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the WAVE accessibility evaluator

From: Leonard R. Kasday <kasday@acm.org>
Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2000 17:14:17 -0500
Message-Id: <>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Cc: w3c-wai-er-ig@w3.org
This is to announce a beta version of a new tool to help evaluate 
accessibility of Web sites.  It's called the WAVE (Web accessibility Visual 
Evaluator) http://www.temple.edu/inst_disabilities/piat/wave/ .  The WAVE 
superimposes icons and labels on a web page to show what information is 
available via ALT text and applet alternatives, and show the reading 
order.  This gives a person a quick way to compare the ALT text with the 
images, and the applet alternatives with the Applets.  It also helps the 
user see if the reading order makes sense.   In addition, missing, 
suspicious, and blank ALT text are flagged for scrutiny.  In other words, 
the focus is to help a person make the basic manual checks needed to 
evaluate accessibility.

Is the WAVE itself accessible?  That's an interesting question.  On the one 
hand, the WAVE's input form and annotations are accessible.  However, in 
its present form the WAVE doesn't seem to be that useful to a person who is 
blind.  For example,  presenting the ALT text next to an image helps a 
sighted person check the quality of the ALT text, but it doesn't help a 
person who doesn't see the image. I'm looking for suggestions to make the 
WAVE more useful to people who are blind.

This is the first release.  Although I tried to handle the most common 
problems, there are lots of checkpoints it doesn't cover, especially 
checkpoints dealing with disabilities other than blindness.  Also, for 
pages with frames, it just shows the NOFRAME output, if any (although you 
can copy the URI's of the individual frames--e.g. using Netscape's right 
click menu--into the WAVE and look at them one at a time.)  Work is ongoing 
to add these features.

The WAVE was developed at Pennsylvania's Institute on Assistive Technology, 
a program of the Institute on Disabilities/UAP at Temple University, and 
incorporates techniques and suggestions from the WAI Evaluation and Repair 
Tools Interest Group.

If you have brief feedback of a general nature,
     please post it to this list (the wai interest group list, 

If you have detailed feedback,
     please post it to the author, Len Kasday ( kasday@acm.org ) and/or the 
Evaluation and Repair Interest Group ( w3c-wai-er-ig@w3.org   ... note the 
"er" in that address).

Please respond by April 6, although of course suggestions at any time are 

Leonard R. Kasday, Ph.D.
Institute on Disabilities/UAP, and
Department of Electrical Engineering
Temple University
423 Ritter Annex, Philadelphia, PA 19122


(215) 204-2247 (voice)
(800) 750-7428 (TTY)
Received on Thursday, 16 March 2000 17:11:57 UTC

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