AccessU 09

I’ve come to think of this conference as a web standards and best practices conference.

A few, not all, highlights

  • HTML 5 will be the next doctype for web standards. XHTML is going away since its benefits aren’t getting used (browsers…). So, for now, use the HTML 4.01 Strict doctype. Edit 7-7-2009: I know what you’re thinking. See Jeffrey Zeldman’s article defending XHTML 1.0, right after XHTML 2.0’s going away announcement. Short story: we’ll stick with XHTML 1.0 for now. Use strict when not impractical, transitional otherwise. btw, Jeremy Keith has a good overview of all this.
  • IE 8: some seriously strange problems with its compatibility modes. Short answer (and there’s no short answer really), for now: design with tight web standards and don’t add MS’s suggested meta tag.
  • There are many standards for accessible forms that I was not aware of. Example—here’s how to semantically connect a label with its associated input:
    <label for="dogname">Dog's Name</label>
    <input name="name" id="dogname" size="30" />
  • Simple semantic stuff I needed reminding of:
    • only one h1 per page (I think there was discussion of this in past years; that appears over), and it’s the title of that individual page
    • h tags must be used successively; i.e., if you use an h4 tag, you must have at least one h2 and one h3 on the page
  • The new 508 and state accessibility requirements (coming this fall? Sept. 1?) will be close to the same as the WCAG 2.0. Overview—content must be:
    • technology-agnostic
    • perceivable
    • operable
    • understandable (for non-traditional browsers; e.g., a ‘more info’ link whose content can’t be perceived by screen readers isn’t acceptable)
    • robust

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