I’ve been fiddling with accessibility standards and validation today. It’s something I’ve been doing for several years now on many different types of web applications. So today it was time for my blog to go through validation and it almost did.
First, I started out with the Section 508 standard, which as far as I know only applies in the US, but nevertheless it is an accessibility standard and I know it is much more forgiving than WAI. It passed the Section 508 without I had to change anything, so that was easy.
Then it was time for the WAI validation. It is not as forgiving as Section 508 and in Europe all public websites have to be valid WAI double A, which is the medium accessibility grade. I ran the Bobby validator and it didn’t even validate for single A. However, that was an easy fix.
Then I moved on to WAI double A and ran into serious trouble. It validated except for this rule: Do not use the same link phrase more than once when the links point to different URLs. This is impossible to fix, because at the bottom of each post there is a Permalink, Post RSS and Comments link which are almost the same for each post even though they point to different locations. Also, some tags are the same as a category, but again, they point to different locations.
Sticking with WAI A
So, I was left with a choice. I could change the text of the links or accept that my blog does not validate WAI double A. The problem is, that you cannot have triple A valid markup if you don't pass the double A validation. I came to the conclusion that renaming the links would be ugly and do more harm than not validating, so it all ended right there. I have to settle for a single A and a Section 508 valid website. It could be worse.
Then I saw that W3C has released a beta version of their new markup validator, so I decided to give it a go. As I hoped, my blog validated perfectly XHTML 1.0 Transitional. I was then pointed to the Semantic Data Extractor which exposes the semantics of a webpage to give you a clear picture of how the text is structured. Here is the semantics of my blog. It looks quite nice I guess.
I like validating markup and always have. It has some meditative quality about it.