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RE: Web Accessibility Evaluation and Testing

From: Ian Sharpe <isforums@manx.net>
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2011 14:19:29 +0100
To: "'WAI Interest Group'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <A27E09BF4BE641368FE2C0FDAE012976@sharpyPC>
Hi Shawn

Apologies if this is covered in the more detailed description of the project
you gave but will this  task force also consider the usability of a site or
page as well  as conformance to WCAG2.0?

I am continually frustrated by sites that provide an accessibility statement
that explains how the site was designed with accessibility in mind and
conforms to whatever standard and has been validated using some
accessibility validator, and yet is still very difficult to use.

While I totally support the work that is being done here and in other places
to establish guidelines and standards to improve accessibility, the need for
doing so, how this has helped to raise awareness of the issues experienced
by users of the web and the impact this has had on the accessibility of the
web in recent years, I feel that some organisations are now using
conformance to the various standards to satisfy any obligations under
anti-discrimination legislation, rather than to necessarily improve

I totally accept that if a site conforms to WCAG1.0 or now WCAG2.0, it is
far more likely to be accessible than if it doesn't and would always
recommend that site designers use such standards when developing or
modifying sites. But conformance alone is not enough to guarantee usability.

Whether a site is usable depends on what the site is supposed to do, as well
as the accessibility of the content, which obviously makes it difficult to
provide any specific techniques or guidelines on how to ensure usability.
However, maybe any guidelines or information relating to validation in
particular could be prefaced with some cover all that states that it is not
enough to conform to the guidelines to ensure a site is accessible. You
would hope that issues relating to usability would be picked up during
testing but this would appear not to be the case and so maybe there is also
an argument to highlight the importants of testing more than maybe it is

I am concious that this could just be seen as yet another thing for
designers to consider at a time when we are just starting to see a movement
towards greater support and adoption of the guidelines. 

I just feel that it might be helpful if maybe more emphasis was placed on
making sites useable and using the various standards and guidelines to this
end, rather than focussing primarily on conformance.



-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org] On Behalf
Of Shawn Henry
Sent: 13 July 2011 10:02
To: WAI Interest Group
Subject: Web Accessibility Evaluation and Testing

  Dear WAI Interest Group Participants,

WAI is starting a WCAG 2.0 Evaluation Methodology Task Force to develop more
comprehensive guidance on evaluating web accessibility.

The Evaluation Task Force will develop an internationally harmonized
methodology for evaluating websites' conformance to WCAG 2.0. The
methodology will provide provides a step-by-step procedure for evaluating
websites, including guidance on sampling individual web pages, evaluating
them according to WCAG 2.0, and aggregating the results into a conformance
statement. To learn more about the scope of work and anticipated timeline,
see the WCAG 2.0 Evaluation Methodology Task Force (Eval TF) Work Statement

The methodology is part of a wider W3C/WAI effort on web accessibility
evaluation and testing, which includes the development of test suites for
all WAI guidelines and specifications. For more information, see W3C/WAI Web
Accessibility Evaluation and Testing Activities at:

If you would like to get announcements when drafts of the methodology are
available, you can subscribe to WAI's RSS feed, tweets, or other venues
listed at:

If you might be interested in actively participating in this work, please
read Participating in WAI at:
and then contact Shadi Abou-Zahra, see http://www.w3.org/People/shadi/

Please let us know if you have any questions.

Feel free to circulate this message to other lists; please avoid
cross-postings where possible.

~Shawn Lawton Henry
& Shadi Abou-Zahra

Shawn Lawton Henry
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)
e-mail: shawn@w3.org
phone: +1.617.395.7664
about: http://www.w3.org/People/Shawn/
Received on Wednesday, 13 July 2011 13:20:03 UTC

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