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Re: Web Accessibility Visualization Tool updated

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@sidar.org>
Date: Fri, 01 Apr 2005 21:34:21 +1000
To: "Jon Gunderson" <jongund@uiuc.edu>
Cc: "W3C WAI-IG" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <op.sojw3jusw5l938@researchsft>


thanks for the explanation. Some comments below...

On Fri, 01 Apr 2005 15:40:28 +1000, Jon Gunderson <jongund@uiuc.edu> wrote:

> 2. I plan to continue to support the tool on the current
> server as a free tool as long as I or other people find it
> useful, and the server can support the technologies used in
> the tool (mostly Perl).  Have no fear if you like the tool it
> will be around and "free" for a long time.  Hopefully the tool
> will get better and one way for it to get better is by
> receiving constructive comments on features and bugs from
> people who find the tool useful.
> http://devserv.rehab.uiuc.edu/accwebsim/beta/
> 3. I plan to try to find new resources to continue to improve
> the web accessibility visualization tool.  If any one with
> programming skills and time is interested in helping in
> development please let me know.

In the past (when working at W3C) I supervised several student projects  
working on a tool called WANAU, from ESSI (an engineering school that is  
aprt of the university of Nice). There may be interest in working on  
merging the features and codebases - Wanau was a more traditional  
evaluation/repair tool, but there was certainly interest in trying to  
incorporate some of these functionaities into it. Apart from the first  
version which apparently was commercialised as a seperate project, with  
the original code still being available, it was essentaily an exercise in  
testing several ideas and trying to develop some useful open-source code  
(one of the things that it did come up with was java libraries for  
producing EARL, and storing it on an annotea server, and recuperating it).

> 4. If the features demonstrated in this tool already exist, I
> would also like to know.  No reason for me to expend resources
> and time replicating a wheel that already exists.

There are a number of tools that do similar things. Hera -  
http://www.sidar.org/hera - runs provides views very like those that your  
tool does, using CSS (hence the english name "Accessibilty With Style" -  
which was cooler-sounding than the original spanish which means "Style  
Sheets for Testing Accessibility" :-).

On the other hand Hera is not currently open source. It is in development  
- the new version is coming out of Beta at this stage and does a lot more  
automated testing or semi-automated testing.

It is not the only other tool that does this - the Wave, the ART simulator  
 from UBAccess, te various lynx emulations, and a huge number of other  
tools provide this kind of appraoch. I don't see it as a bad thing to have  
more tools pushing the baseline standard of what is considered a decent  
tool (we certainly don't claim that Hera is the same as a tool meant for  
enterprise-scale testing, but it is cheaper :-)

> Other "Free" Tools form UIUC
> 1. Mozilla/Firefox Accessibility Extension
> http://cita.disability.uiuc.edu/software/mozilla
> The source code is included as part of the extension
> (javascript) and already has the GNU license in the code.  I
> hope the features of the Web Accessibility Visualization tool
> will one day be intergrated into the extension.

Yep, this is cool.

> 2. Visual Impairment Simulator for Microsoft Windows
> http://cita.disability.uiuc.edu/software/vis/
> A tool designed to teach people about various visual
> impairments in a near realtime simulation on the computer
> screen.  This is another student project, if anyone wants the
> source code I am sure the students would be glad to share it.
> Commercial Tool
> 1. Web Accessibility Wizard for Microsft Office (Windows)
> http://cita.disability.uiuc.edu/software/office
> This tool allows you to create highly accessible and W3C
> standards compliant html versions of Microsoft Office documents.
> I beleive this is the tool that draws the ire of Mr. Kelly.
> It is a complex tool that requires professional full time
> developers.  From my correspondances with Mr. Kelly he seems
> more interested in a "Free" tool model, than an "Open
> Source" model.   I hope people find $40 US value in the tool
> and would consider it a contribution to making the tool better
> and making their life easier when dealing with Microsoft
> Office documents.

I think what happened was that people felt they had paticipated in the  
development to the extent of giving feedback, and were surprised that they  
could no longer use the tool for free. The important thing is probably to  
be clear at the start about expectations. We have not had a shortage of  
people prepared to work on Hera testing, but we hope not to surprise them  
with a change in the status. There was a similar backlash when Bobby  
started being a tool that you had to buy, and to some extent I think it  
was unjustified, although I think again there was a naive process of  
managing expectations of "customers" that didn't help at the time.



Charles McCathieNevile                      Fundacion Sidar
charles@sidar.org   +61 409 134 136    http://www.sidar.org
Received on Friday, 1 April 2005 11:34:34 UTC

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