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Re: Where's Bobby? Are we left with Cynthia?

From: Bryce Fields <bryce.fields@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 27 Jan 2006 09:09:17 -0500
Message-ID: <4000d8ad0601270609t73096e63u359986a6b345a995@mail.gmail.com>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

On 1/27/06, Martin Stehle <pewtah@snafu.de> wrote:

> > So often I have been in to see a new client and all they are concerned
> > about is making sure they their site adheres to the Bobby 'standard'.
> > When you strat to talk to them about it is obvious that they have never
> > heard of the W3C or WCAG.
> Of course we told our clients the limits of every automatic check. We
> additionally included icons of companies testing websites with
> disabled users manually. Some years ago Bobby was popular enough to
> advertise with it. So the deal was: We built an accessible,
> WCAG-proofed site, by the way it passed the Bobby and other tests. The
> client was fine, the user was fine, we was fine, mission accomplished.

The problem arises though when clients start to equate the Bobby icon
(or any other icon) w/ accessiblity.  Most clients, and sadly many
professional web developers I've interacted with, tend to glaze over
when you bring up little things like the fact that an automated system
can only check so much.  I've seen many a site proudly display a Bobby
icon declaring their Priority III conformance to the world, only to be
dismayed to discover that something as simple as not being able to
navigate the site by a keyboard (or some other item untestable by an
automated system) bring their illusions of accessibility crashing back
down to earth.  In my opinion, a well-planned site, w/ a link to an
informative accessibility statement is far more useful and important
than any icon could ever be.

We've started to think of accessibility in binary terms, either you
have it or you don't.  In truth, accessibility is a continuum.  On one
end is "no one can use your site regardless of their user agent of
choice", and on the other is "everyone can use your site regardless of
their user agent of choice".  And your site is most likely somewhere
in the middle.  There's always something more you can be doing to move
a site closer to the "everybody gets in" side.

Bryce Fields

"Do or do not! There is no try!" -- Yoda
Received on Friday, 27 January 2006 14:09:21 UTC

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