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Cathay Pacific: XHTML?

Adaptive Path had a lot - I’m not sure how much - input to this project”

Has anyone been over to the new Cathay Pacific site? It does look nice and I found it on a site plug from Firewheel Design last week so I had quite high expectations. After all - its Cathay Pacific! Y’know bigtime. What’s also bigtime is the legendary crew over at Adaptive Path had a lot - I’m not sure how much - input to this project.

From the little guy - me - in the backwoods I’d like to mention a couple of little things where Cathay Pacific’s new redesign fails dismally. I’d regard Cathay Pacific as a sacred cow in the industry simply because it was touched by the almighty hands of Adaptive Path by the way. I’m sure we’ll see very little criticism of their site on standardista blogs. Fortunately I’m irreverent when it comes to this…

The validator spits out 370 validator errors on the english language home page with a brave XHTML 1.0 Doctype! That’s 370 and we aren’t talking ampersands. There are missing alt attributes on images, nobody has figured out onClick should be onclick in XHTML, elements aren’t closed properly, id gets redefined multiple times on the page, tables using bgColor, orphaned end tags for table rows - it makes my eyes sore looking through the 545 instances of the validator’s output.

Why put an XHTML 1.0 Strict Doctype on something if its never intended to meet the specification? I’m perplexed at this especially due to the Adaptive Path element of the equation.

Have a look at the source code - its almost entirely except for a few final lines a javascript tome. In fact and of course the page is worthless without JavaScript enabled.

I could sit here all day bitching about Cathay Pacific and the way the web standards community might be reticent to point to its own - but apart from the rather pleasant facade I’m stretched to see how it can’t be noticed. Cathay Pacific are a high enough profile to appear on the WaSP radar I’d expect. With any luck Joe Clark will pick it up for his failed redesign series but beyond that I expect most of the standardistas will tell Adaptive Path they did a mighty fine job flying the banner.

Does this sound like a harsh appraisal of a very successful big gun in the industry? If its not true, if any of its not true, feel free to explain how in future iterations of the site they’re going to throw out the tables, JavaScript, and all of the hoo-ha. I’ll listen.

Or is it because validation has had a kick in the arse in the future Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2 so it will no longer be necessary?

No the validator isn’t the be all and end all of the evaluation but its a great tool for looking under the hood at the nuts and bolts that drive a site like this. In short Cathay Pacific - the redesign is crap. Enjoy your pats on the back from the web community at large but I see you for the spiritless entity you’ve become. Asta la vista baby.

Oh and just change that Doctype back to a HTML Transitional and you’re over many of those validation errors. Why be an imposter when its so obvious what you really coded?

Update: 2/6/06
I should add that Adaptive Path’s new blog is well worth bookmarking. Paul Graham’s essay, linked to from their page - The Power of the Marginal - was one of the best reads I’ve had in a long time. If you’re a small outsider you need to read this one.

The Cathay Pacific web site is inaccessible and nowhere near XHTML

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