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Thread: Did I Earn the AAA?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Nottingham NH

    Did I Earn the AAA?

    Hello all,

    To the best of my knowledge, an experimental website of mine -- my first go at using divs and css only, actually -- www.Green-Beast.com, has passed all of the W3C AI AAA compliance standards. I did a lot more than make the icon say okay at Bobby's, put it that way. I went through all of the user-checks in all three Priorities and felt I was able able to fix, make-so, give-the-nod-to, or justify everything. One justification, perhaps the largest gray area, is the lack of a link called "site map" but the site is two pages and an index and it is very clearly marked as just that throughout the site. (Note: I plan to re-do the index (splash), I don't particlaurly care for it. It's not good enough graphically and I need to remove a div to make the site render in the proper sequence when styles are removed and make it friendlier with one less scrollbar. It should meet the standards all the same and it is keyboard navigable.)

    I consider the site itself better, more worth seeing. MAIN and CONTACT. Perhaps I should have put a "Site Map" link on the index, but the way the site was designed (the index being where one merely picks the CSS style they prefer really) it would really defeat the purpose in my opinion.

    I was referred to this forum by Jona (you know him, Murderator with almost 9000 posts) during a decent exchange about this very site. If you wish to view this conversation, here is the thread link - Sorry, no accesskey provided. Opens in a new window.

    Your comments here, or there, are appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    XYZZY - UK
    No it is not WCAG AAA it is far from it if you just read the checkpoints it is highly likely you will not understand AAA many people misinterpret that fact.

    It is essential that fully you understand:


    Before you even attempt to push for AAA, why on earth are you using .special { font-size: 12pt} ? That's not a relative unit it's not even pseudo relative for the screen.

    I'd be surprised if you even reach WCAG AA, sorry to be so blunt but you have to work a lot harder than just look at the checklist before you appreciate what AAA means.

    This site: http://www.xhtmlcoder.com/worthvalley/ only just reaches A it would be easy for me to get it AA. However if you wanted to be ultra strict on about two priority checkpoints you could say my WV site is bordering A. Which, I could retro fit one by using a title attribute on the h1 and the other by CSS for the font-style and text-decoration for the hyperlinks.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Nottingham NH
    Thank you Robert. I appreciate the links and post reply. I have gleaned just from your post alone that using non-standard classes in the CSS is a no-no. Fair enough. I will check out the links you provided and try to discover what other areas I fall short in. Unless you feel like going into a little more detail here. That'd be cool too. Every littl ebit helps. If you do, please focus on the site proper and not the index. The site proper is my concern. The index will be changed.

    I read so much stuff at W3C about this. One of the problems I can see is that the information is wide and deep. I was side-tracked then lost so many times it's almost not funny. Couple that with a dry writing style and way too many inline links, well, it makes the gathering of good intel difficult at best at times. It seemed as if it all stemmed back to the W3CAI page and its checks, which as you probably know, is where I got the majority of my info.

    Another problem I see is it's too damn easy -- thanks to validators and listed user checks -- to be lulled into a false sense of accomplishment in meeting the standards. I suspect there are more non-qualifiers waving the icon than not. I do have this question for you: CSS Zen Garden... do they earn their AAA? I didn't think so at the time, but was unsure. I tried to surpass what they did in some of those areas. I emulated them in others. I need to know if I'm barking up the wrong tree so to speak. They have been my main inspiration.

    I had so many people check out my site. Web gurus, a person who uses accessibilites features, and a lot of designers. They all came back with the same comment. "I'll be damned GB, you really pulled it off. Way to go. It couldn't have been easy as it is plain to see how much effort went behind this." They're right in that regard. This, even done wrong, was big undertaking. I have also learned from many comments of those who checked that most web develeopers couldn't care less about standards, xhtml, AAA, nothing. Kind of sad and discouraging. Build a site... next, build a site... next, and so on.

