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RE: definition of website (was Re: Concerns about not covering full website)

From: Boland Jr, Frederick E. <frederick.boland@nist.gov>
Date: Mon, 30 Jan 2012 11:43:46 -0500
To: Shadi Abou-Zahra <shadi@w3.org>, "public-wai-evaltf@w3.org" <public-wai-evaltf@w3.org>
Message-ID: <D7A0423E5E193F40BE6E94126930C49309062E65BC@MBCLUSTER.xchange.nist.gov>
A link to some definition information for "website" that I found:

Is this definition information consistent with what we consider a
website in the context of our methodology?

Thanks and best wishes
Tim Boland NIST

PS - apologies if this has already been posted..

-----Original Message-----
From: Shadi Abou-Zahra [mailto:shadi@w3.org]
Sent: Monday, January 30, 2012 9:18 AM
To: public-wai-evaltf@w3.org
Subject: definition of website (was Re: Concerns about not covering full website)

I agree with Alistair that we may be limiting ourselves in what we
regard to be a "website" and that our definition is quite generic.

I think most of us will agree that we probably do not want arbitrary
collections of pages from a website to be regarded as a sub-site. On the
other hand it seems necessary that our Methodology can also apply to
self-enclosed sub-sites such as applications and organizational
departments. For example, consider these situations:

- a department in an organization is updating the sub-site that they
control, and wants to ensure conformance to WCAG;

- an organization is procuring an application to add to an existing
website, and wants to ensure conformance to WCAG;

I think we need to further explain our definition for website (in the
context of this methodology) and decide if and with which constraints
the definition can also apply to sub-sites.


