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Re: screen readers for macs - also bobby question

From: iris <iristopa@yahoo.com>
Date: Fri, 7 Mar 2003 13:57:06 -0800 (PST)
Message-ID: <20030307215706.76849.qmail@web13208.mail.yahoo.com>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

--- Julia Collins <julia@we3.co.uk> wrote:
> so we're getting there. But I bet there are views on
> how useful bobby
> validation is - at the risk of starting a landfall,
> I'd love to hear
> them....

bobby is a tool for developers to identify problems
but because it is so well-known these days outside of
the web dev community it often gets mistaken for a
definite answer to whether a site is accessible or

people who don't know anything about the wai
guidelines, who don't read further than the 'bobby
approved' or 'repair needed' icon, quickly label a
site as inaccessible (often in public reports).

booby (ah, my favorite mis-spelling, so i left it in
;) takes the wai guidelines very literally.  there are
a few checkpoints in the guidelines that are often
argued about on web design mailing list, there are a
few point that force web developers to apply silly and
wasteful hacks, a few points that clearly state "until
user agents deal with this properly" (or whatever the
wording is).  well, user agents are getting better...
(although we could argue backwards compatibility at
this point)

example 1: form entry field should contain a default
text.  that's not always practical and in my own
experience with user tests can confuse users.

example 2: for purely decorative images it has become
general practise to use empty alt attributes.  that is
just to satisfy bobby and wai.  how is that more
accessible than a missing alt attribute?

example 3: links should be separated by printable
characters (this is one of the 'until user agents...'
points).  so web designer often insert the pipe
character and then make it invisible with display:none
in the stylesheet.  that adds a lot of wasteful code
to a page.

as i said, one can argue about these things and we
have already done that numerous times on this and
other lists (i remember a discussion about table
summaries not too long ago).  all i'm saying is that
things are not so black and white.  when you check
your site with bobby you go through the 'repair
needed' points and make your own informed decisions
about it.  someone without your knowledge might
however declare your site inaccessible because it says
'repair needed' for one lousy level 3 point (it
doesn't say 'not accessible', does it?).

to reiterate: bobby is a fantastic tool for web
developers.  full stop.


omnia mea mecum porto


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Received on Friday, 7 March 2003 19:12:59 UTC

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