nested structural containers, a

        • by LiamQ ( 110676 ) on Saturday August 02, 2003 @10:34AM (#6595294)

          Tagging a phone number would be extremely useful for the many new smartphones and phone/PDA combos that include a Web browser. Then those browsers could allow you to easily call the number, send an SMS/MMS, or add the number to your address book.

          • Tagging a phone number would be extremely useful

            Certainly, I'm all in favor of semantic markup, but Goldfarb's Conjecture that styles should naturally be layered on top of these semantics is just deluded, imho. (The best approach to semantic markup would even be visible to screen scrapers, I think.)

            • that styles should naturally be layered on top of these semantics is just deluded, imho

              Can you provide a cohesive and plain English explanation as to why. Certainly the entire print industry is fashioned along the same concept, and they seem to be running along all fine and dandy.

              The best approach to semantic markup would even be visible to screen scrapers

              An infeasible and unworkable solution with no realistic possibility of existing within our lifetime. The solution you mock (of semantic markup)

        • HTML 2.0 and the Strict variant HTML 4.01/XHTML 1.0 (which have the same vocabulary of elements) are not so far apart. It's the crud that got inserted in between (FONT, color and align attributes) that we're better off without, now that CSS support is quite decent in 95% of the browsers used. CSS makes webdesign easier, especially when you don't have to think about Netscape 4 compatability.

          Separation of structure and style not only makes your work easier. It will also make a difference for blind users when
          • Separation of structure and style not only makes your work easier.

            There's no reason to burden the published page with authoring hints.

            It will also make a difference for blind users when tool builders can actually count on it.

            I think this oft-repeated claim is a hoax.

            • The most important visitors your site will have are BLIND. They are the search site robot, and the indexing software. A well-build page with CSS and good structure will be higher in the results than the same information presented on a page with no structural elements and just the "appearance" tags like FONT. I've tested this repeatedly over the years, and it still works.
            • There's no reason to burden the published page with authoring hints.

              That is indeed your choice which can be forced for your ecstatic pleasure by disabling stylesheets in your browser and supplementing it with your own stylesheet with your preferences to render content exactly how you prefer it.

              However, I disagree with you entirely, yet I don't force my choice on you. Please consider respecting the readers of website before continuing your ongoing puffery.

        • I'm not familiar with Goldfarb's conjecture, but the person you are replying to isn't talking about human cognition. It's about presenting content appropriately. Unless you are arguing that the same presentation is always suitable for everyone, or that you can easily convert one presentation into another, I don't see what your point is.

          Does a blind-reader really benefit from EM instead of I,

          All visitors do if the search engine they use pays more attention to emphasized text.

          or from P instead

          • I'm not familiar with Goldfarb's conjecture,

            Goldfarb invented SGML, and initiated the theory that structures naturally precede styles.

            but the person you are replying to isn't talking about human cognition. It's about presenting content appropriately.

            It's only appropriate if it conforms to human cognition.

            [Does a blind-reader really benefit from EM instead of I,]
            All visitors do if the search engine they use pays more attention to emphasized text.

            So you're trying to use this arbitrary choice to j

            • Goldfarb invented SGML, and initiated the theory that structures naturally precede styles.

              I know who he is, I'm just unfamiliar with his Conjecture.

              but the person you are replying to isn't talking about human cognition. It's about presenting content appropriately.

              It's only appropriate if it conforms to human cognition.

              But the presentation of the document to the end user is a completely different topic to the file format applications use to transfer information to each other.

              All visito

              • I know who he is, I'm just unfamiliar with his Conjecture.

                It's just my pun on Goldbach's Conjecture in math.

                the presentation of the document to the end user is a completely different topic to the file format applications use to transfer information to each other.

                I think you're making a cognitive claim, even there (about the cognitive relationship between structures and styles).

                I'm saying nothing about Goldfarb. You asked if there was a benefit to using EM for emphasis instead of misusing I. I pointed ou

                • I think you're making a cognitive claim, even there (about the cognitive relationship between structures and styles).