On 30.1.2012 10:48, Alistair Garrison wrote:
> Dear Eval TF,
> I'm now almost certain we are wanting the evaluation methodology to deliver the same things - a precise method "for evaluating the conformance of websites, sections of websites, and web applications, regardless of size, to WCAG 2.0" (copied from RQ 01 Scope and target audience of the Methodology - http://www.w3.org/WAI/ER/conformance/ED-methodology-reqs-20111012).
> The question I still have is why in the rest of this draft document we have limited ourselves to saying "conformance of entire website", or words to that effect.  With what I have read, I'd go so far as to say that the word 'website' has already become quite a confused term, much, much different from our definition "website - a coherent collection of one or more related web pages that together provide common use or functionality" (again copied from the draft).
> My concern is that in using the term 'website' we have lost sight of what we really meant to say - that our methodology should be able to accommodate the evaluation of "a coherent collection of one or more related web pages that together provide common use or functionality" - backed up by our continued use of the phrase 'regardless of size'.
> The main reason for suggesting the use of WCAG 2.0 Conformance claims was that they already, seemingly, provide an effective way to precisely define a "coherent collection of one or more related web pages that together provide common use or functionality", and have already been adopted by the main WCAG 2.0 WG into the WCAG 2.0 concept / documentation.
> In my opinion, our intensions for the evaluation methodology would be much more precisely captured if we were to change the first line in the scope section of our draft requirements document to possibly read -
> "The main goal is to define an internationally harmonised methodology for evaluating WCAG 2.0 Conformance claims (for entire websites, sections of websites, web applications, whole web pages, etc...)."
> All the best
> Alistair
> On 29 Jan 2012, at 21:06, Kerstin Probiesch wrote:
>> Hi Allistair,
>>> As, only a WCAG 2.0 Conformance claim based
>>> on WCAG 2.0 Conformance evaluation undertaken by an external evaluator
>>> could ever be fully trusted.
>> No. This is not what I'm trying to say. My intention is to have clear
>> requirements and give guidelines for controlled testing situations. The more
>> flexible our methodology is the more - I believe - it is likely that
>> goodness criteria won't be fulfilled. If the evaluator is external or
>> internal is not that much important. More important is: reducing the
>> probability for errors and give guidance for "controlled" test situations.
>> Every type of error could have an impact on the result and on the
>> reliability. The more flexible the more errors - including systematic errors
>> - could come in. As already mentioned: I think some exceptions are necessary
>> and possible.
>> Best
>> Kerstin
>>> All the best
>>> Alistair
>>> On 29 Jan 2012, at 10:28, Kerstin Probiesch wrote:
>>>> Hi Elle, all,
>>>> probably there is a way for some exceptions. But I strongly disagree
>>> with a
>>>> methodology with a scope that is externally defined in general.
>>> Companies
>>>> will always choose the most cheapest way for evaluating the
>>> accessibility of
>>>> their websites or products. But later they want to sell their
>>> products and
>>>> earn money with them. And I'm sure the same is true not only for the
>>> private
>>>> sector. Even the public sector will seize every opportunity for
>>> reducing
>>>> costs. The best way for doing so is: reducing the scope. What if the
>>> next
>>>> website owner says: choose 3 "representative" pages. Than this is the
>>> scope.
>>>> An evaluator will choose those pages and the company or any other
>>> website
>>>> owner can publish a claim that according to this there is 100%
>>> conformance.
>>>> Others will follow, cause it's very cheap, very fast. One can imagine
>>> a lot
>>>> of different scenarios and I fear in the worst case we will come out
>>> with a
>>>> methodology which depends on economic interests of companies. The
>>> question
>>>> is also if a methodology like this evaluates WCAG2 or measure what
>>> companies
>>>> and the public sector want to pay? Will there be a correlation with
>>> WCAG2 or
>>>> merely a correlation with economic interests? Sorry for these
>>> probably
>>>> provocative sentences, but I believe that every negative scenario
>>> which one
>>>> can imagine will happen.
>>>> Anyway and as said before: I also recognize the necessity for some
>>>> exceptions and for some guidelines for special cases but they must be
