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Re: Validation equals Accessibility?


From: Robinson, Norman B - Washington, DC
Date: Apr 16, 2007 2:30PM

Although our policy isn't as up to date as most on this list, I can and
do support manual inspection. It is required. We also recommend this in
our official USPS AS-508-A Section 508 Technical Reference Guide for
Web-Based Information and Applications:
http://www.usps.com/cpim/ftp/hand/as508a/508a_c6_toc.html . Note that
the testing sections are either functional testing or indicate manual

Again, this is an old approach but the basics are the same and generally
get us to an accessible product. I hope to also address the validation
issue in an update to the web-based information and application chapter.
It is a complex issue to debate, but ultimately I hope to prove that
validation is a keystone for enabling accessibility testing.


Norman B. Robinson
Section 508 Coordinator
IT Governance, US Postal Service
phone: 202.268.8246

-----Original Message-----
[mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Jukka K.
Sent: Monday, April 16, 2007 1:50 PM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Cc: Gary Williamson
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Validation equals Accessibility?

On Mon, 16 Apr 2007, tedd wrote:

> Validation simply means that your web page meets with the W3C guide
> lines,

Not even that. The W3C has issued several guidelines (including old
accessibility guidelines), and most of them do not affect validity at

Validating an HTML document does not even check all the W3C guidelines
HTML - only the part that has been _formalized_ in a Document Type
Definition. More on this:

> Of course the W3C wants to promote accessible web sites, but their
> main intent is to get everyone on board with compliance to standards,
> hence, no accessibility validation (yet).

I wouldn't say anything like that about W3C aims.

> Whereas, accessibility has different concerns AND those concerns are
> widespread and diverse. No single test will tell you if your web page
> is accessible or not. But you can try to solve problems via links
> like these:

Unfortunately, many accessibility checkers just obfuscate things.
actually very little that can be checked automatically in the area of
accessibility. Software purported to do such things may issue silly
warnings that just tell _you_ to check for accessibility.

You need real people to evaluate accessibility. But you can start from
learning about accessibility yourself and using your own judgement then.
Using "different" browsers or common browsers with "different" settings
a good way to make some quick evaluations. For example, you could
the Web Developer Extension on Firefox and thereby get nice tools for
switching off stylesheets, JavaScript, images, etc., with simple
to see whether a page degrades gracefully.

Jukka "Yucca" Korpela, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/