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RE: Exploding the myth of automated accessibility checking

From: Stuart Smith <Stuart.M.Smith@manchester.ac.uk>
Date: Tue, 9 Aug 2005 14:23:05 +0100
To: WAI-IG <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org> , "w3c-wai-gl@w3.org" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <20050809142305875.00000002288@MARVIN>

Automated Testing might make up part of a portfolio of approaches but can never be sufficient in itself. That is not to say it should not be used. It just shouldn't be seen as a Holy Grail. Of course it is attractive because (compared to user testing) it's cheap and once implemented usually straightforward. But automated testing negates the fact that we are trying to address the needs of people not machines or procedures. 

In the UK the WAI Guidelines are increasingly being bandied about as if they were the be all and end all of accessibility and automated tests and testing houses are cropping up everywhere. Suddenly organisations are displaying compliance to this standard or that but saying nothing about their true usability and accessibility. The sad thing is that no one actually knows if these efforts make things better for the user because no one has bothered to ask.


-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Jamal Mazrui
Sent: 09 August 2005 14:13
To: Mark Gristock; David Poehlman
Cc: Wendy Chisholm; Joe Clark; WAI-IG; WAI-GL
Subject: RE: Exploding the myth of automated accessibility checking

I don't follow.  Of course, we seek usability and accessibility.  The tests are not ends in themselves but means to this end.  

By comparison, the U.S. Access Board defines standards for various architectural and technological environments.  These standards are usually measurable and specific, and this aids understanding and compliance by industry.  Web pages have the advantage of more automated testing by their nature rather than requiring, say, a measuring tape to verify that a doorway is wide enough to accomodate a wheelchair.


-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Gristock [mailto:mark.gristock@jkd.co.uk]
Sent: Tuesday, August 09, 2005 9:03 AM
To: Jamal Mazrui; David Poehlman
Cc: Wendy Chisholm; Joe Clark; WAI-IG; WAI-GL
Subject: RE: Exploding the myth of automated accessibility checking

But surely the only accessibility test that actually matters in the end
is the user one?

Tools are useful in validating work. Each tool has individual strengths
and weaknesses - but they aren't what accessibility is about. Nobody got
involved in the WAI because they wanted to build sites that passed
tests. They want people to be able to use them. 

The search for a holy grail tool that ticks all the boxes is impossible
because the very service is people based. 

That's why it's accessibility, not validation.

VirusChecked for Huntsworth plc
Received on Tuesday, 9 August 2005 13:23:15 UTC

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