>>> linked
>>>> to strict conditions. They could be placed in a separate chapter of
>>> our
>>>> methodology:
>>>> # Follow-Up Checks / quality assurance (for website which are already
>>>> evaluated according to our methodology)
>>>> # Portions of website: Shops (as special and even typical cases for
>>> complete
>>>> processes)
>>>> # and probably subdomains (but without permission placing the claim
>>> on any
>>>> other subdomain or main page and with conditions like: a clear and
>>> unique
>>>> separate content which also could be a standalone website)
>>>> Best
>>>> Kerstin
>>>> Von: Elle [mailto:nethermind@gmail.com]
>>>> Gesendet: Samstag, 28. Januar 2012 20:36
>>>> An: Kerstin Probiesch
>>>> Cc: RichardWarren; Alistair Garrison; Martijn Houtepen; Eval TF
>>>> Betreff: Re: Concerns about not covering full website
>>>> I have an alternate example to consider:
>>>> A large e-Commerce website with several segmented portals catering to
>>>> different audiences - This company is trying to secure a government
>>> contract
>>>> to sell a specific product suite to the state of New Jersey. In order
>>> to
>>>> secure this contract, the company must show accessibility conformance
>>> for
>>>> the specific product suite portal.
>>>> In our current model, the company would be forced to consider the
>>> entire
>>>> e-Commerce website in its evaluation, which could be cost prohibitive
>>> and
>>>> time consuming compared to the initial goal for securing the
>>> contract.
>>>> Additionally, it affects several different business teams within the
>>>> company itself, so making the business case for evaluation (internal
>>>> resources are always required) and remediation could be impossible.
>>>> Additionally, the state of New Jersey may end up penalized, because
>>>> companies find it an unreasonable burden to evaluate and change an
>>> entire
>>>> enterprise website for a single contract.
>>>> In an externally defined scope model, the company would identify with
>>> the
>>>> state of New Jersey what the scope of the conformance claim needed to
>>> be,
>>>> and likely include areas of the website that were equally utilized by
>>> all
>>>> portals.  The company performs the evaluation, remediates the portal
>>> and any
>>>> associated applications, and they win the contract. The result would
>>> be that
>>>> a portion of the website is now compliant for anyone who uses that
>>> portal,
>>>> and the company has a business case that can stand up on the
>>> profitability
>>>> of building accessible websites.  Perhaps the next redesign of the
>>> entire
>>>> e-Commerce website will consider it a core requirement to meet these
>>>> standards.
>>>> Respectfully,
>>>> Elle
>>>> On Sat, Jan 28, 2012 at 3:54 AM, Kerstin Probiesch
>>>> <k.probiesch@googlemail.com>  wrote:
>>>> Hi all,
>>>> I agree with Martijn. The more I think about it I also feel that this
>>>> approach is too flexible and I fear that in the end we will not come
>>> out
>>>> with a harmonized evaluation methodology but with something we
>>> already have.
>>>> Of course there are Organizations/Clients who invest in evaluations
>>> because
>>>> they feel that it is important. But I believe the majority don't
>>> invest in
>>>> that because of the users, because of the importance of
>>> accessibility. They
>>>> invest because they have to and they will choose the most cheapest
>>> way for
>>>> doing so and claiming conformance on the base of the less pages as
>>> possible.
>>>> I agree that we need some procedures for cases like:
>>>> #there was already an successful evaluation with a testing procedure
>>> which
>>>> follows our methodology and a website owner included a shop. Will it
>>> be
>>>> enough to evaluate just the shop? Does it depends on the time between
>>> the
>>>> first evaluation and second of the shop? Are there other changes,
>>> other
>>>> additional content?
>>>> #fast growing websites
>>>> And probably some other well described exceptions: for example a
>>> website
>>>> owner wants to claim just a shop. This should include the evaluation
>>> of the
>>>> shop itself and the path to the shop.
>>>> These cases should be linked to strict defined conditions.
>>>> But I disagree with a methodology where a website owner (always)
>>> defines the
>>>> scope. Except of course where a website owner don't want to claim
>>> anything.
>>>> Best
>>>> Kerstin
>>>> Von: Elle [mailto:nethermind@gmail.com]
>>>> Gesendet: Freitag, 27. Januar 2012 18:53
>>>> An: RichardWarren
>>>> Cc: Alistair Garrison; Martijn Houtepen; Eval TF
>>>> Betreff: Re: Concerns about not covering full website
