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Liquid or gas?

I am a newsgroup junkie. I throw myself into debates and discussions, often thinking I've got something clever to say. I have to admit to being a bit naive this way. I think that if I believe in something, I must have something to say, right? Well, very wrong indeed.

Without too much ado I'll present the case; If you know about WAI and accessibility and still choose not to implement them (fully or in part) in your site, I think that you're an unconciderate and unpolite figure, quite similar to people on the bus who won't give their seat to elderly people.

Now, is that me being an ureasonable guy? Some think that it is, and lately more think this than those who don't.

Hole at the bottom or at the top?

This of course gets me thinking about what is wrong with my opinion. Clearly, I'm hitting some nerve with people, and as far as I can see, I'm hitting these nerves specifically;

My site already works for most people, and you're saying that all the hard work I've put in is crap.

Well, no, a lot of people tend to think that the WAI stands in the way of doing what they're already doing. As a general rule, no, but if you're site do need som rewriting to please the WAI gods, then you had - in my opinion, of course - a rather poor solution to begin with.

WAI is not a law.

Both yes and no; most sites in the world today don't have to care two hoots about user accessibility, and companies themselves choose wheter to follow the WAI standards or not. However, certain countries (the USA, specifically) have passed laws that says that any official site (governmental, state or governmentally funded institutions, or otherwise afflicted) must be accessible to all. The development of this is slow, but is well under way. Both the EU and other countries are evaluating if they should pass similar laws.

You can't have a cool graphical profile and WAI at the same time. Can't be done!

I've heard it over and over, but I still havn't seen a single example of how this really is. I've asked people to clearify it to me, showing me examples of this, but I have still not seen it. Where is it? Everybody keeps talking about it, and it is one of the biggest arguments against the WAI, should one would think that it should be really easy to cough up a few examples, no? Well, I still havn't seen any. (I'll post them here if I get some) I've got a sneaky suspecion that it all comes down to how people use tables for design (which is bad in itself), but even with tables it is easy to make them speak WAI. Maybe it is because they all only are aware of the TD-tag, and feel scared of things like TBODY, THEAD, TH, and the like? And those dreaded summary-elements! Must be scary stuff. In fact, the whole argument is a myth. See this page for more on this.

My pages are too complex to get WAI in there.

Yes, granted; your pages are poorly designed, or you've got some crap tools to do them with. (I guess I just scored another "you're an idiot" point or two) What people don't understand is that HTML never was meant to be hand-coded, but generated by tools (or so the theory goes), but because of the old browser-wars and the lack of standard way of doing things, the famous tag-soup of most sites from 1996 and up until quite recently (and still by some) had to be hand-coded to avoid browser-bugs, HTML-bloat and poorly designed structures. The whole idea of HTML 4.01/XHTML 1.0 and CSS separation is to make all our lives simpler, taking away the complexity that we think we must have in order to get our pages according to our profile.

Your own pages suck. Why should we listen to you?

You don't have to listen to me at all, and I'm sorry that you think my pages suck. I like them, but my opinion in this is quite pointless. The majority of complaints comes down to my use of tables and fixed-width in my default design. Yes, I admit to the heresy, and even admitting to maybe sending off the wrong signals in the process. However, they are this way because of lack of support in those browsers who are still in use by the majority of surfers today. Once those statistics go down a notch, I'll change the default design to one of the others. And that is the funny bit; my pages comes in several flavours. Just choose the one that fits your current browser. Simple, but obviously not that simple if you want to score cheap points in a debate. And I guess I'll grant them this point to some degree.

You're too focused on validation instead of good feedback!

This is true; if your pages don't validate, I'll make a big point out of it. Why? Because the validation is the only way that can make sure that I'm judging your site the way that works for me. My browser of choice doesn't guesstimate about what you were trying to do; it renders pages just the way you tell them to be rendered, and quite often you get a complete different view than you intended. Microsoft Internet Explorer is such a guesstimating browser that allows you to make errors and create HTML that really doesn't make sense. And that is the key thing to HTML; it is structured, and hence should make perfect sense. Validation is to make sure it makes sense. If you don't make sense, how on earth can you expect a fair judgement on your site? Right; you can't. So validate first, and then ask me why it doesn't work like intended.

You're an idiot!

Yes, a perfectly acceptable conclusion. Glad to have made you feel that you're better than me.

Oh, I could go on, but I really shouldn't. I know of a lot of other people who think like me in these issues, but I don't see them as much in these discussions, and I guess that is the very thing that makes me an idiot; I care enough to get right into the discussion. I really should shut up more.