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  1. #1
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Standards awards

    Apart from Bobby what other accessibility standards can a webmaster seek so they can display the appropriate award on their site? The only other one I know if is the RNIB's See It Right Campaign, which costs quite a bit!

  2. #2
    Don't get too close, I bite! Nicky's Avatar
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    Let's get this straight from the outset, Bobby is NOT an accessibility standard!

    I would steer clear from Bobby altogether. If you want to make your website accessible seperate your structure from your presentation as much as possible, use valid markup, and most importantly - test with REAL users. They will soon tell you whether your website is accessible or not.

  3. #3
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    bobby checks against section508 and WAI WCAG 1.0
    i disagree slightly with Alcmene: i would use bobby for a quick test to see if the page satisfies certain technical details...but bobby is definitely not the be all and end all of accessibility. make sure you do all the manual checks as well, and yes...real user testing is the best way to determine the site's level of accessibility.
    as for standards (and if you must display some kind of badge or something) i would suggest having a look at http://www.w3.org/WAI/WCAG1-Conformance.html rather than bobby...
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  4. #4
    Don't get too close, I bite! Nicky's Avatar
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    Well, I really dislike Bobby it is not user friendly. if you are going to check a website for technical issues then I would recommend A-Prompt over Bobby.

  5. #5
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    fair enough... http://aprompt.snow.utoronto.ca/ is quite good, i agree...although one issue i personally have with offline checkers is that it makes it one step more convoluted checking pages which have a lot of server-side processing (includes, db-driven content), particularly if things like include files actually contain part of the document's structure (e.g. having a header file which has all of the opening html, head and body tags, which are then closed in a footer file).
    in those instances, i find checkers that can connect to a live server a lot handier.
    but yeh, whatever does the job...
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  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard
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    I tried A Prompt once and as all my pages were ASPs it was a waste of time. Is there any other similiar solution?
    Alcmene, if Bobby isn't an accessibility standard then what is it? I never said it was the end all and be all. It's impossible to design such a tool, human checks are always gonna be required (unless we jump forward to the year 3000 ). However, it is a good tool for checking you are complying with the recommended standards and one of the most well known "awards" companies place on their sites.

  7. #7
    Don't get too close, I bite! Nicky's Avatar
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    Well, there are no STANDARDS as such, the closest you are going to get as the W3C Guidelines.
    Last edited by Nicky; Mar 4, 2003 at 07:53.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Enthusiast lhatkins's Avatar
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    Ya I found bobby to be more of a hinderance than a help, not helpful in its reports, at least if you use W3C's online check it tell's you what the problems are! I put my sites through the w3c html, css validators, and that's it for logo's the rest is done manually, by turning javascript, css off and making sure all menu times can be "tabbed" too
    Regards

    ---
    Lee

  9. #9
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    Daz, the issue is just that Bobby is not a standard in itself...it's a tool that checks against the W3C WAI WCAG (lovely) and/or Section508 standards.
    i'd rather put a WCAG banner/button on a page than a Bobby one.
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  10. #10
    Robert Wellock silver trophybronze trophy xhtmlcoder's Avatar
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    I would have to agree the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) rating is probably the best system I have seen, and I first used it in 1999.

    Then again, I am classed as actually having a disability: http://www.w3.org/WAI/EO/Drafts/PWD-....html#dyslexia that could affect my interpretation of web pages, however in my case generally it doesn't.

    Therefore in my opinion; I myself wouldn't make an especially good disabled candidate for testing site accessibility.

    Strangely enough though I would have to admit that some sites that totally focus on accessibility are harder to use than some that don't, on the whole the trick is getting the balance right.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Wizard
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    What do you mean by that when you say those that focus on accessibility are harder to use? What in particular?

  12. #12
    SitePoint Wizard Bill Posters's Avatar
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    Looking through W3C's list of impairment and disability 'workarounds' I'm left wondering-

    Could non-conformance with such exhaustive recommendations become grounds for legal action being taken against a site owner?

    For example, does it mean that a site owner could be sued by an attention deficit sufferer for not making their site's animations 'switch-off'-able?
    Could a site owner be sued by an elderly person with bad short-term memory who can't handle any changes in structure/navigation throughout a site?