>>>> I also agree.  I've thought about this since our call from a few
>>> pragmatic
>>>> and business angles.
>>>> While I see the risks that Martin identified, I don't think people
>>> would
>>>> invest in auditing and meeting conformance levels on individual pages
>>> just
>>>> to spin it for better public opinion. Organizations are either
>>> committed to
>>>> accessibility or they're forced to meet requirements due to
>>> regulatory or
>>>> litigation reasons.
>>>> Either way, that scope is defined by them, not W3C or a methodology.
>>> If
>>>> organizations are committed to accessibility, we requiring a full
>>> website
>>>> evaluation penalizes any phased efforts. Additionally, the concept of
>>> a
>>>> "full website" is becoming less and less viable to companies in a
>>> component
>>>> driven environment of content delivery.
>>>> I do, however, want to request that we keep the URLs as a requirement
>>> in
>>>> defining that scope (and not something smaller within a single page).
>>>> Respectfully,
>>>> Elle
>>>> On Fri, Jan 27, 2012 at 12:12 PM, RichardWarren
>>> <richard.warren@userite.com>
>>>> wrote:
>>>> Hi
>>>> I agree with Alistair. We are supposed to be developing a methodology
>>> to
>>>> help people deliver a reliable and trusted conformance claim (if
>>>> appropriate). It is not our job to rewrite WCAG.
>>>> Richard
>>>> From: Alistair Garrison
>>>> Sent: Friday, January 27, 2012 4:03 PM
>>>> To: Martijn Houtepen ; Eval TF
>>>> Subject: Re: Concerns about not covering full website
>>>> Hi Martijn,
>>>> I too feel we are giving people who want to evaluate conformity to
>>> WCAG 2.0
>>>> a guide on how to do a proper, representative evaluation... the
>>> question I
>>>> suppose is why must it be limited to only our definition of a
>>> website?
>>>> Can I just clarify something (it being late on a Friday) - are you
>>> saying
>>>> that in your opinion the evaluation methodology should primarily
>>> support
>>>> independent (e.g. third-party) evaluations of whole websites, like
>>> something
>>>> you might need to support some sort of conformance scheme / badge?
>>>> I might be missing something, but I'd like to think that if I were a
>>> website
>>>> owner I'd be able to check the claimed conformance of my own page,
>>> pages,
>>>> sections, sub-domains or entire website using the W3C/WAI WCAG 2.0
>>>> Evaluation methodology - and, without having to use a third-party. In
>>> fact,
>>>> I think I would raise questions / eyebrows if I couldn't...
>>>> I suppose I would also like to think that if I verified my claimed
>>>> conformance myself using this Evaluation methodology people would
>>> actually
>>>> believe it - without the need to have it independently verified.  We
>>> should
>>>> not forget, that there will be many folks out there who have a site
>>> but
>>>> cannot afford to get it independently verified...
>>>> I'm certain that in this day-and-age a website owner would have more
>>> to
>>>> loose, than gain, by using 'smart wording' to inflate their claims. I
>>> would
>>>> even go so far as to suggest that the probability of a website owner
>>> making
>>>> a WCAG 2.0 Conformance claim for a small part of their site and then
>>>> implying its for the entire website (by saying or not saying) would
>>> be small
>>>> - especially as the whole point of the WCAG 2.0 Conformance claim is
>>> to make
>>>> this situation ever-so-plainly obvious...
>>>> Even so, you appear to have questions about the actual worth of WCAG
>>> 2.0
>>>> Conformance claims (something you might consider raising with the
>>> WCAG 2.0
>>>> working group).  Personally, I believe the WCAG 2.0 Conformance Claim
>>>> concept to be quite sound... and, I can't really understand why (as
>>> members
>>>> of a Task Force of the WCAG 2.0 WG) we wouldn't want to be
>>> encouraging their
>>>> use...
>>>> The draft methodology is a draft, and as such not set in stone... I
>>> trust we
>>>> hopefully have the possibility to change it if the consensus view is
>>> that
>>>> the change (using a Conformance Claim to define our scope) is of
>>> value...
>>>> All the best...
>>>> Alistair
>>>> On 27 Jan 2012, at 14:55, Martijn Houtepen wrote:
>>>> Hi Alistair, TF,
>>>> I think this approach will be getting a little bit too flexible. As I
>>>> understand, all the work we have done until now is in order to
>>> evaluate
>>>> whole websites. We want "a standardized way to evaluate the
>>> conformance of
>>>> websites to WCAG 2.0." (quoted from the introduction of our draft
>>>> methodology), the whole draft document focuses on  'websites' instead
>>> of web
>>>> pages. I can understand from an owners point of view that he/she
>>> sometimes
