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RE: [selecting eval tools] simplifying terminology and wording at beginning

From: Andrew Arch <andrew.arch@nils.org.au>
Date: Thu, 6 Jan 2005 11:06:45 +1100
To: "'EOWG \(E-mail\)'" <w3c-wai-eo@w3.org>
Cc: <shadi@w3.org>, "'Shawn Henry'" <shawn@w3.org>, "Steven Faulkner \(E-mail\)" <steven.faulkner@nils.org.au>
Message-ID: <027b01c4f383$9c719010$84c8a8c0@yourdh7axfhyur>


Just re-reading Shawn's suggested re-wording of Shadi's draft [0] -
certainly makes it clearer, but as a result highlights what appear to be
gaps in the feature classification.

For instance, would we classify WebAIM's WAVE [1] as a transformation tool?
It is vastly different from a program like JAWS [2] that literally
transforms the page from text to sound. Or would we classify the WAVE as a
conformance tool? Again, while it clearly indicates areas on your page that
fail specific checkpoints, it is quite different from programmes like Bobby
[3] that provide a pass/fail type of report.

And how would we classify our Accessibility Toolbar [4]? The Toolbar
includes the option to "validate" pages and CSS, as well as providing a) a
variety of "transformations" as per the WAVE, b) indicators of the presence
of certain (potentially problematic) code and objects c) a variety of
simulations (are these transformations?) and d) hooks into IE for other
manual testing.

I use both the WAVE and the Accessibility Toolbar for "conformance
checking", and yet neither gives me a "report"!

Taking Sailesh's comments [5] further, I think we need to think a little
more about what we mean by Evaluation Tools (Repair Tools are probably clear
enough?) and what features we all look for and/or use. Unfortunately I have
no brilliant ideas immediately, other than to suggest that "conformance
tools" might need to be broken to discuss automatic (limited) conformance
checking and manual conformance checking. It may also mean some more
thinking and reclassification of the ERT listing [6]. For instance, Sailesh
suggests that JAWS should not be considered a transformation tool (though it
fits Shadi's current definition), but raises the question of products like
Home Page Reader [7], which is a useful analytical tool. And then where does
Fangs [8] fit as a simulator of a screen reader?

Seems like a good topic for a forthcoming EO meeting, or maybe a combined
meeting with the ERT Working Group?.


[0] http://www.w3.org/WAI/EO/Drafts/eval/selectingtools.html
[1] http://wave.webaim.org/index.jsp
[2] http://www.hj.com/fs_products/software_jaws.asp
[3] http://bobby.watchfire.com/bobby/html/en/index.jsp
[4] http://www.nils.org.au/ais/web/resources/toolbar/index.html
[5] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-wai-eo/2004OctDec/0147.html
[6] http://www.w3.org/WAI/ER/existingtools
[7] http://www-306.ibm.com/able/solution_offerings/hpr.html
[8] http://sourceforge.net/projects/fangs/

Dr Andrew Arch
Accessible Information Solutions, NILS
Ph +613 9864 9282; Fax +613 9864 9370

National Information and Library Service
A subsidiary of RBS.RVIB.VAF Ltd.

-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-eo-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-eo-request@w3.org]On
Behalf Of Shawn Henry
Sent: Saturday, 18 December 2004 3:09 AM
To: EOWG (E-mail)
Cc: shadi@w3.org
Subject: [selecting eval tools] simplifying terminology and wording at

Shadi & EOWG,

Below is a first pass at simplifying the beginning of the document.

I feel pretty strongly that we should use only "evaluation tools" for the
high-level term (e.g., in the title) - and then only where necessary use the
specific "types" of tools.


~ Shawn

<h1>Selecting Web Accessibility Evaluation Tools


Web accessibility evaluation tools are software programs that help determine
if a Web site is accessible, and help improve Web accessibility. This
document explains different features of evaluation tools and helps to
determine which types of tools and features would best meet your specific

WAI encourages the development and evolution of Web accessibility evaluation
tools, and maintains an <a>extensive list of evaluation tools</a>. WAI does
not endorse or promote any specific tool or vendor.

<h2>Features of Web Accessibility Evaluation Tools

Web accessibility evaluation tools provide one or more of the following

- Checks whether Web pages meet specific guidelines or standards, such as
the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0. For example, the tool lists
which guidelines the Web pages does and does not meet. [short example of
results] These tools can be called "<strong>conformance tools</>."

- Changes the appearance or presentation of Web pages, which can help
identify potential accessibility problems. For example, the tool might read
the Web page aloud (screen reader), or add HTML markup to the visual
presentation of the page. [screen grab that matches written example] These
tools are called "<strong>transformation tools</>."

- Helps fix accessibility problems in Web pages. For example, the tool might
provide a dialog box for entering missing alternative (ALT) text
descriptions for images. [screen grab that matches written example] These
tools are called "<strong>repair tools</>."

- Checks whether Web pages meet Web specifications, such as HTML, XHTML, or
CSS. These are called "<strong>validation tools</a>," and they evaluate more
than specific accessibility issues.

Web accessibility evaluation tools are usually stand-alone software, and
sometimes are "plug-ins" for Web browsers or Web authoring tools (such as
Web page editors, content management systems, or word processors). Some
tools run periodically to monitor Web site accessibility. [wonder if this
paragraph fits here or elsewhere?]
Received on Thursday, 6 January 2005 00:07:53 UTC

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