WCAG 2.0: Well Formed (X)HTML is a Criteria for Success

Every Web standardista should be happy to hear that well-formed (X)HTML is a requirement at Level A for the W3C‘s latest draft of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. Success Criteria 4.1.1 says

4.1.1 Parsing: Content implemented using markup languages has elements with complete start and end tags, except as allowed by their specifications, and are nested according to their specifications. (Level A)

This means that you have to follow the rules when writing the markup for your Web site. The possible techniques for meeting this success criteria are:

There is more then one possible technique that would be possible for fulfilling this success criteria. You don’t have to do them all, just one.

One option, as notated in the first technique listed, is that you have valid HTML. You should be able to go to the W3C validator and get the big thumbs up.

Probably the best option, as noted in the second technique listed, is that you write your HTML according to the specification. This is more then just well formed markup. This means you should have meaningful and semantic markup, as specified by the specification.

The final option – the fall back option – is just having well-formed markup, as notated by the last two techniques. You’re HTML tags should properly nest with each other and that every open tag that needs a closed tag has one.

I’m guessing this final option is there for those who don’t want to lose their accessibility conformance because they have an errant miswritten ampersand that shows up somewhere (having worked at a large organization on their web team, this happens often).

I’m good with these options. In the end we are requiring of people that they use well-formed markup, which is a big part of the battle against tag soup.

What do you think?

One accessibility expert wrote in 2006 that…

Even if valid HTML everywhere all the time is unattainable, the fact remains that, in 2006, we have never had more developers who understand the concept and are trying to make it real on their own sites. WCAG 2 undoes a requirement that, were it retained, could be perfectly timed now.

Please share your thoughts.

CNN.com Team, Stop Lurking at Join the Conversation

A referrer from CNN.com interal docs to my blog

(above is a screen capture from my wordpress.com referrers)

Yesterday, I wrote a post about how I thought it was unprofessional of the CNN.com Web Team for their beta redesign site to use some presentational HTML tables and to have invalid markup.

Today I got a few visitors who were referred from:


The page doesn’t load. If I had to guess, it’s an internal wiki. Turner Broadcasting is documenting all of the blogs that are talking about the beta redesign. I’m ticked that they finding important to read blogs and find out what we think but…

Instead of the Web development folks at Turner Broadcasting lurking in the background just reading the post, why do you post a comment… join the conversation?

Explain to me and the rest of us Web standardistas the business justification for publishing a site that doesn’t conform to best practices (valid HTML for content and CSS only for design) that everyone in the Web industry agrees are in the best interest of anyone.

CNN.com Beta Still Uses Invalid XHTML and Some Presentational Tables

I was excited when I heard that CNN was working on a redesign of their Web site and had posted a beta. 

What really disappoints me is that they’re still using HTML tables for presentation.  Who does that any more?

Plus they have 60 validation errors.

It is just plain unprofessional to not use standards-based design.  Come on CNN get your act together.

Yahoo! Accessibility Engineer Explains Screen Readers and Web Accessibility

Have you read my blog and felt a little lost when I talk about Web accessibility? Are you familiar with the concepts of Web accessibility but never seen a screen reader in action?

Victor Tsaran, an accessibility engineer at Yahoo!, has done a great video where he talks about Web accessibility and gives a really good overview of screen readers. I think every Web developer should watch this video.

(thanks Accessify)

Update: WordPress.com won’t let me embed a Yahoo! Video in my blog.  That sucks.  Click on the link and check out the video.

Two More Great Web Accessibility Sessions in London This Week

Well in addition to her speaking at the RNIB yesterday, this week Shawn Lawton Henry will doing one of the sessions at the Web developers conference @media in London, England.  Her talk is entitled “Advancing Web Accessibility“, where she’ll look at WCAG 2.0 and how some of its techniques can be used right now.

@media in London also gets to hear from the one and only Joe Clark.  His talk is entitled, “When Web Accessibility Is Not Your Problem.”  Joe is going to talk about the role and responsibility of the authoring tool in user agent developers/vendors in the Web Accessibility process.

They both should be great talks.

Are any of you going to be live blogging the talks?  I unfortunately can’t be in London to attend.

Call for Review: WAI-ARIA Suite updated Working Drafts

W3C Web Accessibility Initiative Director Judy Brewer recently issued another Call for Review of the Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA) Roles document as well as the States and Properties document.

Continue reading Call for Review: WAI-ARIA Suite updated Working Drafts

First, You Need A Compelling Idea…

First off, this post is not here to diminish the brilliance of Guy Kawasaki and the important role he played in computer history.  I found one of his latest blog posts interesting.  He gives a quick overview about what he did and things he learned while launching the site Truemors.

I just wonder if one of those lessons learned is the importance of having a compelling idea and being able to execute it well.

Truemors is as he describes it on the site “a web site that enables you to ‘tell the world’—within the bounds of good taste and the law anyway. You can post your rumors, news, and sightings, and anyone with web access can read and rate them within minutes. ”

When I first go to the Truemors Web site, I ask the same question I ask of any Web site that I go to the first time, “What is this and Why do I care?”  With Truemors,  it is not immediately apparent what the site does and why the user should care.  I wonder if this is the reason why it looks that user involvement is underwhelming.

So the moral of the story is: It’s not good enough to have an idea.  It has to be compelling for your users and it has to be well executed.