    This last thing leads me to a comment I must make to you since you are obviously passionate and very knowledgeable about this (Jona said you'd be the one to reply if no others do): Robert, as I wrote, this was my first attempt. This was also my third CSS (I've been doing this web stuff as a side thing since June 2004 and I went through a brief table and font tag phase as well of course). So you do not have to apologize for being blunt. I asked for this and don't want to hear lies or get misinformation. I am a big boy (old fart to some). I will, however, be candid with you. I was a bit disappointed that you didn't offer me any encouragement. As I wrote, most don't even care. Whereas I did, and will continue to (though I'm on the fence right now). But I made an honest attempt here, hours upon hours of work and study, and I tried to use integrity. I do not want to display an icon I don't earn as that's a joke. And when I get some time to get back to this site (to re-do the index, it is the worst violator I'd guess -- you didn't say) I will attempt to correct all that is wrong with it if doable, or remove the claim. I'm being candid here: What you wrote is great stuff and I am most appreciative, but as a human being with emotions, as good or as bad as that may be, I feel discouragement right now as you didn't offer anything remotely lifting. Sorry to whine.

    Of course you don't have to comment on this at all, but if you could answer my question about CSS Zen Garden and barking up trees, that would be great. Moreover, if you can provide a few links to styled sites which which do honestly make it, so I may learn through seeing working example, that would be extremely helpful.

    Thank you.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    XYZZY - UK
    Zen Garden is a complete Joke regarding the "web accessibility cause", it has inadvertently damaged it, anyway they are using the robot Bobby Validator ratings.

    It may be a five-star for interesting CSS-P but that's about all, there are very few of those design layouts that could be considered accessible unless the CSS was completely disabled.

    That kind of defeats the object it should be a last resort to have to disable the CSS or have the user override it. Remember many users may not be too bright or familiar with the browser interface and know how to disable CSS and in most cases why should they so they can read the contents?

    Yes, the Checkpoints are complex but if just read like a checklist it is very easy to get the "false sense of security" many sites could tick those boxes purely from the checklist and believe they are passing with flying colours (as you have found out from the previous comments of your many friends).

    Don't worry, I probably didn't sound encouraging because I see a lot of 'professional' people slap on AAA that think they are AAA. Also many will dispute that they are even after they ask for constructive criticism and have it clearly pointed out were they fall short of AA.

    You have to take it for granted I encourage people to embrace web accessibility. As for WCAG AAA sites I'd be hard pressed to find many out there, or know of the more genuine ones.

    A reasonable attempt at AA would be: http://www.autisticcuckoo.net/about/...essibility.php
    Last edited by Robert Wellock; 01-24-2005 at 07:31 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Nottingham NH
    Thank you for your reply, Robert, and the link as well. I will study that site. I then need to get to my site and make some serious changes (removing the misleading icons to begin with).

    That's real a letdown about the Zen Garden but I completely expected the answer you gave. In the process of studying that site for guidance and inspiration, when conducting accessibility checks on my own site, I started coming up with unanswerable questions about that theirs and their rating. Things were amiss, they didn't make sense, and I was pretty sure at that point that it wasn't a leigtimate claim. That's a huge dissapointment. For one thing they have very publicly positioned themslves as ones who give guidance and inspiration as they did for me (which in my eyes obligates them to the straight and narrow). For another, simply out of respect and consideration for those who need these accessibilites features, this isn't something which should be taken lightly and/or trivialized.

    Thanks, again, for your reply. I have some work to do.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    XYZZY - UK
    Well, basically they were aiming at Bobby A rating and testing against the original markup though the marketing language they used kind of confuses most people.

    Many of the designs are good though they tend to fall down in certain small areas which could have been easily prevented – even the example sample CSS didn't offer a generic font-family – simple alterations would hardly have altered the design creativity.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Nottingham NH
    They didn't? I didn't pick up on that. If one tries to validate a CSS without generic styles if won't even pass I didn't think, or it will but the validator will instruct you to finish the job.

    I'm probably asking for a lot, Robert, too much maybe, but if you wouldn't mind, if could you possibly check out my site proper Main and Contact pages and give me a few specifics it'd be great. I get the feeling you could save me years of reading.

