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RE: "New" Accessibility Validator


From: Terence de Giere
Date: Oct 25, 2003 10:35AM

The Watchfire service appears to be using the same engine as in Bobby
5.0 (A Windows-only program) although I have encountered one Priority 2
(W3C 13.1 Do not use the same link phrase more than once when the links
point to different URLs) and one priority 3 item (W3C 10.5 - Separate
adjacent links with more than whitespace) where this engine incorrectly
reports faults under certain circumstances when elements are intervening
within the elements being checked (the the parsing of the group is
incomplete and Bobby returns a spurious error). Under the same
conditions, Bobby 4.01, the Java version of the programs appears to
perform correctly. Watchfire has also added a number of other features
in this service besides accessibility which also seem to be very useful.

There does seem to be trend for vendors of accessibility checking
software to add additional features associated with usability and other
matters to enhance the value, to make it appear more useful and
different from other vendor's software, perhaps hoping to make more
sales thereby, although these additional features sometimes contravene
workarounds designers and developers come up with to enhance
accessibility while retaining a graphical design, by reporting them as
an error, or as a problem that should be addressed. I am not sure it is
possible to create a complex page that passes all these different
accessibility checkers's automated routines due to bugs and these added

Terence de Giere

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