>>>> will want to split up a whole website into several subevaluations,
>>> but these
>>>> subevaluations, in my opinion, will together comprise the entire
>>> website,
>>>> and not leave out some part for any reason.
>>>> Some problems arise if we do follow this strategy:
>>>> If we only check what the owner of a website wants us to check, this
>>> creates
>>>> the risk that an owner will only have the conforming parts of the
>>> website
>>>> evaluated. An owner of a inaccessible website can then, with a little
>>> smart
>>>> wording, proudly claim conformance (of f.e. a little subsection). An
>>>> experienced user can differentiate between strong and weak claims,
>>> but a
>>>> normal user can't. This in turn creates two potential pitfalls: lots
>>> of
>>>> 'empty' claims that in practice do not help users, f.e.: "Our
>>> homepage
>>>> conforms to WCAG 2.0", leaving out that none of the underlying pages
>>>> conform.  Secondly the degradation of those claims that are truly
>>> useful to
>>>> an user "Page X claims to conform (using an 'empty' claim) but I
>>> can't use
>>>> it, so I probably also can't use page Y (that conforms and has a
>>> useful
>>>> claim). Confusion as to what an evaluated conformance claim means,
>>> need to
>>>> be avoided.
>>>> Secondly, this will create the possibility to exclude key scenario's
>>> and
>>>> complete paths. Again from the introduction: "The Methodology defines
>>> manual
>>>> and semi-automated methods for selecting representative samples of
>>> web pages
>>>> from websites that include complete processes." I feel we are giving
>>> people
>>>> who want to evaluate conformity to WCAG a guide on how to do a
>>> proper,
>>>> representative evaluation of a website. If we only check pages
>>> supplied by a
>>>> website owner we can not always include key scenario's or complete
>>> paths. I
>>>> think we do not want a web store claiming conformance, whilst it
>>> check-out
>>>> procedure is inaccessible. Or YouTube claiming conformance except for
>>> the
>>>> pages that have video's. To form a statement about conformance, I
>>> feel we
>>>> have to be able to independently evaluate the whole website including
>>>> whatever it may contain. The resulting conformance statement, if
>>> made, will
>>>> then be of practical use for people with disabilities, as they can
>>> trust a
>>>> conformance claim to be of use for them.
>>>> Kind regards,
>>>> Martijn Houtepen
>>>> ________________________________________
>>>> Van: Alistair Garrison [mailto:alistair.j.garrison@gmail.com]
>>>> Verzonden: vrijdag 27 januari 2012 10:31
>>>> Aan: Eval TF
>>>> CC: Eric Velleman; Detlev Fischer
>>>> Onderwerp: Re: Concerns about not covering full website
>>>> Dear all,
>>>> Due to its many perceived benefits, I have long been a passionate
>>> advocate
>>>> for using a website owner's WCAG 2.0 Conformance Claim as the scope
>>> of our
>>>> evaluation - writing several emails in the past months about this
>>> very
>>>> subject*.  The following summarises my thoughts to date...
>>>> I totally support the pros stated by both Detlev and Eric,
>>> emphasising that:
>>>> "This approach is very flexible and would make it possible for
>>> evaluators to
>>>> verify a WCAG 2.0 claim conformance for more stable websites or fast
>>> growing
>>>> websites, or portions of websites, sections of a website or even
>>> single
>>>> pages in a website - using sampling methods for large websites as per
>>> our
>>>> discussions."
>>>> In addition, I strongly believe that:
>>>> 1) It makes evaluation more reproducible, and more efficient, as we
>>> know
>>>> exactly what forms the scope of our evaluation (i.e. what is defined
>>> in the
>>>> WCAG 2.0 Conformance claim at the time of evaluation, from which
>>> samples can
>>>> be taken as necessary);
>>>> 2) Once an initial evaluation had been done (scope WCAG 2.0
>>> Conformance
>>>> claim) we would only ever need to assess new additions to the WCAG
>>> 2.0
>>>> conformance claim on an on-going basis - hopefully saving people time
>>> and
>>>> money;
>>>> 3) It tells the public exactly what conforms in the website - a bit
>>> more
>>>> like the VPAT.  If the WCAG 2.0 conformance claim states, for
>>> example, that
>>>> a website's shopping process (defined by urls) conforms to x and y,
>>> a user
>>>> should know it will be accessible to them;
>>>> 4) If the website contains any complete processes which back-ends
>>> into third
>>>> party pages - we are in fact prevented from just saying "the whole
>>> website"
>>>> conforms.  A WCAG 2.0 Conformance Claim, on the other hand, could be
>>> made
>>>> for this website, and evaluated, if we choose to use WCAG 2.0
