WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

E-mail List Archives

Re: Re[2]: Include default text?


From: Jukka K. Korpela
Date: Oct 23, 2004 3:54PM

On Fri, 22 Oct 2004, chnnb wrote:

> I've not heard these arguments against putting accessibility icons on home
> pages before.

Then I think I need to refer to the treatise
which explains why they, as well HTML validity and CSS "validity" icons
are much worse than useless.

There I explain, regarding the accessibility icons specifically,
that they are practically always _false claims_, too.

Consider this checkpoint alone:
"14.1 Use the clearest and simplest language appropriate for a site's
content. [Priority 1]"

Are you sure that your page uses the _clearest and simplest_
language appropriate for your site's content? It's not just about being
clear and simple (which are hard things anyway). It's about clearest and
simplest, i.e. more clear and simple than any imaginable or non-imaginable
alternative. If you think you've achieved that, then you have failed to
understand to issue. If you don't, you must not claim to comply with WCAG
1.0 at _any_ level. (It's a priority 1 requirement, remember.)

> People on this list may know all about accessibility and the difference
> between the various icons, but for many, many webmasters and CEOs and
> Marketing and Communications managers, web accessibility is still something
> mysterious, misunderstood, or unknown.

And mysterious and misunderstood icons add to the confusion. So does the
general confusion between accessibility, WCAG 1.0 conformance, and passing
some tests (like Bobby). Three different things. If you equate any two of
them, you have missed something very fundamental in accessibility.
The bosses run into such mistakes on their own, and as pushed by other
people; we don't need give our contribution to that.

> - - or the promotion of
> the principles attached to the icon ("Hey look at this, did you know there
> was a web accessibility standard?").

Well, that principle is yet another false impression promoted by the
icons. There is no web accessibility standard, and even as a loose
recommendation, WCAG 1.0 is partly outdated - and sadly enough, instead
of updating it on a regular basis, the WAI people seem to keep themselves
busy in an attempt to create a more abstract and incompatible
recommendation, in an apparently very long-term activity.

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