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

From: Joshue O Connor <joshue.oconnor@ncbi.ie>
Date: Fri, 27 Jan 2006 14:48:00 +0000
Message-ID: <43DA32A0.4080403@ncbi.ie>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

I am new to this list so ,hello all!!
I just wish to add a note to this discussion.

IMO - It could be argued that many of these symbols displayed on a
site after an automated check,whether they are Bobby,
or even WAI/W3C etc are actually redundant. They are all highly subjective
evaluations (usually based on the level of expertise of the auditor). At best
they show the owners are aware of accessibility and have made an effort to 
produce a well structured site,and are conscious of the diverse requirements of disabled
users etc. The level of accessibility a site chooses to boast about may in no way reflect
how usable or accessible it is.

Automated checkers are fine for certain things but useless when it comes to
the need for intelligent "human"  evaluation. The correct application of meaningful
alt text being a perfect example.  An automated tool like bobby etc will see that
you have alt text, but will not be able to evaluate its worth, but as long as its there
it will say yes, you pass this requirement, But it could be rubbish alt text.
So be aware that though auto checkers are fine for some tasks, (usually checking
code validity, looking for DTDs etc) they are not to be used for evaluating 
all the accessibility requirements of your site,under any circumstance.

BTW I found A-Prompt to be OK when I first got into accessibility 
(it came bundled with Joe Clark's Building Accessible Websites, nice one Joe:) 
but again  from what I remember, it would give a thumbs up for any old alt text 
(but how could it properly evaluate it anyway, its only a piece of software?) 
But that was a few years ago, they may have improved it if it is still in use.

Bryce Fields wrote:
> In truth, accessibility is a continuum. 

Thats exactly the way I feel about it too!! All sites/ICT's are somewhere on this line and 
ultimately can always be improved.



Joshue O Connor

Web Accessibility Consultant

**Centre for Inclusive Technology (CFIT)* *
National Council for the Blind of Ireland

E-Mail: joshue.oconnor@cfit.ie
Tel: +353 1 882191

> 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
> www.royalrodent.com
> "Do or do not! There is no try!" -- Yoda
Received on Friday, 27 January 2006 14:48:29 UTC

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