Yesterday I was lucky enough to have lunch with Peter, the guy behind standards-schmandards.com. Why lucky? Except for the facts that he’s a smart and knowledgeable guy, and also the guy behind the Fangs Sreen Reader Emulator extension for Firefox, he told me an intriguing story.
It was about Support-EAM, whose object is:
…to create an e-Accessibility Quality Mark for Web services, as part of the Action Plan eEurope 2005: An information society for all.
The problem with Support-EAM is the example they set with their own web site. Although mostly valid, it’s not that accessible. Let me take care of a common misunderstanding here: just because a web site/page validates doesn’t mean it’s accessible. One crucially important factor in making it accessible is writing semantic code.
Their web site is a table-based layout, there’s no skip links present (although they might not be that necessary in this case) and there are places were headings aren’t written out using the correct
h1...h6 elements. There are also a number of inline styles and script blocks that don’t have any comments around them to allow them to be hidden.
Although, it has to be said that their web site has been updated since Peter first visited them, they now use list elements for lists of links, heading tags in some places etc. But what I’m going for here is that such a big project that will affect the whole European Union must be as close to perfect as possible when it comes to setting the bar for others.
Am I overdoing it, or you don’t generally agree with my points of criticism? Or do I actually have a point? Let me know.