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accessibility conformance/approval logos and web content accessibility checkers

From: Gregory J. Rosmaita <oedipus@hicom.net>
Date: Tue, 29 Jul 2008 00:39:51 +0100
To: "Sonia Rockett" <sonia@sensorystore.co.uk>, <wai-xtech@w3.org>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Cc: <vic-nyc@columbia.edu>, <blind-dev@listserv.icors.org>
Message-Id: <20080728233819.M44397@hicom.net>

aloha, sonia!

your question in regards branding a site as accessible (and hence
testable against a standard or specific specification) is a very 
germane concern, but lift up the available accessibility-claim 
logos, and you will quickly find the source of the problem -- any 
accessibility check is inherently subjective; this is why i always 
advise content developers/site maintainers to create a reference 
page documenting the criteria used by the content developers/maintainers 
to ensure the accessibility of their documents, and -- equally as 
important -- to state plainly that, since accessibility lies in the eye,
ear, finger-tip or whatever else is available to an individual user, 
and since no two users are identical, the site/company/organization 
is relying on you (the user) to provide us with feedback as to how to 
make this site more accessible and/or identify problems you are 
encountering with the site;

accessibility checking requires human thought and judgement, unlike 
code validation (although one can create a valid document that is 
unusable and inaccessible)...  how, for example, is a tool to judge the 
"meaningfulness" of the terse descriptor contained in the alt text 
assigned for a specific image?  an alt text's appropriateness to the 
content it accompanies or graphically represents, and the context in 
which that image is presented must be assessed by a human.

as for conformance icons:

1. there are WCAG 1.0 compliance icons which are available for 
   use from http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/) and which come in three
   levels:

   * Triple-A
     http://www.w3.org/WAI/WCAG1AAA-Conformance

   * Double-A, and 
     http://www.w3.org/WAI/WCAG1AA-Conformance

   * Single-A 
     http://www.w3.org/WAI/WCAG1A-Conformance

   Simply stated, if all WCAG 1.0 checkpoints are satisfied, your 
   site may claim Triple-A compliance (the highest level); your 
   site may claim Double-A if all Priority 1 and Priority 2 
   checkpoints have been satisfied; whilst a Single-A compliance
   claim means that all of WCAG 1.0's Priority 1 checkpoints have
   been satisfied;  the following 3 URIs contain links to WCAG 1.0's
   explanation of priority levels:

   * http://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-WEBCONTENT/#wc-priority-1
   * http://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-WEBCONTENT/#wc-priority-2
   * http://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-WEBCONTENT/#wc-priority-3


IMPORTANT CAVEATS:

   <q cite="http://www.w3.org/WAI/WCAG1AAA-Conformance">
   Claims are not verified by W3C. Content providers are solely 
   responsible for the use of these logos. 
   </q>

   WCAG compliance is a designation of the author, not an 
   endorsement or recognition of accessibility by the W3C, 
   the WAI or the WCAG working group; in order to assist 
   content developers, WCAG 1.0 contains a checklist of 
   all WCAG1 checkpoints, which the developer can use to 
   check the accessibility of their content as measured 
   against WCAG 1.0;  therefore, it is ESSENTIAL to remember
   that ANY claim of compliance with WCAG 1.0, is the 
   judgement of the author (assisted by accessibility and 
   validity tools, but not all accessibility requirements 
   can be machine-validated, hence the WCAG 1.0 logos 
   differ fundamentally from the W3C's validation logos, 
   which are strictly machine testable; 

   * http://www.w3.org/WAI/WCAG1-Conformance
   * http://www.w3.org/WAI/EO/Drafts/claimcheck

   it is also highly desireable for any content creator to 
   document what has been done to satisfy the requirements 
   set forth in WCAG 1.0 -- as well as an explanation as to
   why the content deviates from WCAG 1.0; it is also always
   a good idea to explain how and why implementation decisions
   were taken in the construction of the content, especially 
   for those WCAG checkpoints for which there is no means of
   automatically testing (such as "meaningful ALT content", 
   ensuring that a long descriptor (LONGDESC) actually explains
   the content of the image being described, rather than merely
   repeating any caption defined for the image (especially as 
   captions tend to be generic, such as "Camp X-Ray, Cuba, 
   February 2003" - which labels the image, but does NOT provide
   a description of the image


