The history of web standards and accessibility

Knowing how the web has evolved can help us avoid repeating old mistakes as we move forward. Reading an article like Roberto Scano's A Journey Through Accessibility will take you on a journey from the release of HTML 3.2 in 1997 to the current situation in 2006, ending with Roberto sharing his vision of the web's future.

To me, reading the article made it very clear how different the web is now from when I coded my first lines of HTML in 1994.

Roberto introduces a new (to me anyway) concept in this article: WYSIWOYS. Instead of "WYSIWYG" (What You See Is What You Get), "WYSIWOYS" means "What You See Is What Only You See". This refers to the inaccessibility of web applications and most current WYSIWYG HTML editors, the inaccessibility of web content and documents produced for the web, and the general poor knowledge of web standards among the people responsible for adding content to websites.

Robert also points to the preamble in the HTML 4.01 Transitional DTD which makes it very clear that Authors should use the Strict DTD when possible. I brought this up in a recent discussion on The target attribute and opening new windows, where some people were defending the use of Transitional doctypes.

Back to the point of this post: A Journey Through Accessibility is a very interesting article, especially for people who have been building websites since the mid-nineties.

Posted on April 25, 2006 in Quicklinks, Accessibility, Web Standards