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About Bobby

From: David Clark <dmclark@cast.org>
Date: Mon, 11 May 1998 13:53:03 -0400
To: "David Clark" <dmclark@cast.org>
Message-ID: <000701bd7d05$a5b34660$ca557392@dmc.cast.org>
Changes to Bobby

CAST is completing work on new downloadable and on-line versions of Bobby
developed with the Java Foundation Class (JFC). One of the main issues
addressed will be the accessibility of the user interface (to the extent
fullest extent possible). Our plan is to release it the first week of June
for download. The application will replace the present version and will use
the latest working draft of the WAI page author guidelines available.
However, it will still have a few limitations. We anticipate that copying
and printing from the Hot Java browser will still be problematic. We have
attempted a number of fixes and hope to have a viable solution shortly.

This past month has been quite a learning experience for us. We released the
new version of Bobby (and introduced the application) based the February 3
guidelines without warning our users. This was mistake. We did not realize
how many people depended on Bobby Approved status. Since then, our resources
have been focused on the JFC upgrade and responding to the hundreds of
emails from concerned users all over the world We have not had the resources
to upgrade to the April 14 working draft WAI page author guidelines.

For this reason, we modified the criteria for Bobby Approved status. As
posted on the Bobby welcome page,(http://www.cast.org/bobby), web developers
are encouraged to continue using the Bobby Approved Icon until the end of
July if they are able to achieve a 4 star rating with the earlier on-line
version 2.0 Bobby.

To facilitate the transition, we offer three versions of Bobby:

1. Bobby 2.0 (http://www.cast.org/bobby2.0/)- This on-line version analyzes
individual web pages for accessibility using a list of commonly accepted
accessibility barriers. All pages on a website must receive four stars to
display the Bobby Approved icon. This legacy approval criteria may not be an
option after July 1998.

2. Bobby 2.01 (http://www.cast.org/bobby/bobby.html)- This on-line version
analyzes individual web pages for accessibility using a subset of the
February 3 working draft of "WAI Accessibility Guidelines: Page Authoring"
that can be automated. All pages must pass to display the Bobby Approved
icon. Page authors wishing to signify compliance with these more stringent
guidelines may wish to add "with WAI 0203" below the icon. (to be replaced
in early June as described above.)

3. Bobby the Application (beta 1) - This application will test local files
and entire websites for accessibility. It is written in Java and will run
under Solaris and Windows 95/NT. Like Bobby 2.01, it uses the February 3
working draft WAI accessibility page authoring guidelines. To download the
application, go the Bobby 2.01 home
page.(http://www.cast.org/bobby/bobby.html) (to be replaced in early June as
described above.)

It should be noted that a few clever developers have been able to use the
Bobby installer and a bit of manual file manipulation to run the Application
on Macs as well. We intend to obtain an update to the installer that will
make this process a bit easier.

Please note that CAST has never suggested that accessible page authoring can
be achieved by simply running a single validation tool. We want developers
to use the WAI working guidelines and checklist. We also want them to use
common sense about what is and is not reasonable given the rapid change in
web technologies, authoring tools and browser capabilities.

Should you have comments and suggestions for us, please send an email
directly to bobby@cast.org. It is probably not appropriate to have a robust
discussion on Bobby on this list. Like most tools, and most people for that
matter, Bobby is far from perfect. We will continue to improve the tool and
welcome your feedback. Our Bobby service is a small part of what we do at
CAST but it is very important to us.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we move forward. Bobby has
been one of our most rewarding and painful projects. We have received
hundreds of very supportive comments from every corner of the globe and look
forward to doing our part to make the web accessible to everyone.

Chuck Hitchcock, Director of the Universal Design Lab, CAST
David Clark, Webmaster and Bobby Support Liaison
Josh Krieger, Bobby Developer and Programmer
Received on Monday, 11 May 1998 13:53:37 UTC

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