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  1. #1
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    W3C - How many designers comply?

    I just finished my first css w3c accessible site and I found it very fiddly and quite difficult to get right. And I started with a template...

    Now some of it makes sense to me and the rest seems like a good idea but commercially can people really adhere to the standards?

    I was wondering if any real life webdesigners out there could give me their opinion on it and tell me whether they adhere to all of the rules on all of their sites.

    I found it quite hard to implement a more complex design. Anyone with any links to sites they have developed that are W3C (AAA ideally) but implement a more detailed design.

    If you you use something like a wiki piece of software - what happens then - does it all go out of the window?
    thanks and it will be interesting reading your responses - I am sure lots of people new to it must ask themselves these questions.

  • #2
    Regular Coder Jutlander's Avatar
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    Normally I compare web standards with writing an essay for a teacher. If you begin all sentences with small letters, it is grammatically incorrect (i.e. not up to standards), but the teacher is still able to read what you mean. The essay is the code and the teacher is the browser... Because even though a site has errors, in most cases the browser can still render it the way it's meant to be rendered. E.g. if you leave out all the alt attributes on images, doesn't mean the image won't be displayed.

    I always code in the HTML 4.01 Strict standard, why use XHTML when IE doesn't recognise it anyway. But that's another discussion. The internet is a media, just like TV, newspapers and radio. I think all these medias have some standards too, take the newspaper: all sentences have to start with large letters (capitalization is the English word I believe).

    Guess I'll have more to say when someone else has offered their input.
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  • #3
    The fat guy next door VIPStephan's Avatar
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    I think you should ask this question differently - or define what exactly you think of when you talk about complying to W3C standards. do you see it from the plain technical point of view or are you more concerned of semantical compliance to ďstandardsĒ?

    Creating (strict) W3C standards compliant websites isnít hard. Iím always trying to adhere to the standards when it comes to writing correct code. ďTryingĒ because most CMSs/online HTML editors produce bad or invalid code and you canít do anything about it. Thatís when Iím using a transitional doctype. But basically Iím always coding according to strict rules at first.

    The thing is you canít really say what ďcomplyingĒ means. For example you can trick the W3C validator by including bad code through javascript and the validator will still say itís valid when technically itís not. In this case you were just pretending you are complying but actually you just sweep your errors under the carpet.

    Another thing is that valid and standards compliant code doesnít necessarily mean itís good code as well. You can nest a million tables and technically this is standards compliant but is it good practice? I guess not. Unfortunately there is no automatic semantics validator because then probably all websites would fail miserably (since there are many ways to define website content). And you couldnít say whatís the right and whatís the wrong approach.

    All in all I think standards are good and necessary to ease the workflow but the basic goal is to bring the message across for a wide audience, whatever it takes.

    Edit: By the way: The latest website I created and where I tried to be as standards compliant and accessible as possible is at http://mahanaim.com. It isnít a too advanced layout by itself (while it wasnít the easiest layout as well) and some more features are yet to come (Iím afraid there will be flash content later), and it isnít implemented in a CMS yet and thatís why itís strict standards compliant. Iíll see how it will eventuelly be done. But it probably wonít be possible to keep the strict doctype while being valid.
    Last edited by VIPStephan; 07-08-2007 at 08:59 PM.

  • #4
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    I always try to adhere to the W3C recommendations (generally referred to as standards). For an example of a somewhat complex layout created while adhering to these standards, take a look at my site: http://kiswa.com

    I'm not completely done with it, but every page should validate both CSS and XHTML 1.0 Strict.

    Personally, I always try to create sites semantically for my clients. It makes things a lot easier when I need to go in and tweak design elements (or redesign) as I don't have to change the site code (just the CSS).

  • #5
    Regular Coder croatiankid's Avatar
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    Making a AAA WCAG conforming site is virtually impossible. Probably the most acknowledged reason for this is the language requirements.

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    Thanks for the input

    That was interesting - I liked the two showcased sites - I think what this demonstrated to me which I suppose I had not been considering in the sites I have been experimenting with is the use of background images for the wider page. On both sites the use of a surrounding image is really effective.

    I should have been more specific - correct html and correct use of css I think is without question. I did exactly what you said and stuffed all the bad javascript stuff away in a .js file figuring well I didnt write that so why should I be penalised .

    Vivienne

  • #7
    Senior Coder Arbitrator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vivienne2 View Post
    I found it quite hard to implement a more complex design. Anyone with any links to sites they have developed that are W3C (AAA ideally) but implement a more detailed design.
    I donít pay much attention to the WCAG specifications. Personally, I would take its suggestions into consideration, but not take it as the Bible (so to speak). I believe that some of the guidelines do more harm than good. For example, checkpoint 9.5 essentially suggests use of the accesskey attribute; I donít use that attribute since it causes keyboard conflicts. As croatiankid pointed out, others guidelines are simply unrealistic; checkpoint 11.3 requires that you offer documents in the userís preferred language.

    You might want to read the article To Hell with WCAG 2 for some (negative) insight.

    Quote Originally Posted by VIPStephan View Post
    Another thing is that valid and standards compliant code doesnít necessarily mean itís good code as well. You can nest a million tables and technically this is standards compliant but is it good practice? I guess not. Unfortunately there is no automatic semantics validator because then probably all websites would fail miserably (since there are many ways to define website content). And you couldnít say whatís the right and whatís the wrong approach.
    If you misuse tables or other elements, then your code is nonconformant and, thus, is not standards‐compliant. Validity is only one path toward that end. One problem though, is that different people have different perceptions about what is misuse and what is not and the HTML 4.01 specification itself defines many semantics vaguely.

