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RE: Bobby - a bad tool

From: John Foliot - WATS.ca <foliot@wats.ca>
Date: Wed, 27 Oct 2004 14:28:19 -0400
To: "'Alice Good'" <Alice.Good@port.ac.uk>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <004201c4bc52$bcd851d0$6601a8c0@bosshog>

w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org wrote:
> What are people's opinions on the usefulness of Bobby as an
> accessibility checker?  I've just been involved in a very
> ling discussion
> with a lady wh's in the process of writing a report stating
> it's inability to
> correctly check for accessibility.  I realise the user checks can be
> tedious but I wasn't aware that there were major issues
> relating to it.
> 
> Can anyone recommend a credible accessbility checker please?

Alice,

There is an old proverb that says that it's a poor workman who blames his
tool.

The problem with Bobby is that in the wrong hands (i.e. untrained), it
provides useless information.  But in the hands of someone trained to do
accessibility checks/audits, it's really no better or worse than any of the
others (although I have a preference for another tool - ask me off list if
you care to know which).

All too often, uninformed but well meaning developers run their pages
through Bobby, in search of the "right" to display the Bobby Icon.  (Poor
misguided folk that they are).  A web page can "technically" pass a Bobby
check and still remain inaccessible to numerous, numerous users.
Accessibility checking is as much alchemy as it is science... You *MUST* be
aware of potential issues and their ramifications before you pick up a tool.
Just because you know how to use Microsoft Word does not make you an author.
But under pressure to be "compliant", harried developers run the pages
through the tool, then paste the icon on their pages - job done (not!)

I'm sure that your friend can come up with a laundry list of "issues" with
Bobby - truth be told the same could be said for any of the tools out there.
That's because they are tools... They don't (can't) think and make reasoned
judgments - a crucial component in the process.

JF
Received on Wednesday, 27 October 2004 18:28:25 GMT

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