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It had to happen

Despite the fact that decaffeinated dot org is, and always has been, composed of valid markup, I’ve never bothered (read: gotten around to) advertising the fact with any of those garish little buttons that seem so popular. I have, however, as of now, added such links to the very bottom of the page; site–wide. Feel free to validate anything and everything you come across. In addition, I’ve added links to Cynthia Says for accessibility testing; I’m privately hoping WaiZilla will be providing a web–based testing service when it’s done, since I’ve made my thoughts on Cynthia known before.

Aside from 508 compliance (which is surprisingly easy to attain… damned lazy US government) I’ve rated the site WAI Double–A compliant… though I’d kill for Triple–A. One personal point of contention for Triple–A is the concept of “ensur[ing] that all information conveyed with color is also available without color, for example from context or markup” being a little hazy to, uh… everybody in the whole fucking world. That’s priority 2 for images, 3 for text, and since images are largely inessential on this site I thought I’d avoid controversy (in regards to link colors… and lack of underlining) for now. On the flip side, “from context or markup” would seemingly make the importance of link color zero; links are marked up as links… obviously.

The thing that’s really keeping me away from a Triple–A rating is a lack of priority 3 tabindex and accesskey attributes throughout this humble domain… something the WAI demands for accessibility, obviously. I should really get on top of that. Interesting to note, though, is the disparity between the official WAI checklist and Cynthia’s own checklist:

the WAI says
Provide keyboard shortcuts to important links (including those in client-side image maps), form controls, and groups of form controls.
Cynthia says
All Anchor, AREA, BUTTON, INPUT, LABEL, LEGEND, and TEXTAREA elements are required to use the 'accesskey' attribute.

…And Cynthia will display a warning unless all of the aforementioned elements have accesskey attributes. There’s a real difference between ‘important links’ and ‘all links’ which I’m afraid Cynthia just isn’t grasping; and once again I’m hoping WaiZilla proves to be smarter than Cynthia.


Interesting to note

After that lengthy rant on Cynthia, WaiZilla, and just a couple of the subtleties of WAI Triple–A ratings (there are plenty more), I found it interesting to note that WaiZilla’s gracious hosts (otherwise known as Designory) claim Triple–A compliance on every page of their site… despite a complete and utter lack of tabindex and accesskey attributes.

Intriguing. I suppose the best part about claiming a certain level of accessibility is that there’s no hard–and–fast way of evaluating that claim. Right now, the human eye is the only half–decent tool for the job… and it’s not like the average end–user could be bothered combing through Designory’s code and running through the WAI checklist, could they?

Another no–no from these self–proclaimed accessible–design–whiz–kids is right there on their accessibility page; see that list of “disabilities that affect internet usage”? It turns out that it’s not a list at all, but a humdrum string of words separated by <br /> tags… a deplorable practice that has already been discussed to death over on the SimpleQuiz.

Aside from that, though, they’ve done a bang–up job with valid XHTML 1.0 Strict and valid CSS. More power to ‘em if they address that little boo–boo in regards to their accessibility rating.