    With regards to tables, WCAG checkpoint 5.3 actually seems to accept tables for layout. I find the idea ridiculous and donít see how that aids accessibility.
    For every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.

  • #8
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    I put in a decent amount of effort to be standards compliant, more so than some major browsers seem to (IE...), but at the end of the day what matters to me is if the site works. If I can't get a solution resolved in a standards-compliant way, I don't lose any sleep. My main concern is that the site works in the major browsers (I check IE 5.x - 7.x, FF, Opera and Safari).

    If it works in those browsers but it happens to fail a validity test, I really don't care.

  • #9
    Master Coder felgall's Avatar
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    You have to decide how closely you want to comply with the standards. The closer you decide to compy the more work you will have to put into complying and the more accessible your page will be leading to more visitors. It is a tradeoff between the time spent making it comply and the number of visitors who can use it once it is built.

    The accesskey rule was written before browsers stared assigning functions to every key on the keyboard. The standards are not as up to date in some sections as they could be. You need to review them in respect to the visitors you want to receive.
    Stephen
    Learn Modern JavaScript - http://javascriptexample.net/
    Helping others to solve their computer problem at http://www.felgall.com/

    Don't forget to start your JavaScript code with "use strict"; which makes it easier to find errors in your code.

  • #10
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    All my codes are completely XHTML 1.1 and CSS Valid. It makes me happy and makes the code look nice.

    I only have one page on my site that is not XHTML 1.1 valid, and thats only because of that damn Paypal code. I could probability fix it but..... i dont feel like it.

    BTW, the pages are in text/html and not application/xhtml+xml. Stupid IE.
    Not much, but its something.

  • #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sman5109 View Post
    All my codes are completely XHTML 1.1 and CSS Valid.
    Sorry to break it to you, but it would appear that none of your XHTML1.1 are compliant, precisely becauseÖ

    the pages are in text/html and not application/xhtml+xml. Stupid IE.
    You should either employ content negotiation to serve the site as a/x+x to those UAs which can handle it and as XHTML 1.0 or HTML 4.01 to UAs which can't.
    OrÖ come down to XHTML 1.0 Strict, which permits the use of text/html mime-type as a legitimate fallback mime-type.

    The spec doesn't permit XHTML 1.1 to be served using a non-XML mime-type. As such, whilst your markup may be superficially valid (as far as the limitations of the validators can tell), none of your pages are compliant.


    Why did you opt for XHTML 1.1?


    All that aside, it may (or may not be) compliant, but it falls short in the ways which have been mentioned already.
    The markup you've used fails to honour the sentiment of good, semantic coding in several ways.

    I don't say this to burst your bubble, but it might be an idea not to rest too easy simply because the validator isn't yet smart enough to identify your markup as non-compliant or semantically dubious in parts.


    Consider this a friendly dig in the ribs.
    Last edited by Bill Posters; 07-10-2007 at 08:42 AM.

  • #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Posters View Post
    Sorry to break it to you, but it would appear that none of your XHTML1.1 are compliant, precisely becauseÖ



    You should either employ content negotiation to serve the site as a/x+x to those UAs which can handle it and as XHTML 1.0 or HTML 4.01 to UAs which can't.
    OrÖ come down to XHTML 1.0 Strict, which permits the use of text/html mime-type as a legitimate fallback mime-type.

    The spec doesn't permit XHTML 1.1 to be served using a non-XML mime-type. As such, whilst your markup may be superficially valid (as far as the limitations of the validators can tell), none of your pages are compliant.


    Why did you opt for XHTML 1.1?


    All that aside, it may (or may not be) compliant, but it falls short in the ways which have been mentioned already.
    The markup you've used fails to honour the sentiment of good, semantic coding in several ways.

    I don't say this to burst your bubble, but it might be an idea not to rest too easy simply because the validator isn't yet smart enough to identify your markup as non-compliant or semantically dubious in parts.


    Consider this a friendly dig in the ribs.
    I know its not 100% valid because of that. And i made it XHTML 1.1 so it can be futureproof. So someday, when microsoft decides to add support for that mime type or decides to scrap IE i just have to change one simple line in my server and it will be the right mime type.
    Not much, but its something.

  • #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sman5109 View Post
    I know its not 100% valid because of that. And i made it XHTML 1.1 so it can be futureproof. So someday, when microsoft decides to add support for that mime type or decides to scrap IE i just have to change one simple line in my server and it will be the right mime type.
    Öwhereas, if it you used a XHTML 1.0 Strict doctype, you'd have to changed how many lines? Throw in some content negotiation and it will automatically serve the a/x+x mime-type as and when more UAs come onboard.

    Despite it being a sign of the zeal of early XHTML (over-)enthusiasts, I understand the logic behind you thinking that XHTML1.1 makes it more future proof, but do you really not intend to alter the markup in the next 5-10 years, which is probably a realistic timeline for these things to become a critical issue.

    If XML is the way the web decides to go (*cough*HTML5*frown**cough*), then XHTML1.0 is going to be supported for many, many, many years to come. So, as said, unless you're planning not to change your markup for the next decade, you're not realistically any more future proof using XHTML1.1 than you are using XHTML1.0 Strict.

    Being valid to XHTML1.1, your markup will already be valid to XHTML1.0 Strict. If you were to change your doctype to XHTML1.0 Strict, not only would you be technically compliant, but you wouldn't have to throw in caveats to supposedly stop chumps like me taking potshots at your claims.

    Still, I guess that still leaves me the questionable semantics of some of your markup.


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