[access-uk] Re: On Accessibility and the Lack of Proper HTML | Ian Devlin

  • From: Shaun O'Connor <capricorn8159@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 5 Jan 2016 11:37:24 +0000

Nicely put, I suspect another reason why web developerss don't consider accessibility a high priority is because, especially of late, there has been a move towards a closed model(particularly with HTML5),

there has also been over reliance on ready built templates using software that either hides, or obfuscates the underlying HTML,( I have visited a few sites, used the show source capability in my browser only to find the source cannot be read).
The new crop of tags and methods in HTML5 which have been hailed as a milestone in the development of HTML has baked into it the option of including DRM directly within the markup. thus diminishing the much vaunted open nature of HTML this "feature" is included at the behest of the "entertainment" industry..

one may argue that the DRM issue is irrelevant to the argument but I beg to disagree on that point.here's why.

suppose a user comes across a site that cannot be accessed due to "poor" construction. he or she can contact the site owner, sure but there's a problem, the code might be licensed from a third party by the site owner, that third party may have locked the code so the site owner cannot make alterations , so the site owner is then in the position of relying on the code owner to do the right thing, chances are the code owner ( especially if they represent the"entertainment" industry) will probably then charge a hefty incident fee to have the code corrected..

this leads to another issue not directly related to accessibility , the new HTML developments are capable of delving very deeply into YOUR system , thus rendering potentially sensitive data quite vulnerable. and by extension, the degree of autonomy you have over YOUR computer, the item YOU paid for, in essence we are moving away from ownership to , essentially rental( and an increasingly onerous one at that) with tighter restriction on what we can and cannot do with technology WE pay for.

On 05/01/2016 10:24, Gordon Keen (Redacted sender gordonkeen for DMARC) wrote:

Round of applause please ladies and gentlemen.


On Accessibility and the Lack of Proper HTML


When Ethan Marcotte first wrote about responsive web design 
<http://alistapart.com/article/responsive-web-design> back in May 2010, the 
development world cheered, embraced what he said, and went forth and built sites 
responsively. This, of course, was a good thing, as making websites available to more 
people, regardless of their screen size is fundamental in making the web accessible 
to all. But wait. There’s that word; accessibility.

That one word can make web developers scream and run for cover or turn a deaf 
ear and a blind eye (no puns intended) in its general direction. Making sites 
accessible is also very important, but no matter how many people, regardless of 
who they are, talk about the importance of making websites more accessible, 
they are largely ignored. No-one cheers, no-one embraces what is said, and many 
don’t bother to build their sites with accessibility in mind.

But why is this? Why do developers ignore those who would benefit from their 
websites being more accessible? Are they not people too? Do they really want to 
actively shun these people from accessing their website’s content and use it 
the way that they need? Is this a conscious decision made by web developers? Is 
it laziness? Ignorance? Fear? Or do developers simply decide that the number of 
people who would benefit from such accessibility are, like IE8 users, simply 
not worth the hassle?

It’s hard to know exactly, but I feel that fear and ignorance play a large part 
in this, with many developers thinking that making their sites more accessible 
is a huge chore, and they’d rather spend their time building their websites in 
the latest (probably inaccessible) JavaScript framework instead. But it’s not 
as difficult as it needs to be, and starting at the fundamentals can go a long 

As web developers, we should care about the markup we write. Ignoring, for the 
moment, things like WAI-ARIA, using the correct HTML tags and attributes to 
present content can vastly improve the accessibility of a website. It is 
surprising to see how many web developers are not even aware of all the valid 
HTML tags that are available for them to use, nor are they aware of how and 
when they should be used. This should be one of the fundamental things that a 
web developer learns, and yet it is often severely lacking.

By properly learning and understanding HTML, this foundation of web 
development, developers can help ensure that their content is provided in such 
a way that it can be correctly interpreted by tools that can then communicate 
the information to their users in whatever form they require. Each individual 
using such tools may use this information in different ways, but they can 
choose, in the same way as those of us who use the information as displayed in 
the browser can. It’s all about choice and all web users, regardless of how 
they access the information are entitled to it.

Browsers also provide a lot of default accessibility “out of the box” when content is contained 
within semantic HTML. When, for example, you use a <button> tag for a button rather than a 
<div> or a <span>, the browser automatically makes this focusable and clickable by 
the keyboard, without the need for anything extra. It just works. How can this be a bad thing? 
Why isn’t this also being embraced? Is it too boring? Is it not cool enough? Again it’s difficult 
to know the real reasons behind developer apathy when it comes to accessibility. But it does need 
to change.

There are plenty of people out there who advocate accessibility, and who have 
been doing so for many years, yet, so far there has been no break through 
article such as Ethan’s responsive web design one mentioned above that has 
captured the web developer’s imagination in the same way.

I hope this changes soon as the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages, and 
those who rely on us as web developers to make web content more accessible are 
depending on us. I emplore you not to let them down.
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