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Re: Conformance claims - impact on requirements

From: Denis Boudreau <dboudreau@accessibiliteweb.com>
Date: Thu, 29 Sep 2011 10:05:00 -0400
Message-id: <75AAFB1B-8207-43A7-B87A-E2596A7B59E5@accessibiliteweb.com>
To: Eval TF <public-wai-evaltf@w3.org>
Hi all,

I thought I'd share a little bit of our experience with this over the past two or three years or so.

We've been certifying websites for accessibility for a few years now and while we always tried to follow the Conformance claims section of WCAG 2.0 (<http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/#conformance-claims>), we've often run into situations where it proved difficult to do this in the "real world".

First, I think it is really important to point out that in order to talk about a conformance claim, even though WCAG 2.0 is developed to be technology-agnostic, we need to be talking about HTML pages/content. When I suggested a few weeks ago that we add a preliminary evaluation step to our methodology, I was pretty much applying a part of the wisdom we've gathered over the years on this. Most of that wisdom came from clients needs, but also from that section from WCAG 2.0.

Now, onto Detlev's email:

On 2011-09-23, at 6:17 AM, Detlev Fischer wrote:

> If I interpret all this correctly, what is at least needed is
> 1 a time stamp of the claim
>  (R: so this must be documented as the test is completed)

If I understand correctly what you think you understand correctly (yeah, I know!), time stamps are really important because they allow an evaluator issuing the claim to tell exactly when the evaluation was made.

Two things qe've learned about this:

Don't make this claim valid over a period of time. We used to say the claim vas valid for a period of one year from the moment the certificate was given, but this turned out to be a mistake. As we all know, websites can degrade very fast and even though a website can come out compliant when launched, it can rapidly deteriorate afterwards. So it's best just to issue a note saying something like: "this website was certified to be in conformance with xyz standard on yyyy/mm/dd".

Also, always make sure to keep a copy of the source code that was audited, in case somebody comes back afterwards. Again, websites evolve very rapidly, so there's no telling when things will change. We all want to make sure we're talking about the same thing, so saving sources is a real life saver.

> 2 the scope given in a URL to an entire site or a section (or several) thereof
>  (R: a URI defining the scope is needed, presumably including all and any states that might be called up dynamically on any URI within that scope - correct??)

At least the base url, yes. Or at the very least, the domain. 

As we're working with a sample of pages in our case, we can always tell which pages were audited at any given time. 

As we're usually doing more than one round of evaluation, we change a portion of that sample at random so we can see if the organization actually fixed the problems on other pages as well, not just the ones that were audited in the first place.

> 3 The Level of conformance of the claim: A, AAA, or AAA 
>  (R: The methodology must accommodate tests bound to any one of the three levels: A, AA, or AAA)

Absolutely. Though it's usually AA, it's important to know what the site was measured against.

Tine to run off to the conference call now!

Received on Thursday, 29 September 2011 14:05:35 UTC

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