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Re: Validation equals Accessibility?


From: Patrick H. Lauke
Date: Apr 16, 2007 8:40AM

Quoting Gary Williamson < <EMAIL REMOVED> >:

> Generator Microsoft Word 11 (filtered medium) I' m racking my brains
> to think of reasons why, when I validate my page using W3C
> validator my page is valid but not necessarily accessible. I can
> think of a couple but would like some opinions from people who work
> more directly in this field. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
> Also does anyone use any software that checks for accessibility
> rather than validity?

To quote myself, from
"think of it this way: you can run a word document through a
spellcheck, and it can tell you that there are no errors...but that
does not mean that your document actually makes any sense whatsoever.
same thing with automated testing tools for accessibility. to make
sure that your site is *actually* accessible, you should really enlist
the help of somebody who knows about accessibility (either on forums
such as this one, or a paid-for service like shaw trust)"

I can make a perfectly valid document that is nothing more than a page
with one huge image, and in that image have all my content etc and an
empty ALT attribute. I can also choose really bad colour combinations
like red text on green background. There...a perfectly valid page, but
hardly accessible.

More subtle examples: a valid page that doesn't use heading elements,
instead using <span class="bigheading"> or some such...

You hopefully see where this is going. Validation only means that
you're following the correct syntax. It doesn't mean that what you're
doing is actually sensible, correct, or accessible.

Conversely, a site can fail validation in certain situations and still
be accessible - sometimes you even have to knowingly break validation
for accessibility's sake (for instance, using EMBED is - if i recall
correctly - still the only reliable way to get flash properly
recognised by some screen readers; using OBJECT, flash satay or some
fancy DOM based method doesn't work correctly in those situations).

Patrick H. Lauke