W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-er-ig@w3.org > March 2000

RE: the WAVE accessibility evaluator

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2000 15:55:13 -0500
Message-Id: <200003172051.PAA15409@smtp2.mail.iamworld.net>
To: "Bruce Bailey" <bbailey@clark.net>, "Leonard R. Kasday" <kasday@acm.org>
Cc: <w3c-wai-er-ig@w3.org>
At 02:49 PM 2000-03-17 -0500, Bruce Bailey wrote:
>Al, we may need to define our terms here.  Your administrator is a far cry
>from what I am use to!


I stand corrected on what you meant by your 'administrator' person.  I had
a DBA type in mind.  The person who holds the keys that say "Yes, this goes
up in public under our name."

I agree with everything you said about the realities of bosses, contracts,
contractors, and the like <moan>.

I think that, somehow, we need to train the administrators out of the idea
that once it is in the contract it is a done deal.  There is this saying in
the industry I came from "Do not expect what you do not inspect."  

Many public administrators, particularly those acquiring public information
services such as web design, are not trained to think that way.
Acquisition-savvy outfits like DoD are the exception, not the rule.

Getting contractors to deliver sites that do comply with the guidelines is
going to take some checking.  Lots of checking at first.  And the checking
has to be done by people who do have a grasp of what the guidelines are
talking about.

EEOC and U.S. Mint have shown it can be done.  But that is just a tiny
point of light.  Lots of "diffusion of innovation" still ahead of us.  And
the state agencies will probably be harder to bring around than the Federal
sites, I fear.

I am not against a statistical summary.  But this report should be dripping
with the same sort of caveats about what is _not_ covered in these
statistics as the "new" Bobby report.

I am reluctant to give adminstrators something that looks like a purely
automatic pass/fail grader, because I know what they will do with it.  I
would sooner try to convince them they need to set aside 10% of their web
design acquisition budget for independent checking of the product, and add
one more contract or add a work item for their in-house staff.  I know that
will be a hard sell, but the alternative is hardly effective.  This is not
a 10% cost growth to support accessibility; it is effective use of their
budget to get effective communication from their websites.  The cross-check
staff will turn up more SNAFUs than just access failures.


>By "administrator" I am thinking of the webmaster's boss (or boss's boss)
>who, quite reasonably, might not be very technical and know very little
>specific HTML code.  This person needs tools so that she can say "make the
>site accessible to the blind" or "follow the WCAG" and have something
>besides the say-so of the worker charged with the task to ensure that the
>work was done.

>The W3C Validator can work that way.  Sure, it is a useful tool for an the
>author, but having a live link means that ANYONE (including administrators)
>can confirm for themselves that the page is, in fact, valid HTML.  (Sure,
>the author could probably spoof this, but it's much less work just to make
>the page valid!)
>Bobby use to work that way.  (Remember the early "Five Stars Bobby
>Approved" -- end of report days?)
>Len, I think it would be great if the WAVE had a (checkbox) option to just
>generate a statistical report!  Missing ALT and NOSCRIPT and other
>unambiguous machine-verifiable P1 errors could go to the top.
>Al, you may think it ridiculous that the administrator's employees can't be
>trusted to do this work.  My experience with mostly state-sponsored sites --
>using decently paid contractors -- is that even when explicitly asked, the
>new-to-the-issue content providers create sites that are not P1 compliant.
>They simply just don't know what they are doing -- and neither does the
>person that hired them.
>I can't chase down every would-be contractor to educate them about the WCAG.
>Even if I did, I can't make them care.  Even if they are working on a
>project where accessibility is specified, they still don't think they have
>to listen to me -- I don't work for the agency that is paying them!  My best
>bet is get the people paying the bills to care.  I have lots of folks
>helping me with that!  The difficulty is that administrators are not going
>to take the time to learn the subject material.  They think that if its in
>the contract, the matter is closed.  I want simple to use tools that
>transparently expose at least the most glaring and obvious problems.  Even
>if administrators never use the tools, the fact that they exist will keep
>those less-than-competent contractors in line!
>Len, if you could provide the option to address this need with the WAVE that
>would just be great.
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: w3c-wai-er-ig-request@w3.org
>> [mailto:w3c-wai-er-ig-request@w3.org]On Behalf Of Al Gilman
>> Sent: Friday, March 17, 2000 1:54 PM
>> To: Leonard R. Kasday; Bruce Bailey
>> Cc: w3c-wai-er-ig@w3.org
>> Subject: RE: the WAVE accessibility evaluator
>> [I didn't copy the whole IG list on this, preferring the ER IG.  You can
>> fix that if you think it is an error.  - Al]
>> At 01:01 PM 2000-03-17 -0500, Leonard R. Kasday wrote:
>> >Also, Bruce...
>> >
>> >You mentioned about administrators.  Right now, as you say, the
>> philosophy

>> >of the WAVE is close interaction with the human users.  However,
>> once I've
>> >gone through the work of parsing and detecting various
>> conditions, it would
>> >be simple to output statistics if that's what you had in mind.  E.g. for
>> >images, total number, total without ALT text, total with suspicious ALT
>> >text, and the rest... which need human perusal.
>> >
>> AG::
>> One of the roles of the webmaster is quality control over submissions from
>> contributors to the site.  I would not necessarily leap to the idea that
>> utility for administrators of sites is predicated on having statistical
>> reports.
>> Administrators in fact are superusers of critic tools.  They understand
>> what the tool is talking about better than the scattered contributors do.
>> Often it takes the originating author a.k.a. contributor to make repairs,
>> but the administrator is constantly having to make rapid decisions about
>> when to just post a contribution, when to repair it in the webmaster shop
>> because the repairs are minor and obvious, and when to sent the
>> whole thing
>> back for further work because the flaws are endemic and serious.
>> This tool
>> which speeds up the process of making the _absolutely critical_ manual
>> checks in that decision process make the tool a strong candidate for
>> administrator use.  Furthermore, it doesn't have to attain the same
>> standard of usability for administrators to use it as it does for
>> contributors to use it <grin>.
>> Or at least that is a scenario that Bruce's comments triggered in my head.
>> Al
>> >Those kinds of overview statistics might also make it more
>> useful to users
>> >who are blind, another thing I want to do.
>> >
>> >What sorts of things would you like to see?  And what format?
>> HTML tables,
>> >"spreadsheet" files, etc?  Not that I'm promising a completion
>> date (grin).
>> >
>> >Len
>> >-------
>> >Leonard R. Kasday, Ph.D.
>> >Institute on Disabilities/UAP, and
>> >Department of Electrical Engineering
>> >Temple University
>> >423 Ritter Annex, Philadelphia, PA 19122
>> >
>> >kasday@acm.org
>> >http://astro.temple.edu/~kasday
>> >
>> >(215) 204-2247 (voice)
>> >(800) 750-7428 (TTY)
>> >
Received on Friday, 17 March 2000 15:50:15 UTC

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