                  So you are arguing that HTML is bad because authoring in it isn't intuitive? This is a separate issue to the benefits of said structuring when applied as an interoperable file format. There is no requirement of actually authoring in HTML, you can author however you like as long as you can parse the information out of it appropriately with some program before publishing it.

                  But the

                  • You aren't thinking at the right level. The author doesn't want to add some whitespace because he has Enter Key Tourette's - there is a reason for adding the whitespace. The method of adding the whitespace depends on that reason.

                    Finally, you've nailed Goldfarb's Conjecture-- the untested hypothesis about the cognitive processes of authors. (That's what I reject.)

                    People don't really have structures in mind when they write, they arrange styles and whitespace to present their ideas as clearly as possible.

                    • I'm enjoying your exchange here, it is very enlightening.

                      Finally, you've nailed Goldfarb's Conjecture-- the untested hypothesis about the cognitive processes of authors. (That's what I reject.)

                      OK, I see your point now.

                      It may indeed be that you are correct, it is not easy for an author to write structured rather than visual content. In the real world we see that the WYSIWYG doctrine is hugely more widespread than structured markup. Even though programs like M$ Word have a styles concept, people ar

                    • Goldfarb's Conjecture-- the untested hypothesis about the cognitive processes of authors. (That's what I reject.)


                      And your non-existant fantasy totally dependant on the unmaterialised AI solutions is better how?

                      I can use the web right now to search for stuff, and it returns me a decent amount of well structured information. It works.
                    • People don't really have structures in mind when they write

                      This is clearly not true. Every serious author has a plan of the structure before they start writing. Fiction is well known for the preplanning work required to structure the story around plots and subplots, plus the detailed working out of characters before the first chapters are written.

                      Two massive examples. Tolkien worked out most of Middle Earth before he started writing Lord of the Rings. He worked out life and time lines, histories and my

                    • If the p element had been used widely, such cultural conventions could be taken into account by using culturally dependent stylesheets.

                      Where Goldfarb erred, imho, is in thinking that styles are arbitrary/secondary/inferior, and structures are absolute and superior. But styles are actually expressive, so revising them wholesale via stylesheets actually changes the impact of the document. Mediocre authors won't mind, perhaps, but serious authors should care how the document looks, and not surrender the de

                    • However, I don't think you can deny that if people would write structured markup I would be extremely useful. Jim's example that search engines could use it to rank hits by looking at the content of em elements (AltaVista did this in the old days, when people still wrote reasonably structured), is a good one.

                      Google is experimenting with a number of structual-based searches. On http://labs.google.com there are two searches based on structural markup.

                      Google Sets is based on list structures.

                      Google Gloss

                    • Mediocre authors won't mind, perhaps, but serious authors should care how the document looks, and not surrender the details to a mechanical whim.


                      Again, this is not even reflected in the real world. An article writer writes structured articles for publications. It is the designers job to style it as best fits the publication, not the author. This is what happens in the real world.
                • If someone authoring HTML by hand wants to skip some whitespace, multiple Ps (or BRs) is an entirely natural and reasonable way to do it.

                  Empty paragraphs are meaningless - much like your "Goldfarb's Conjecture". Its a pity your "proposed solutions" are nothing more than unrealistic over-hyped expecations largely derived from the wasteland that is Artificial Intelligence. In case you hadn't noticed, people are rather tired of waiting for you AI wunderkinds to produce something the real world can use righ

            • Goldfarb invented SGML, and initiated the theory that structures naturally precede styles.


              False. This practice of structuring first and styling after predates Goldfarb and even the print industry. I can trace an immediate path of this practice all the way back to the Middle Ages. I expect pre-historians and archeologists can trace it back even further. Even to way before the early Egyptian civilisation. Its nothing new.
        • "Do writers and/or readers really organise a text as a hierarchy of nested structural containers, and then secondarily apply styles to those structures? Are there such structures for every style, and are they defined independently of the styles?"

