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Re: What is Cynthia (was Re: priority rating)


From: Holly Marie
Date: May 28, 2003 5:09AM

From: "Patrick Taylor"

> Hi Stephen
> We seem to be in a "golden age" of accessibility checkers. Cynthia, I
> believe, is short for Cynthia Says, the one of the latest
> checkers (Bobby, Cynthia Says, Ask Alice, AccVerify, Wave ...)
> Some resemble Bobby but have (according to their authors) more
> checking algorithms. Cynthia Says seems to be a bit better than Bobby
> but still has it's share of dumb warnings -- it flags null alt tags on
> images (ie putting alt="" on an image tag) when those are necessary
> purely decorative images. It has some other minor quirks.

I believe there are options on the set-up, though I am not sure if you
can disclude the empty Alt tags... and maybe it should not be discluded.
My thoughts or feelings,... Some authoring tools may *automatically*
place alt="" into an image tag if a user does not specifically fill that
blank or give that description. That warning[it is not an error to
include empty alts] may flag and make the user aware of one or more they
may have meant to include but forgot?

> YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary) but here is a dump of my accessibility
> checker bookmarks:
> Cynthia Says
> http://www.cynthiasays.com/

Personally, I prefer to use the Cynthia Says model, and check against
the WCAG [all priorites], and Section 508[which I feel is weak in
several areas]. Checking and Meeting Section 508 only, may overlook some
key accessibility factors.

> Wave 3.0 Accessibility Tool
> http://www.wave.webaim.org/index.jsp
> [From WebAIM itself. Simultaneously very helpful and terribly
> disorienting because it attempts to overlay its report graphically on
> the webpage itself. Icons may be more confusing than helpful but I am
> getting used to it. May be just to advanced for my brain]

You are not alone, and I find the graphical interface may be very
confusing or overly busy. I imagine this tool might be overly busy or
distracting for some users. I would prefer the plain text checking mode,
though there are some added benefits to Wave [checking for linear
readability, etc...] , that are not present with other
validating/checking tools. On the other hand, the graphical interface
may be an excellent option for others.

> W3C HTML Validator
> http://validator.w3.org/
> W3C CSS Validator
> http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/
> My own personal caveat: In the end no automated accessibility checker
> can beat a good manual examination assisted by a checklist and trying
> to apply best practices to the initial design.

I agree, though they are quick checks for stand out errors or problem
areas. It is a part of the package when I check documents.


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