Thread Subject: Re: Proposal on authoring tools
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From: Hoffman, Allen
Date: Tue, Jun 12 2007 12:30 PM
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It is very realistic.
However, that is why "best meets" agency needs is in the current law, to
allow for variations on the business needs and selection criteria.
Allen Hoffman -- = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ; v: 202-447-0303
From: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
[mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ] On Behalf Of Walser,
Sent: Tuesday, June 12, 2007 2:19 PM
To: TEITAC Web/Software Subcommittee
Subject: Re: [teitac-websoftware] Proposal on authoring tools
With respect to proposed Authoring Tool guideline #5 (authoring tools
must include a mode to check for accessibility problems), Kate Walser
asked if implementing guideline #5 would prohibit new tool development
given patented accessibility-checking capabilities on the market today.
Dana Simberkoff replied that ATAG 2.0 defines "authoring tool" as
software or a collection of software components, so any products used
together (e.g., base tool and plug-in) or separately (e.g., markup
editor, image editor, validation tool) count whether there's formal
collaboration between product developers.
Kate replies: Thanks, Dana. That answers one question.
The next question ties back to evaluating competing products in light of
a potential guideline #5. How would this standard be evaluated by an
agency looking to purchase an authoring tool, if the agency already has
purchased an accessibility-checking tool?
Example: Agency X issues a solicitation that requests technical and cost
information about an authoring tool that will enable Agency X to
implement a goal. Let's say it's implementing a new Web site in this
Company A decides to respond and has an authoring tool that includes
accessibility-checking capabilities, which they've licensed from Company
Company B responds as well and has a different authoring tool. Their
tool does not incorporate accessibility-checking capabilities. In fact,
Company B doesn't even care about this provision as they expect agencies
will have their own tools.
When Agency X evaluates Company A and B's responses, aside from the new
guideline #5, all else is equal. Company A better meets the criteria,
but Company B meets the rest of the criteria and the agency already has
the accessibility checking tool. Plus Company B's tool is cheaper.
So it seems like Company B could win out given best value and agency
ownership of the tool already though Company A has worked harder to
follow the standards and may have been doing so for years (e.g., let's
say they'd built in the accessibility checking feature when the original
508 was out).
Is this a realistic scenario? If not, I'll be silent. Am just concerned
that with guideline #5, using "must" creates issues and using "should"
creates even more and makes it difficult for an agency to evaluate
Director, Usability Center of Excellence SRA International, Inc.
4300 Fair Lakes Court
Fairfax, VA 22033
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