          GOOD writers are well aware of the structure of information, how structure affects comprehension, and how proper use of structure can make writing easier. If the writer does her job, the readers don't notice a thing except that they can find the information they

        • Does a blind-reader really benefit
          from EM instead of I, or from P instead of BR-BR?

          Beeing blind, I feel uniquely qualified to comment here. Yes, absolutely the blind person does benefit from proper markup! In fact, if you use proper markup, you will go a long way twoards making an accessible site. Perhaps an example is in order here.

          First off, like most other blind people I know, I use IE as the underlying browser. Unfortunately at this time, its the only one that supports accessibility to any real

        • Do writers and/or readers really organise a text as a hierarchy of nested structural containers

          *pulls a random book off a shelf* Look, each page has a page number. There's a table of contents at the start. There are even breaks called chapters and sections. Paging through, there's different type of headings, and there's even an index at the back.

          Heck, the book can actually be read in a sequential fashion, reading the pages in an ascending fashion. Heck every page can be linearly read starting from the

          • There are even breaks called chapters and sections.

            But are there ever semantic/structural/stylistic units that overlap paragraph/section/chapter boundaries? Are there ever odd little exceptions that the creative authors have thrown in, with no pre-existing theory about what level of structure they embody?

            Finnegans Wake [no apostrophe, sweetie] is just one book written by a drug-induced fogey.

            White wine is not a drug, and 41yo is not a fogey. [info] [robotwisdom.com]

            • But are there ever semantic/structural/stylistic units that overlap paragraph/section/chapter boundaries?

              Paragraphs, sections and chapters are structural units. Even a book is a structural unit. A page is also a structure. Sentences are structure, they contain a linear sequence of words. Even words themselves have structure. Language also has structure.

              Without structure you have nothing that can be efficiently reused or passed on.

              Even the priests of the Middle Ages understand the value of structured i

    • From your comments, you seem to be suffering from the same misconception as whoever posted the article. Web accesibility is not in its infancy, it was strangled whilst learning to walk during Browser Wars, by a couple of greedy companies and a load of graphic designers, most of whom appear(ed) to know nothing about traditional publishing, let alone machine markup. What is happening now is Web Accessibility Reloaded.

      If we want an Internet page description language, various options exist, including the newis

    • by NulDevice ( 186369 ) on Saturday August 02, 2003 @11:30AM (#6595455) Homepage
      In the US, it's Section508 of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

      EVERYBODY and their brother gets up-in-arms about having the government legislate their web design. Nobody bothers to read this stuff.

      So here're my bullet points:

      1) s508 compliance it's only required if you're a federal government agency or contractor, and even then there are some exceptions.

      2) C'mon people, it's really *not* that hard to comply. Got ALT tags? You're halfway there. Lose the 7 layers of nested tables and nobody'll complain.

      3) it's 2003 now - the era of overdesigned websites ended with the .com crash. The vast market of consumers don't care if a site is animated to holy heck and streams ambient music anymore - It's not going to sell your product or content any better anymore than a well-designed but accessible/usable site.

      4) A site doesn't have to be ugly and nonvisual to be accessible. Proper use of CSS can give you a fantastic site that degrades nicely into a screen-reader, brailler, etc.

      5) Not every disabled person involved is a blind, deaf quadrapelegic. Some are just nearsighted folks who want to set the font size something above the Arial-submicroscopic-pt that eagle-eyed designers often use. Why not let them?

      6) There are several hundred million users worldwide who consider themselves disabled in some way. If you're selling things, would you shut your door to 200,000,000 potential customers because it's inconvenient for you to serve them?

      7) A plus to an accessible website is that it will almost always degrade well to other browsers - especially things like wireless devices and phones. Make your site accessible, and you've gone a long way towards making it mobile as well.

      8) Jeffrey Zeldman's new book "Designing with Web Standards" is an excellent resource. He demonstrates how to use current standards like XHTML, CSS to create websites that are complaint with standards, work well on the vast majority of browsers, are attractive, usable, and accessible. Definitely worth checking out, as is his website, www.zeldman.com.

