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Comments-Selecting and Using Web Accessibility Evaluation Tools

From: Sailesh Panchang <sailesh.panchang@deque.com>
Date: Fri, 15 Oct 2004 11:40:43 -0400
Message-ID: <00c601c4b2cd$5548ca10$a201a8c0@deque.local>
To: "EOWG" <w3c-wai-eo@w3.org>
Under Checkpoint Support:


Labeling some tools as focused is only legitimizing their inadequacies and hence I disagree with the need to differentiate between general and focused tools. In fact users of tools should be aware that not all tools cover all checkpoints or handle all technologies and they should check them out. This is   kind of vindicated with the statement in this section that says:

"It is important (for the tool) to address all relevant checkpoints in order to determine a conformance level". So the terms general and focused are not needed.

Likewise a good tool is one that covers all possible checkpoints that can be done in an automated fashion and does a good job with all the checkpoints. As a practical measure users may invest in more than one tool to make sure that all violations are being identified accurately- And they will do so in evaluating the tool and deciding which one meets their needs well. But this doc should not prescribe combining tools as the standard way to go by saying "may be the best way to reach an appropriate level of checkpoint support." 

Ability of a tool to do the following, for instance, distinguishes a good tool from one that is inadequate:   

- identify violations accurately, 

- allow judgmental input from tool-user during violations identification process,  

- allow users to specify options for evaluating certain checkpoints that    need such user-specified parameters (eg. Number of contiguous links that make a group for checkpoint 13.6)   

- allow users to specify how certain violations should be fixed when there is more than one way of doing so

- Coverage and format of reports

- handle different technologies  

- ease of use, ease of learning and help features etc.


Using different tools in fact lead to different kinds of reports, need for all users to learn different tool interfaces etc which is not optimal at the organizational level in the long run.

The document should highlight how tools differ so that users are aware of what to look for in a tool. In reading this doc I saw that it recommends   using more than one tool. This is done in several places. Instead the doc should say that one org might decide that using more than one tool best meets its needs. But this is by no means a norm and the doc should not strongly advocate this route by repeating this advice in several places.

Sailesh Panchang
Senior Accessibility Engineer 
Deque Systems,11180  Sunrise Valley Drive, 
4th Floor, Reston VA 20191
Tel: 703-225-0380 Extension 105 
E-mail: sailesh.panchang@deque.com
Fax: 703-225-0387
* Look up <http://www.deque.com> *
Received on Friday, 15 October 2004 15:42:41 UTC

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