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Proposal For Accessibility Check Standard

From: Chris Ridpath <chris.ridpath@utoronto.ca>
Date: Tue, 3 Feb 2004 12:09:53 -0500
Message-ID: <070c01c3ea78$8a56df30$b040968e@WILDDOG>
To: "WAI ER IG List" <w3c-wai-er-ig@w3.org>

We've been working on creating a standard set of accessibility checks that
may be used by anyone interested in testing web pages for accessibility
problems. The current draft version of these checks are collected into the
Open Accessibility Checks [1].

I'd like to refine the format of these checks and create a more solid
specification. The Evaluation And Report Language (EARL) [2] uses RDF to
describe the accessibility status of a page but does not contain a
specification for describing accessibility checks. It looks like we could
extend EARL or perhaps create another RDF dialect for describing the checks
so that the more of the accessibility testing process can be described in

My current design of the checks uses an XML file that can be converted into
both text and machine code. The text version is necessary so that a person
can understand and implement the check. The direct translation into machine
code means that the checks can be easily implemented and modified. This
strategy seems to be practical and transforming it to RDF should not be too

A known problem with EARL is that it lacks the ability to specify the exact
thing that's causing the accessibility problem. Perhaps as we work through
the standardizing of the accessibility checks a solution to this problem
will arise.

There are currently about 130 checks and the number will likely get much
larger so finding, sorting and grouping the appropriate checks can be
difficult. The textual description of the check is helpful for a person but
is not very good for machine processing. I'm hoping that adding RDF into the
mix will help solve these problems.

Before going any further with the design for an RDF version of the checks I
should stop and listen to comments. Please speak up if you have feelings
for/against a more standard method of expressing accessibility checks in

[1] http://www.aprompt.ca/oac/

[2] http://www.w3.org/TR/EARL10/


Received on Tuesday, 3 February 2004 12:29:40 UTC

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