2. there is an activity within the W3C/WAI dedicated to the 
   creation and requirements for "Evaluation and Repair Tools",
   (http://www.w3.org/WAI/ER) -- the working group's site contains
   a listing of links to evaluation and repair tools

   * http://www.w3.org/WAI/ER/tools/
   * http://www.w3.org/WAI/ut3/ER/existingtools.html

   one tool i can heartily endorse comes from the Adaptive 
   Technology Research Centre at the University of Toronto
   (ATRC)

   ATRC Web Accessibility Checker:
    * http://checker.atrc.utoronto.ca/index.html


3. there are many organizations which have attempted to define 
   web content accessibility outside of, or in tandem with, 
   the development of WCAG 1.0 and 2.0 within the W3C -- the 
   most popular of such accessibility checkers was known as 
   "Bobby" and was developed by the CAST organization, but which
   (as my use of the past tense suggests) is no longer available;
   many individual institutions have promulgated web content 
   accessibility guidelines for their own web content, mixing 
   what is described and defined in WCAG1 with other accessibility
   "standards", such as the Section 508 rules which govern 
   requirements for accessibility for tools which are being 
   considered for use by the united states' federal government
   (http://www.section508.gov)

   the god-father of WCAG 1.0 are the TRACE Center's Unified Web 
   Site Accessibility Guidelines:

   * http://trace.wisc.edu/redirects/htmlgide/version8.htm

   and many other organizations, businesses and governmental 
   agencies have articulated policies and strategies which set 
   requirements for web content accessibility:

   Policies Relating to Web Accessibility
   * http://www.w3.org/WAI/Policy/

   before ending with a list of recommended resources, i just want 
   to stress that neither this emessage, nor the following list, 
   are NOT comprehensive; i just wanted to highlight some of the 
   issues, options, and points-of-departure (plus, by keeping my 
   list of resources relatively small, hopefully others will post
   other resources


More Recommended Resources:

  1. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Overview:
    * http://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/wcag.php

 2. Evaluating Web Sites for Accessibility: Overview:
    * http://www.w3.org/WAI/eval/Overview.html

 3. Developing Organizational Policies on Web Accessibility:
    * http://www.w3.org/WAI/impl/pol.html

 4. Implementation Plan for Web Accessibility\
    * http://www.w3.org/WAI/impl/Overview.html

 5. Requirements and Changelog for Tranisioning from WCAG 1.0
    to WCAG 2.0 Resource Suite
    * http://www.w3.org/WAI/EO/changelogs/cl-transition1to2

 6. Why Standards Harmonization is Essential to Web Accessibility:
    * http://www.w3.org/WAI/Policy/harmon.html

 7. Web Content Accessibility and Mobile Web: Making a Web Site 
    Accessible Both for People with Disabilities and for Mobile 
    Devices:
    * http://www.w3.org/WAI/mobile/

 8. Improving the Accessibility of Your Site:
    * http://www.w3.org/WAI/impl/improving.html

 9. Designing More Usable Web Sites
    * http://trace.wisc.edu/world/web/

10. Web Accessibility Information Links:
    * http://trace.wisc.edu/resources/web-resources.php

11. Trace Center Collation of Access Board's 508 FINAL RULE and
    GUIDELINES:
    * http://trace.wisc.edu/docs/508-collation/06092004v1.1.shtml

12. Working on Accessible Web Content Guidelines and Designing More 
    Usable Documents:
    * http://trace.wisc.edu/docs/navtools2001/index.html

13. The Paciello Group
    * http://www.paciellogroup.com/index.php

--------------------------------------------------------------
You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of
focus.                                           -- Mark Twain
--------------------------------------------------------------
Gregory J. Rosmaita: oedipus@hicom.net
   Camera Obscura: http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/
          Oedipus' Online Complex: http://my.opera.com/oedipus
--------------------------------------------------------------
Received on Monday, 28 July 2008 23:40:42 GMT

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