    I'm just a little perturbed by the implications as to exactly how far a site has to go to be 'safe' and fully beyond the reach of the more litigious members of disabled society.

    It seems to be becoming a minefield and a straight-jacket (to mix my metaphors).
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  13. #13
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    bill, first of all, i think it heavily depends on what country you're in and what type of website we're talking about (private homepage, e-business, governmental site).
    secondly, i believe (and i may be wrong here...IANAL) the only grounds for a law suit would be if a site discriminates against users with disabilities by making it plain impossible for them to access certain features and not offering alternatives. to pick your last example first, changes in structure/navigation would affect all users, not just the ones with a disability...i.e. "i'm not discriminating against you...even non-disabled users have problems with my changing navigation bar, so there".
    the animations issue is highly dependant on whether or not your animation prevents users with disabilities from accessing the information. e.g. a floating box with all the important info just bouncing around the screen, with no way of stopping it, could make it impossible for users with visual impairments to read the info at all...
    in most cases i believe it comes down to the willingness of the site owner to make reasonable adjustments to their site if a user with disabilities cannot access certain features etc.

    sorry if my reply is a bit unfocussed...i'm just thinking out loud today...
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  14. #14
    Robert Wellock silver trophybronze trophy xhtmlcoder's Avatar
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    Perhaps I wasn't too clear, in my case my disability is basically independent of my intellect, the last time one was rated on the Culture Fair intelligence scale one was within the top 1% of the population. However, is it possible that I would spell February wrong and spell the word "Febuary" - let alone all the grammar errors I generate on forums.

    What tends to happen on certain websites is they have a propensity to try too hard, or should I say they cover such a broad-spectrum on accessibly that usability can become awkward.

    I myself would not know what it is like to see jumbled-up text since it is a common misconception that a person whom has dyslexia cannot read perfectly, although no doubt some 'dyslexic' individuals will have problems with reading textual content in certain font faces, or colours.

    Besides theoretically accessibility in computing roughly means "access to data", although the illusion that has been borne is if you get enough brownie points checked-off in the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) Checklist you'll have a good site.

    Nevertheless following the WAI should act as a form of blanketing to cover a broad spectrum of disabilities.

    The key question is ask yourself your true motives for making a site accessible in the context of WAI, are you doing it because: it makes you look good, because it is the current "buzzword" or you have to by law... The alternative option being do you actually believe deep-down that as a webmaster you would have considered these aspects before you even became familiar with webpage design (my answer would be the latter).

    Well, it certainly has become a legal minefield, although I believe it is the duty of specific bodies or organisations to adopt sites that are accessible although to give nearly everyone a straightjacket defeats some of ethos of the web.
    Last edited by xhtmlcoder; Mar 6, 2003 at 07:34.

  15. #15
    SitePoint Wizard
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    True motives... that's a good question. I guess my motive is the awareness of the subject I have now. I used to be totally ignorant and never gave a second thought to "anyone out of the ordinary". Now I know how to improve accessibility I feel duty bound as a web developer to follow guidelines.

  16. #16
    SitePoint Wizard Bill Posters's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by redux
    to pick your last example first, changes in structure/navigation would affect all users, not just the ones with a disability...i.e. "i'm not discriminating against you...even non-disabled users have problems with my changing navigation bar, so there".
    But surely that's the same structural argument that can be used to defend things like no alt tags or fixed size type.
    If there is no alternative for either abled or disabled visitors then they are both being offered the same problematic situation.
    The fact that the situation is more problematic for those with certain disabilities is the result of those disabilities, not the site.
    The site remains the same. It is the visitor that is rendered 'less abled' by their disability, not the site.

    To return to one of my examples-
    If the changes in navigation aren't problematic for someone with their full faculties, but are problematic to someone with recognised short-term memory loss then although the site is presented the same for both, the experience received is not and this may form grounds for litigation.
    You see my point? It's all about thresholds and where the line is drawn.

    What are the rights of person 'a' who suffers from condition-x but whose condition is not quite acute enough to qualify as disabled?
    Do they not have the right to sue on grounds of discrimination becuase they are not officially 'recognised' as disabled?
    And what about the rights of the person 'b' who suffers just a little less than 'a'- and what about person 'c' who suffers just a little less than them 'b', and...

