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Re: FW: Drafting an article

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 11:54:57 -0400 (EDT)
To: "Neff, Robert" <Robert.Neff@usmint.treas.gov>
cc: "'w3c-wai-eo@w3.org'" <w3c-wai-eo@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.10.9904211149060.16008-100000@tux.w3.org>
I'm not sure what the audience is, but there are around 50 million people
with disabilities in the United States - worldwide the figure is much

Large-scale testing of major websites in multiple browsers is a very big
undertaking, and effectively beyond the scope of many projects. The need
can be reduced substantially by ensuring that the code used is valid, and



On Wed, 21 Apr 1999, Neff, Robert wrote:

  A government, company or organization's failure to provide Universal
  Accessibility on the web is a serious impediment to their ability to provide
  information, services or products to over 54 million People With
  Disabilities (PWD).   For example, if:
  * An e-commerce web site is not accessible to PWDs, the business has just
  lost an immediate customer and potential customers.
  * An organization or Federal, State or local Government does not provide
  access to its information, then they are not providing a public service.
  * A city does not provide bus routes in an accessible format, then PWDs
  cannot check the schedule, especially if the office closes at 5PM.
  * A library does not have the staffed trained to support public computers or
  internet terminals, then they cannot effectively serve the local community.
  The web provides information, products and services to people through the
  Internet, Intranets, or Extranets. Computers have enabled people to function
  at home or at work, and study, train, or surf the web for information.
  Computers have also opened up the world to enable PWDs to be productive at
  home or work - the office now has no boundaries.  The web and other
  assistive devices have also enabled PWDs to us computers to be productive. 
  More importantly, through the web, the world has no boundaries.  We can now
  learn about another city, culture, or train schedule from the web.  Whereas,
  the web has facilitated access to information, e-mail has expanded our
  exchange of ideas and friendships.  We can now communicate to a larger
  audience, rather than by a single telephone call or a teleconference call.  
  We no longer need a dedicated office for the web and email - just a computer
  and connectivity to the internet. There are two policies that address
  accessibility of information for PWDs under Federal, State, and local
  government, Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) and Rehabilitation Act
  Amendments of 1998, Section 508.  While ADA references State and local
  governments, Section 508 establishes requirement that federal government,
  and by extension through the Assistive Technology Act of 1998,
  http://www.itpolicy.gsa.gov/cita/AT1998.htm, state government also, procure
  information technology that is accessible. 
  There is a relevant opinion issued by the US DOJ in September, 1996, 
  http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/foia/tal712.txt. It states, 
  "The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires State and local
  governments and places of public accommodation to furnish appropriate
  auxiliary aids and services where necessary to ensure effective
  communication with individuals with disabilities, unless doing so would
  result in a fundamental alteration to the program or service or in an undue
  Section 508 states under (1) Accessibility: 
  (A) Development, procurement, maintenance, or use of electronic and
  information technology: When developing, procuring, maintaining, or using
  electronic and information technology, each Federal department or agency,
  including the United States Postal Service, shall ensure, unless an undue
  burden would be imposed on the department or agency, that the electronic and
  information technology allows, regardless of the type of medium of the
  (i) individuals with disabilities who are Federal employees to have access
  to and use of information and data that is comparable to the access to and
  use of the information and data by Federal employees who are not individuals
  with disabilities; and 
  (ii) individuals with disabilities who are members of the public seeking
  information or services from a Federal department or agency to have access
  to and use of information and data that is comparable to the access to and
  use of the information and data by such members of the public who are not
  individuals with disabilities.
  Universal accessibility is not just for PWDs - it is for everyone. Universal
  accessibility is needed to ensure that PWDs and others can access web-based
  information.  Even though ADA and Section 508 require Federal, State and
  local governments to make accommodations for PWDs, there are no Federal
  guidelines for Agencies to use.  However, some states colleges, cities, and
  Federal Agencies have implemented accessibility guidelines, for example City
  of San Jose, California.  
  To build a Universally Accessible web site, here is an outline of the