      Accessibility shouldn't be considered an incovnenience - it's just good practice.
    • This really annoyes me. The web is a visual medium.


      Using my browser, you sound like an idiot. The web isn't a visual medium, a visual representation of a web page is only one representation, and not the only representation.
    • First off, accessibility is not just an issue for blind people. There are many disabilites which the WCAG guidelines try to cater for.

      Second, the web is not a visual medium, it is a mechanism to interconnect information. Markup languages structure this information which makes it easier to present in non-standard, but sensible, manners. That is why we should take on the web this way.

      Finally, most of the recommendations are common sense pointers, the fact that you found them highly frustrating indicates tha
  • by bons ( 119581 ) on Saturday August 02, 2003 @09:30AM (#6595131) Homepage Journal
    When no one follows it.

    Or in some cases, when a standard is so ill-defined as to allow for multiple incompatible interpretations, making it impossible to figure out if you've followed it.

    Historically, browsers have consistantly been incompatible, plug-ins have been required to accomplish those things the browsers didn't accomplish, and the goal of content over form has been lost since the <b> tag stuck it's elbow in the <em> tag''s face.

    Web site developers, meanwhile, are not only ignorant of the standards, but would be actively encouraged to ignore them by their client even if they knew. The people who build these sites do not care about accessability any more than spammers really care about those people who get mad at the e-mails.

    At this point, testing with normal browsers has become impossible, since there are multiple versions of IE, both Mac and PC, on the streets, all of them rendering CSS differently, Mozilla has split yet again, Safari is trying to gain market share, and Opera is still causing web developers to pull their hair out.

    And now you want an accessability standard?

    I've been a beta tester. I've been a web designer. And I've had an internet account for a decade now. The industry is incapable of following the standards it currently has. It doesn't need new ones. It sure as heck isn't going to follow them. If someone needs an accessabilty guideline, they can use Section 508 [section508.gov] for now. It'll do the job until the industry can get it's act together.
    • At this point, testing with normal browsers has become impossible, since there are multiple versions of IE, both Mac and PC, on the streets, all of them rendering CSS differently, Mozilla has split yet again, Safari is trying to gain market share, and Opera is still causing web developers to pull their hair out.

      And now you want an accessability standard?

      "Accessible" also means accessible for people with different browsers. If you follow the WAI guidelines, your site will work OK in all of them, not only

      • "code to the specs"

        Whose specs? Theirs? Why? Who really cares? The groups that do take them seriously are the exception, not the rule. For all intents and purposes, w3.org is the Pope of the net: outspoken, clueless, talked about, but for the most part, ignored.

        Web designers are not paid by w3.org. Their clients (who do pay them) don't care about w3.org. The clients customers have probably never heard of w3.org. The vast majority of the net simply doesn't care.

        I coded sites to existing standards 3 years
        • Whose specs? Theirs? Why?

          For interoperability [evolt.org].

          Their clients (who do pay them) don't care about w3.org

          They care when their website breaks. They care when they find out they are breaking the law (accessibility is legally required for many people).

          I attemped to code to existing CSS "standards" 2 years ago only to discover that the browser interpretation of those "standards" was so unpredictable as to make the attempt pointless.

          Times change. Netscape 4.x and Internet Explorer 4.x are c

    • In all those ten long years, did you ever compare Section 508 to the WAI?

      They are nearly identical. The WAI has some things that 508 does not and 508 has things that the WAI does not, but they're mostly small things.

      As far as 508 is concerned, many government web sites that are required to follow it don't. There is no government organization that you can call and have 508 explained to a luddite, or to a web designer. (so we do it, usually.)

      Many companies are plunking down tens of thousands of dollars for
  • To me it looks like my site does okay.