>>> conformance
>>>> claims as our scope.
>>>> 5) It supports, even promotes and encourages, detailed WCAG 2.0
>>> conformance
>>>> claims to be made by the people responsible for entire websites /
>>> parts of
>>>> websites.
>>>> It would also mean that the majority of Section 3 could be re-defined
>>> simply
>>>> e.g. "The scope of the evaluation is defined as all urls for which a
>>> WCAG
>>>> 2.0 conformance claim is being made, at the time of the evaluation".
>>>> * Referenced emails from Nov / Dec 2011
>>>> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-wai-
>>> evaltf/2011Dec/0004.html
>>>> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-wai-
>>> evaltf/2011Nov/0073.html
>>>> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-wai-
>>> evaltf/2011Nov/0086.html
>>>> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-wai-
>>> evaltf/2011Dec/0023.html
>>>> All the best
>>>> Alistair
>>>> On 27 Jan 2012, at 01:01, Velleman, Eric wrote:
>>>> Hi Detlev, all,
>>>> Yes, it was an interesting discussion this afternoon about the scope
>>> of an
>>>> evaluation :-).
>>>> This afternoon we discussed the possibility to use the WCAG2.0
>>> Evaluation
>>>> Methodology not only for full website evaluation, but also for parts
>>> of
>>>> websites. In the current version the evaluation focuses on the full
>>> website
>>>> with a possibility to exclude parts from the scope.  If we want to
>>> include
>>>> evaluating parts of a website (like only the WAI part of W3C or only
>>> the BAD
>>>> website) this should be added in the scope section.
>>>> Today a different approach was proposed: We look at it the other way
>>> around:
>>>> the Conformance claim determines the scope.
>>>> This approach is very flexible and makes it possible to claim
>>> conformance
>>>> for portions of websites, possibly even for technologies or
>>> collections of
>>>> pages or single pages. This makes the Methodology much more flexible
>>> for
>>>> website owners who are not always interested in evaluation of the
>>> full
>>>> website. This is a change to the requirements document but it will
>>> provide
>>>> support for requests by website owners and evaluators wishing to just
>>> look
>>>> at a specific part of a website.
>>>> I would propose that we do a short discussion this week on this
>>> approach. Do
>>>> we leave the scope completely free for the site owner to decide?
>>>> Kindest regards,
>>>> Eric
>>>> ________________________________________
>>>> Van: Detlev Fischer [fischer@dias.de]
>>>> Verzonden: donderdag 26 januari 2012 17:16
>>>> Aan: EVAL TF
>>>> Onderwerp: Concerns about not covering full website
>>>> Hi everyone,
>>>> I think a lot of the heat in the disacussion we just had may be down
>>> to
>>>> a misunderstanding.
>>>> Eric, no one says that the evaluation of an entire webiste is not a
>>> good
>>>> idea or should not be done. If a site owner wants it done, that's
>>> fine.
>>>> If however, a site owner wants to look at a particular section (that
>>> can
>>>> be many pages), it should be possible to evaluate just that. It's
>>> also a
>>>> cost issue. Any conformance claim must make that limited scope
>>> perfectly
>>>> clear, preferably by binding the evaluation to a set of URLs.
>>>> Increasingly, sites have many different sections, like user generated
>>>> content. No sane person would claim even A-Level conformance for a
>>> wiki
>>>> or bulletin board that allows unstructured text input. It would fail
>>> SC
>>>> 1.3.1 in minutes or hours. That's why it is more straightforward to
>>> be
>>>> able to include things even if they are important processes on a
>>> site.
>>>> Working out a sampling approach still makes sense even if you look at
>>>> parts of a site - and also if you evaluate the whole site.
>>>> Regards,
>>>> Detlev
>>>> --
>>>> If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the people to gather wood,
>>> divide
>>>> the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast
>>> and
>>>> endless sea.
>>>> - Antoine De Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
>>>> --
>>>> If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the people to gather wood,
>>> divide
>>>> the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast
>>> and
>>>> endless sea.
>>>> - Antoine De Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

Shadi Abou-Zahra - http://www.w3.org/People/shadi/
Activity Lead, W3C/WAI International Program Office
Evaluation and Repair Tools Working Group (ERT WG)
Research and Development Working Group (RDWG)
Received on Monday, 30 January 2012 16:44:25 UTC

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