    Here are some specific page links (it's a two page site with lots of user options):

    Main page "Original" version (normal text)
    Contact page "Original" version (normal text)
    Main page "Original" version (large text)
    Contact page "Original" version (large text):

    Main page "Gangsta" version (normal text)
    Contact page "Gangsta" version (normal text)
    Main page "Gangsta" version (large text)
    Contact page "Gangsta" version (large text):

    All of these have the same exact content and all come together in the index, but that page has bigger issues and needs redoing from the ground up. If I turn the styles off on that page it is a bit confusing, whereas the other pages sans styles are great web pages that make ordered sense.

    Thank you very much.
    Last edited by &gb;; 01-24-2005 at 01:18 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    XYZZY - UK
    I see a Pretty Girl, or think I do. However the part below her has very minute text going on the lines of: site design… hosted by… I assume that is not purely decorational?

    If it isn't then it could be an issue.

    The logo probably is alright in that it has an alt.

    I don't know whether the little GB 'Green-Beast' icons really need a alt they seem more decorative than anything else I'd probably use null alt.

    The content seems reasonable but I would prefer a larger text to begin with as the background image is fighting the low contrast.

    You really need to use the <kbd> element for the CTRL and ALT you use also more white space between the paragraphs would help some users.

    Many of the <acronym> you have used are actually <abbr>

    The <acronym title="A salutation... like hello"> Yo!</acronym> is either a <code> sample or a quotation use the <code> element.

    The footer somehow looks a little too verbose and could confuse certain groups also remember new windows aren't really suitable for AAA for A yes and perhaps AA at a push. I don't feel you need to display "XHTML-w | CSS-s | AAA-v | AAAB-a | 508-u | BOOKMARK-r (requires JS) | TOP-n (requires JS)" like you have done they aren't really the most important links to have as accesskey. Remember try to stick to numbers only for access keys to stop conflicts with assistive UA and the OS, etc.

    You might find this useful: http://www.standards-schmandards.com...ngs-release-05 even though it is not a substitute.

    That's all I have time to check for today.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Nottingham NH
    That's awesome Robert. Thank you very much.

    I had tried <abbr>, but for some reason it seems it wasn't recognized (by MSIE) as well as it was with Firefox and the other good browsers out there. That's why I went with <acronym>. I assumed it was more important to show it for what it wasn't versus having it not show for what it was if that makes sense. I take there is more importance in the accuracy of tags than I fiugured. I will check out that link.

    *Some time passes then edit added*

    EDIT: I donwloaded and installed Fangs. Thanks for that link. I checked all of my sites. The Green-Beast one in particular, of course. I can see where unimportant alt text gets in the way, I was trying to follow the letter of the law by not nullifying them. If it's cool I'd love to go back and do that. I'd much rather put alt="" over alt="silly bullet icon".

    I did make a really useful observation, though (on one of the other sites): Section ( &sect; ), paragraph ( &para; ), ndash ( &ndash; ), mdash ( &mdash; ), et. al... well these symbols show up as symbols and not as text (ie, a regular dash - appears as "dash"). This could be very useful in making the page understandable by separating bodies of content with symbols, and if needed, I could make them invisible to the web browser, but viewable on a text browser. I wish it kept spacing but I guess there's nothing I can do about that so this seems like a really useful thing.

    Regarding that "hosted by" image/text you mention: I had to think about it. It is indeed purely for decorative purposes (silly perhaps). If I'm right, it's not even viewable on an 800x600 resolution monitor as the left side is static so you can't even scroll. The information presented there is redundant, though, as it appears as plain text in the footer, so the data contained therein is still presented to the viewer. Yep, it is important. Following the standards, I used no images or colors for navagational or to present information. The bullets next to links are, of course, are only being used as separators.

    The pages work very well without styles applied (the index is not well-ordered; one reason I plan to change it completely). But the Fangs application cast a new light for me. Thanks for that Robert.

    By the way, if you care to give me more when you get the time, I am all ears.
    Last edited by &gb;; 01-25-2005 at 02:48 PM.

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