    The problem is so subjective that it makes it impossible to regulate clearly and fairly *for both sides*.

    the animations issue is highly dependant on whether or not your animation prevents users with disabilities from accessing the information. e.g. a floating box with all the important info just bouncing around the screen, with no way of stopping it, could make it impossible for users with visual impairments to read the info at all...
    I think the suggestion of the W3C article could equally refer to non-essential animations used for either effect (experience) or attraction (adverts).
    The problem of peripheral animations is also their strong-suit- that they distract.
    If a peripheral animation can temporarily distract an able-bodied user (as occurs with banner ads, etc...) then the effect on someone suffering from attention deficit could be to destroy their ability to focus on the site's essential content.
    In such a situation, even though the animation was presented identically to both it could likely (though unreasonably, imho) be argued that the peripheral animation was discriminatory to the ad sufferer.


    I find it all very worrying and can only too easily envisage a web strangled by online disabled access legislation.
    The level of interference and legality that is gradually creeping into the web goes far beyond those levels that are present and enforceable in offline activities.
    As well meaning as it may be, it is misplaced.

    --

    I think the principle of exemption based on site 'type' is a foggy solution.
    Sites don't always fall into any one clear category.
    Some personal sites offer prints for sale as an addendum, though could not reasonably be considered e-commerce sites.
    The web is not built amidst neatly divided boundaries, but is a platform supporting every minute increment in a broad spectrum of roles and purposes.
    There is an innate chaos to the web that says it can be (or rather 'could' have been) whatever we wanted it to be. There should be no-one saying what we cannot do with our corner of the web however big or small our corner is.
    By restricting what we can 'do' with the web, they are restricting what the web can 'be'.

    --

    xhtmlcoder:

    While I disagree with your suggestion that the reasons behind our efforts make a site accessible are important (I personally think they are academic given that the choice is being taken away from us) I completely agree with your summation- that accessibility legislation goes against a principle that is as much part of the foundation as the notion of universal access.

    We(?) are trying to force the web into being all things to all people when the point of this greatest egalitarian is that it offers the potential for anyone to say whatever they want to say- however they want to say it.

    The government(s) have shoehorned the web into the wrong paradigm- that of business; and in doing so are gradually killing much of the free spirit that the web was intended to reflect and support.

    While I can't claim to know empirically, I strongly doubt that Tim Berners-Lee had intended the web to be used to force a principle down people throat regardless of whether they want it or need it.

    Imho, the web needs to be reclaimed and made a true reflection of society- warts and all.


    ---


    Sorry about the essay. I hope it wasn't too rambling.
    This is an issue that is close to my heart.
    I am keen to protect my rights as a supposedly free person to fashion my efforts and contributions towards a presence (be it purely commercial, purely expressive or any one of a million places in between the two) on a free platform as I decide and for the attention, use and appreciation of whomever I choose.
    Last edited by Bill Posters; Mar 6, 2003 at 09:44.
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  17. #17
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Posters
    But surely that's the same structural argument that can be used to defend things like no alt tags or fixed size type.
    If there is no alternative for either abled or disabled visitors then they are both being offered the same problematic situation.
    not really, imho. if there's a big graphic containing lots of text, but no alt tag, a non-visually-impaired (or should that be "sighted" ? hmm...need to read up on my political correctness for dummies book tonight) user can still read the text. they don't need the alt. for THEM it's an alternative...but for the visually-impaired user, it's a necessity...

    but yes, i know exactly where you're coming from.
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  18. #18
    Robert Wellock silver trophybronze trophy xhtmlcoder's Avatar
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    Precisely the web should be organic; I agree it is very vague where the line is drawn, as with most things commercialism is rife it is maintaining a healthy equilibrium that I think is important.

    Luckily, I have the luxury of not actually being a web-designer or web master in the professional context, and the only major worries I have are the legal implications of designing and managing the Local Young Farmers' Club website.

    Since it's a registered charity and they are more interested in protecting youth form the more nasty aspects of society. Which would mean, since using Platform for Internet Content Selection (PICS) in a perverse way I am going against accessibility by defining filtering meta data to protect various user groups.

    I understand where all your motives lay and this has probably the most interesting conversation I have seen this week...


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