Why we don’t need web standards.
Just the title is controversial, I know, I know. I’m probably going to get myself in trouble with well… everyone I follow on Twitter with my personal account, except for maybe a couple web developers.
When I found out the W3C approved a DRM spec for HTML 5, I was thinking who could make such a ridiculously stupid decision like that? We don’t need organizations that place extra regulations on the web and how it works. A set of universal design principles would work just fine. I’ve seen my own sites fail to validate. It’s ironic that this happens because well… I’m a screen reader user. You’d think that my sites would be 100% compliant right? Lol, think again! It was about 11 years ago when I realized standards just don’t work.
We have to keep in mind that accessibility is relative, for blind people more than most. When it comes to deaf people, usually they need closed captioning and that’s pretty much it. For us, it does depend on how proficient you are with your screen reader. Just as an example, I needed to change my email address on a friend’s mailing list, she told me that she didn’t think any blind person could do it. Once I found my password, I had it done in like 30 seconds. It’s hard to account for everyone in standards like this, and that’s why there are a tun of them and most developers either can’t or don’t want to take the time to study them, including me when I was going through PHP training.
A set of universal design principles and/or guidelines would be fine, but forcing sites to validate to comply with some imaginary regulations that don’t exist as of yet is well, just a waste of time. Yeah, I said regulations that don’t exist. As of yet, there’s no ADA amendment that mandates web access. I hope there never is one simply because it would cause most small services and/or personal sites to not exist anymore. I understand there’s a bit of effort to make a site accessible, and that it becomes a lot more laborious, and a huge pain in the backside when you have to retrofit your site. Most blogs and/or side projects would simply be abolished if retrofitting suddenly became a legal requirement.
I think the W3C should be mostly done away with, and the public, (including me,) should get the chance to vote on and set universal design guidelines that aren’t mandatory. The W3C can make suggestions to the guidelines, just as everyone should be able to. I could be naive here when assuming that most companies would follow the principles, and those that don’t would soon fall by the wayside. Then again, this whole thing could just be a bit of Libertarian optimism on my part.