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Re: Process for Reviewing Websites

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2000 15:29:51 -0400 (EDT)
To: Harvey Bingham <hbingham@acm.org>
cc: w3c-wai-eo@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.20.0004281524230.13812-100000@tux.w3.org>

I agree we cannot review the whole web (or even much of it), but at the same
time I think it is a valuable exercise. It also provides a very good test for
the various guidelines - this is why the AU and UA groups have already begun
testing software against their guidelines. (Although I agree that teaching
existing webmasters about accessibility, and including accessibility as a
basic requirement in courses teaching people from scratch, are likely going
to have more long-term impact).

I also have to disagree with the assessment that going deep into a site is
not worthwhile - I have done a number of reviews, and many important errors
are not turned up except by going deep and broad. I think that to decalre
that a site is accessible when there are parts of it which are untested is
risky. (This is of course different when working with site developers who can
be expected to aply the principles discussed acorss the site themselves.)


Charles McCN

On Fri, 28 Apr 2000, Harvey Bingham wrote:

  I like the review idea.
  As suggested, I believe several tools would be appropriate:
      tidy, and some among A-Prompt, WAVE, Bobby.
  The means to summarize from those choices is non-trivial.
  I see site accessibility analysis as a huge time-consumer.
  It is certainly beyond what we few can do, particularly in
  teams of volunteers. I believe we will better spend our
  time in motivating site designers. I'd rather teach a
  webmaster to use the tools to find and fix the site's
  problems than show all the problems I can find and
  then myself produce a parallel site with the problems fixed.
  Limited actions we can take: I expect that most of the
  benefit from site analysis, and likely the pattern of
  inaccessible usage will come from analyzing just the
  top-level page. The marginal insights we will find from
  the next 10 (or 100 or 1000 or ...) pages of a site and
  want to report will be small. After all, big sites have
  budgets to do this sort of assessment and repair. At best
  we can sensitize their QA departments to include accessibility
  issues in their testing.
  I do occasionally send my assessments to particular
  webmasters when I believe their important message can be
  made more accessible. For me, most pages don't deserve
  that attention. I usually get thanked for my efforts.
  Way back in 1997 I did two surveys (using early Bobby, when I
  could extract and cross-tabulate the results programatically)
  of the 40 to 50 members of SGML-Open at the time. The second,
  three months later, did not find much improvement, a net loss
  as more glitz was added.
  A suggested group of sites with influence in any country are
  those of the politicians who are interested in
  telecommunications, particularly those who can affect any
  legislation or policy. Another group are those government
  agencies that regulate telecommunications.
  Regards/Harvey Bingham

Charles McCathieNevile    mailto:charles@w3.org    phone: +61 (0) 409 134 136
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative                      http://www.w3.org/WAI
Location: I-cubed, 110 Victoria Street, Carlton VIC 3053
Postal: GPO Box 2476V, Melbourne 3001,  Australia 
Received on Friday, 28 April 2000 15:29:54 UTC

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