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Re: The Cult of Pseudo Accessibility

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@sidar.org>
Date: Thu, 11 Dec 2003 04:39:12 +1100
Cc: WAI Interest Group <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
To: gdeering@acslink.net.au
Message-Id: <C49236E9-2B37-11D8-83FB-000A958826AA@sidar.org>

Why the big deal about Bobby? If it isn't the greatest tool, get one 
that is better - there are plenty of others around that allow for much 
more complex testing. Or testing for different formats - flash, word 
documents, pdf, are all formats for which you can get tools that help 

The EuroAccessibility Consortium's tools task force will be looking at 
tools that people use, and how good a job they do compared to a 
detailed list of what should be tested.

It appears, in preliminary assessment, that Bobby is no longer the most 
effective tool - particularly the free online version of it. Reviews of 
Bobby vs CynthiaSays, and of Bobby vs. LIFT machine, are available and 
suggest that both of those are more effective on various specific 
points - I am sure there are others. If you buy tools there are 
extremely powerful and flexible ones available - WAI maintains a 
partial list at http://www.w3.org/WAI/ER/existingtools at least, and I 
am aware of other stuff out there that does a good job - if necessary 
by combining tools.

I think Bobby did a lot of good when Josh Krieger developed it, many 
years ago now. I think the best tools that are available now are a lot 
better than any of the simple free online offerings, and people should 
be aware of it. To the extent that serious projects are still using 
simple tools rather than looking properly at the market I agree that 
there is a problem, and that accessibility is not doing well (nor are 
the people who are investing in development - including watchfire - so 
we are doing ourselves a disservice by not helping the people who are 
helping us...).

2 cents worth


On Wednesday, Dec 10, 2003, at 23:07 Australia/Melbourne, Geoff Deering 

> I really don't know what goes on in that company (Watchfire), but I do 
> know they have developed some great products in the past and when they 
> bought Bobby I originally thought "Great, now it will really be 
> redeveloped into a fine product" (Cast initially did a good but flawed 
> job I feel).  But the time and results speak for themselves and it is 
> another sad tale of a product that showed so much promise, but to 
> date, delivering so little, and now doing real damage because 
> uncorrected it will create a cult or pseudo accessibility.
Charles McCathieNevile                          Fundación Sidar
charles@sidar.org                                http://www.sidar.org
Received on Wednesday, 10 December 2003 12:43:38 UTC

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