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Re[2]: Wired News Redesigned for Accessibility


From: Jared Smith
Date: Oct 14, 2002 2:01PM

It was great to see the wired.com homepage go from 18 XHTML
errors, to 10, to 5, and now none at all, though there are
inconsistencies throughout the site - something to be expected when
your dealing with such massive amounts of content and third party
content providers. I can't imagine the complexities of such an
overhaul and in making the change to standardization, wired.com has
earned my kudos and respect.

My initial post was not an attack on Wired's decision or their mostly
insignificant accessibility and XHTML errors - I didn't want to play
the role of the Internet's accessibility police (no Bobby pun
intended). Wired.com stated on each page that they were XHTML 1.0
transitional compliant, something they clearly were not. This
statement has since been removed from the footer of each of their
pages. They did not claim WCAG priority 1 compliance, yet could one
say they are compliant with the W3C's accessibility guidelines and
still have missing ALT text?

I understand the inconsistencies in validation and that most of the
time it doesn't make a heap of difference anyway - to either browser
or screen reader. By beef is in stating compliance when only partial
compliance is attained. Wired.com has, for-the-time, removed such
statements and is clearly making strides toward more complete XHTML
and WCAG 1.0 compliance and will continue to do so with consumer
support and feedback. Unfortunately until content providers and
advertisers get on board, it may be hard or impossible for them to
attain full compliance. They've truly shown themselves as an example
that many others should (and can) follow and I hope such business
decisions soon become the norm and not the exception.

Here's a quick run-down of resources you've graciously provided me on
the subject:

Interviews with Douglas Bowman of Wired


Joe's insightful, and ever colorful, commentary on why the 'big boys'
don't play by the rules

Wired.com's explanation of the changes.
This is a must read for anyone that cares about standards and compliance.
Here's a snippet that conveys my feelings to a tee.
In a Perfect World...
We would have loved to keep our site pure and free of work-arounds that
fix obscure rendering issues in specific browsers. We admit that this
is not entirely the case. In a perfect world, our implementation of
Web standards would render flawlessly in every single browser. However,
the fact remains: past browsers were not built for -- or held to -- the
same standards of today's browsers. Even recent browsers thought of as
"standards-compliant" carry slight discrepancies which create
differences in the appearance of our pages. Imperfections are bound to
show up. We've done our best to ensure our site renders as consistently
as possible, despite browser differences. We apologize if the content
is rendered in a way that somehow makes it inaccessible.

Yep, in a perfect world, there would be many more caring and innovative
companies like wired.com.

Jared Smith
WebAIM (Web Accessibility In Mind)

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