Useful Links: AEGIS, CSS Tables, Validation Report, the state of education

AEGIS (Accessibility Everywhere: Groundwork, Infrastructure, Standards) is a new group focused on accessibility in Europe. On Peter Korn’s blog, he explains,

Today I am more than pleased to share with you news of the AEGIS project, a €12.6m investment in accessibility, with the vast majority of it focused on open source solutions.  It is a major research and development investment in building accessibility into future mainstream Information & Communication Technologies.

Everything you know about CSS is wrong at Digital Web Magazine explains what you will be able to (finally) do with the CSS display:table property when IE8 is released. The article introduces a book by the same name by Rachel Andrew and Kevin Yank from Sitepoint. I’m trying to figure out how to get a copy so I can review it here.

MAMA: Markup validation report: Opera did a study on web standards adoption. The results clearly show the need for a change in the way we teach.

As part of MAMA’s overall analysis process, it ran every URL in its database through the W3C’s markup validator. MAMA was able to validate 3,509,180 URLs in 3,011,661 domains, and only 4.13% of the URL set passed validation (with 4.33% of the domains having at least 1 URL that passed validation).

This is a huge study, there’s lots more information to sift through; please check it out on your own. I remind you that Opera published a standards-based curriculum and the Web Standards Project will soon make public its months of effort in creating a standards-based curriculum. The WaSP curriculum should be publicly available in March 09. If teachers don’t teach standards, students will never understand the importance or use the techniques.

One teaching area that clearly shows up in the study as needing major improvement is the way Dreamweaver is taught. Only 3.4% of sites created with Dreamweaver passed validation. With proper instruction, people can learn to use Dreamweaver to create standards-based code. It’s all in how you use the tool, which  depends on how you were taught to use it. Here’s an old (but still valid) presentation of mine on this topic: Achieve Accessibility with Dreamweaver. This book (a new CS4 version will be out soon) does it right: Mastering CSS with Dreamweaver CS3. And the upcoming version of Dreamweaver CS4 Classroom in a Book will take a standards-based approach to Dreamweaver.

On the other hand, sites made with Apple iWeb passed validation with a whopping 89% success rate. Maybe we should forget about teaching with Dreamweaver and move en masse to iWeb.

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