    One interesting thing I found with a few seconds fumbling was the use of

    on this page
    http://bobby.cast.org/bobby/html/en/gls/g10 9 .html

    recently I was reading XHTML stuff and noticed that if you want to be forward thinking any new stuff you create would be better off chosing as xhtml requires it.

    and I thought back to all the times I've had to write special case code to deal with "checked", if only I'd known.

    The tips I have read mostly, for me anyway, deal with filli
  • Trouble is, as long as the mainstream webpage building programs (Frontpage, Dreamweaver, ...) don't catch up, web is going to be a horrid place for non-visual media.

    Usually artists who design the visual part of a web page don't want to spawn Vim - they use these graphical tools which rarely comply even to HTML4/tagsoup. Table layouts are so commonplace even today and these documents make no sense structurally.

    And a lot of artists prefer using Shockwave/Flash to build pages: they get more control. That w
    • I have yet to see an Dreamweaver page that doesn't pass the w3c validation engine.
      It's really not that bad--I don't speak for frontpage, which is microsoft junk anyways...

      The truth is that making a document accessible is hard, and expensive. It's extra work...and you know how that goes. It's very hard, if not impossible for a piece of software to add metadata for you (think of alt image tags.)
    • as long as the mainstream webpage building programs (Frontpage, Dreamweaver, ...) don't catch up, web is going to be a horrid place for non-visual media.

      So what creates websites, the tool or the user of the tool? If the tool is creating the website, why is anyone paying a web designer? If the web designer is creating the site using tools that produce inaccessible markup, why is the designer using a broken tool.

      To me it is the web designer's responsibility to select tools that do the job. Don't blame th

  • I've been hearing about accessibility and other potentially imposing guidelines for quite some time, and I've always been curious: is there any plan to try to enforce the guidelines? Or are they intended to be recommended standards to be followed throughout a more libertarian kind of world wide web?

    The reason I ask is that I can certainly understand why official government and commercial web sites might need to be held to rather strict standards -- the freedom of speech does not apply to them nearly to th

    • I've been hearing about accessibility and other potentially imposing guidelines for quite some time, and I've always been curious: is there any plan to try to enforce the guidelines?

      There are many countries in which accessibility is a legal requirement for lots of organisations. For more information on these, please see WAI Policy [w3.org].

      But speaking of the private individual, should you and I also be subject to enforcement of web guidelines even in our personal, private web space?

      I believe the mo

    • I don't think this should be ENFORCED legally by anyone. That is just silly.

      A site that presents visual content (art, comics, or whatever) can not be made "accessible," since the point of the page, looking at the visual content, is lost to those who can't see. Many of these sites could be considered "commercial," depending on where you draw the line. However, the last thing a page that presents visual contet needs is the government forcing them to waste time and money to make their page accessible to th
      • I don't think this should be ENFORCED legally by anyone. That is just silly.


        What is silly is that web designers can't produce quality and valid work, and so people have resorted to legal enforcement to get them to do so. People are merely protecting their rights to participate in society.

    • "is there any plan to try to enforce the guidelines"

      Any site by an organization or company that serves the general public should comply. It's a no-brainer ... why would you deliberately create websites that only some of the visitors can use? How many potential customers do you want to turn away at the door, after spending a lot of effort to get them to the site with search engines and ads ... it might work for a trendy nightclub, but it's a suicidal tactic for a web-based business.

      I'f Timmy's Terrific

  • Sheesh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    >Once the WCAG 2.0 becomes a recognized standard (probably sometime in 2004), it will most likely be a concern for web developers

    Why do you say that?

    The HTML standard has been out for years, and it isn't a concern for the average web developer. Why should they start being concerned about accessibility guidelines, when right now they write pages that can only be viewed in Internet Explorer, or only after installing some sort of trojan/spyware on your machine?

    Remember when you could type in an address
  • is practice as well as in design. Then its becomes a lot easier to farm out presentation and trigger interaction to switchable leaves on the presentation layer (like switching data base engines leavel on the persistence layer.)

    It may be infrastructure and belongs "behind the GypRock" but yhou still have to deal with it in a coherent fashion.

If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith. -- Albert Einstein

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