  processes the web coder, content manager, graphic artist or team can use.
  The foundation for any universally accessible web site is the guidelines.
  The World Wide Web Consortium's Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) has
  drafted guidelines, The Web Content Guidelines,  for people to use.  On this
  web site you will also find Techniques for Web Content Accessibility
  Guidelines and List of Checkpoints for the Web Content Accessibility
  Guidelines.  The Web Accessibility Initiative also provides a forum for
  discussion of issues relating to Web accessibility, particularly issues
  related to WAI activities.
  Universal accessibility incorporates usability and universal design, so when
  building a web page or web application, accessibility problems or other
  design errors can be greatly reduced before release to the public. This is
  accomplished by applying quality assurance to check the concept, syntax and
  code; layout, navigation, and graphics; and acceptance testing on multiple
  browsers and users. 
  Quality assurance incorporates internal or external reviews or peer reviews,
  and applying third party tools, for example, CAST's Bobby for an
  accessibility check, W3C's HTML to validate the code and StarBase's
  StarSweeper to check for ALT Tags, Title's, Height and Width and other
  quality assurance functions.  Acceptance testing can be accomplished on
  multiple browsers to ensure the information is conveyed and there are no
  navigation or site usage problems.  
  For example, here is a simple process to follow in order to build a
  universally accessible web page or web applications:
  Step 1	Define the audience, business requirements, objectives, and timeline
  with the user.  
  Step 2	Determine resources, schedule, and sketch the process with a
  Step 3	Determine the design requirements and universal approach, refer to
  the Web Content Guidelines and internal design documents.
  Step 4	Design and layout the web site or web application.
  Step 5	Design Review with the customer to ensure the design is what they
  Step 5	QUALITY ASSURANCE.  The web coder or programmer would then conduct a
  Quality Assurance review by using one or a combination of the following
  tools: Bobby; HTML code validator; content review; preview on Lynx, a text
  based browser; multiple browsers and versions (Internet Explorer 3 and 4,
  Netscape Navigator 3, 4.x, and Opera); voice-based web browser (pwWebSpeak),
  and screen readers (WIN Vision and Jaws For Windows), and StarBase's
  StarSweeper.  Other items to check:  does the page print properly and can
  the print read.
  Step 6	UNIT TEST.  This is conducted by the coder or programmer to test
  compliance to the business requirements established earlier.  For example,
  test to ensure the e-mail functions and the message is received by the
  recipient, forms are tested and data checked, links are tested,  Users who
  are not associated with the design can also help testing and can provide an
  independent third party review of the design concept.  If the design uses
  queries or updates to modify or retrieve information form the database, then
  this will need to be tested.  The coder can develop scenarios using a
  spreadsheet to document the process, more commonly referred to as a script.
  This serves as a baseline for the design criteria and also can document the
  expected results. 
  Step 7	Acceptance Test.  This is formal acceptance by the customer of the
  product you designed as based upon customer requirements.
  There are alsp several efforts are underway by university-related,
  non-profits, consortiums and government agencies to (1) Research new
  technologies and apply to the home or workplace, (2) Provide education and
  outreach.  These efforts conduct critical research and provide
  methodologies, guidelines or tools to support universal accessibility.
  Therefore, everyone must be cognizant of PWD accessibility needs for the web
  to ensure we can provide information to everyone. 
  Referenced Resources: 
  * Web Accessibility Initiative, http://www.w3.org/WAI
  * Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) and Rehabilitation Act Amendments
  of 1998, Section 508, Policy References,
  * Bobby, http:www.cast.org/bobby
  * Quick tips to make accessible Web sites,
  * Web Content Guidelines, http://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-WEBCONTENT/.
  * Techniques for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
  * List of Checkpoints for the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0,
  * Web Accessibility Initiative also provides, http://www.w3.org/WAI/IG/
  * Starbase, http://www.starbase.com
  * Miscellaneous Information, http://www.webspots.net
  Robert Neff, robert.neff@usmint.treas.gov
  Branch Chief, Web Technical Services / Intranet Project Manager
  U.S. Mint

--Charles McCathieNevile            mailto:charles@w3.org
phone: +1 617 258 0992   http://www.w3.org/People/Charles
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative    http://www.w3.org/WAI
MIT/LCS  -  545 Technology sq., Cambridge MA, 02139,  USA
Received on Wednesday, 21 April 1999 11:55:01 UTC

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