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[Irl-dean] False Accessibility Developers

Bob Allen ballen at crc.ie
Mon Mar 27 16:09:02 IST 2006


-----Original Message-----
From: irl-dean-admin at list.eeng.dcu.ie
[mailto:irl-dean-admin at list.eeng.dcu.ie]On Behalf Of Eoin Campbell
Sent: 27 March 2006 16:04
To: irl-dean at list.eeng.dcu.ie
Subject: Re: [Irl-dean] False Accessibility Developers
Importance: Low


I don't think there is a simple answer to this problem.
We have developed a number of public sector websites and made them
as accessible as we believe possible, but other peoples opinions may
differ.
The following are areas where people have complained about sites we
developed,
or we ourselves are not certain what the best approach is.

1. HTML vs. XHTML
Since MS-IE6 and Lynx don't support XHTML properly, we still recommend
HTML 4.01 Strict over XHTML 1.0 Strict for public websites, for better
backward compatibility.
Many believe using HTML in 2006 when XHTML is around since 1999 is not
accessible.

2. Strict vs. Transitional
Should accessible websites comply with the Strict variant of the DTDs
rather
than transitional?
I think that, as a minimum, the HTML templates used to maintain the site
should,
so that common boilerplate areas are as accessible as possible.

3. Image formats
Are GIF/JPEG images allowed instead of PNG?
Again, for maximum backward compatibility, I think yes, but others
disagree,
since PNG is an open W3C standard, and GIF/JPEG are not.

4. Image alt text
Should every image have alt text?
I think not, but some people do.
(Especially those who only half-understand the WCAG guidelines, in my
experience)


5. Tables for layout
Some of our older sites use tables for layout of navigation panels, but
they linearise OK on browsers
that don't support tables.

Is this accessible or not? I think it is.


6. Identifying link targets clearly
One of the sites we designed (www.teagasc.ie), has a left navigation panel
where the same word is used on links to 2 different target pages.
e.g. Environment (in the Advisory and Research sublists).
This is explicitly at the request of the client, since that is how their
organisation
is structured, and they don't want to use different names for corresponding
sections within
different divisions.

We put different text in the A/@TITLE attribute to try and surmount this
problem.
Does this satisfy the checkpoint? I would argue yes in this case, although
it is certainly
debatable.



While I completely agree with you that many developers incorrectly claim
compliance,
I would need to look at the sites in question before condemning them
utterly.
Hanlons Law (http://www.usemod.com/cgi-bin/mb.pl?AssumeStupidityNotMalice)
applies:

"Never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity. Don't assign
to stupidity what might be due to ignorance. And try not to assume your
opponent is the ignorant one -- until you can show it isn't you."
- M. L. Plano



brendan spillane wrote:
> Recently I have come across cases where website developers are falsely
> claiming accessibility for the websites of some organisations.
>
>   
-- 
Eoin Campbell, Technical Director, XML Workshop Ltd.
10 Greenmount Industrial Estate, Harolds Cross, Dublin, Ireland.
Phone: +353 1 4547811; fax: +353 1 4496299.
Email: ecampbell at xmlw.ie; web: www.xmlw.ie
YAWC: One-click web publishing from Word!
YAWC Pro: www.yawcpro.com
YAWC Online: www.yawconline.com




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