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RE: Bobby Approval

From: Mark Magennis <mark@frontend.com>
Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2001 17:34:54 +0100
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Bobby is an automated accessibility checker for web pages available at
www.cast.org/bobby/. You tell it the URL of the page you want assessed and
it compiles a report detailing where the accessibility problems are or might
be. It only checks for problems that are covered by priority 1 of the WAI
guidelines but if your site "passes" with no problems, you can proudly
display the Bobby Approved" symbol on your home page.

However, "Bobby Approval" relies so much on manual assessment that it is
virtually worthless as an indicator of accessibility. It's value probably
lies more in spreading awareness of accessibility as an issue that can be

The major limiting factor is that, of the sixteen priority 1 checkpoints,
only one can actually be tested automatically by a tool like Bobby. All the
others require some degree of manual checking.

For example, checkpoint 1.1 requires you to "Provide a text equivalent for
every non-text element". Bobby can check all your images to see whether they
have alt text, but it cannot say whether that text is "equivalent" to the
image. Therefore it can only half test that checkpoint. At the extreme,
Bobby can't do anything. For example, checkpoint 14.1 requires you to "Use
the simplest and most straightforward language that is possible". There is
no way Bobby can test for this.

One out of sixteen may sound pretty bad for a checking tool, but the
strength of Bobby lies not in its ability to spot all the problems. It is
good for speeding up the process of checking. Also for pointing out where
you should manually check for problems. And also good for learning about
accessibility problems and how to fix them. Every problem or potential
problem it finds is a hyperlink to a good explanation of the underlying
issue which also hyperlinks to further external explanations and the WAI
guidelines themselves. I see Bobby as a great jumping off point to begin
your accessibility check.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org]On
> Behalf Of Shoshana Billik
> Sent: 28 June 2001 17:07
> To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
> Subject: Bobby Approval
>         Hi, everyone!  I'm also new to the list and am wondering
> what is "Bobby
> approval".
>                                                         Thanks in advance,
>                                                         Shoshana
Received on Thursday, 28 June 2001 12:36:22 UTC

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