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Thread: How long between accessibility test/audits?

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From: James A.
Date: Tue, May 28 2019 2:22PM
Subject: How long between accessibility test/audits?
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Hello everyone,

I am after views on how often accessibility tests/audits should be undertaken on a site once an initial audit has been completed. Do people have a general guideline on the maximum time lapse between audits when previous compliance claims can be considered valid? I realise that in agile development environment timeframes may be irrelevant so are there particular level or type of functionality changes that would mean that a new audit would be required?

To give some context, I am writing some guidance with colleagues in the university sector on the European Public Sector Website and Mobile Applications regulations. Some of the requirements only come into force after a website and/or content undergoes "substantially revision" or "updated" but neither of these terms have been defined. The closest mention to any timeframe is in relation to accessibility statements where is states:

"It is recommended that the claims made in the accessibility statement are reviewed as regards their accuracy on a regular basis, and at least once per year. If such a review has taken place without a full evaluation of the website/mobile app, whether or not such a review has led to any changes in the accessibility statement, please indicate the date of the last such review."

Many thanks in advance

Abi


Dr Abi James

Accessibility Consultant and Reaseacher

From: Patrick H. Lauke
Date: Tue, May 28 2019 2:42PM
Subject: Re: How long between accessibility test/audits?
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On 28/05/2019 21:22, James A. wrote:
> Hello everyone,
>
> I am after views on how often accessibility tests/audits should be undertaken on a site once an initial audit has been completed. Do people have a general guideline on the maximum time lapse between audits when previous compliance claims can be considered valid? I realise that in agile development environment timeframes may be irrelevant so are there particular level or type of functionality changes that would mean that a new audit would be required?

How long is a piece of string?

It's really dependent on the processes in place. In an ideal world,
accessibility would be a core aspect of any continuing development.
After an initial audit to establish a baseline, any further changes and
developments, no matter how small, should be considered with regards to
accessibility directly at the planning and development stage, so that
it's more about continuous testing and integration.

If that's not possible, then it's obviously dependent on the type of
changes that are being made. If it's lots of small changes that are
fairly "safe" (no new big functionalities, no refactoring/reworking of
existing things from a structural and functional point of view), it's
probably safe to do the occasional (once a year?) spot check of those
changed areas. Any more major developments (a complete redesign, or a
complete "under the bonnet" change of the page structures, or addition
of a whole new section/functionality) should trigger a more thorough audit.

P
--
Patrick H. Lauke

www.splintered.co.uk | https://github.com/patrickhlauke
http://flickr.com/photos/redux/ | http://redux.deviantart.com
twitter: @patrick_h_lauke | skype: patrick_h_lauke

From: Scott Tate
Date: Wed, May 29 2019 1:37PM
Subject: Re: How long between accessibility test/audits?
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If you want a bit of 'hard love' as we call it in the US, we at Blndspt (and many other places including WebAIM themselves) feel like it's an ongoing process, not a reactive catch all that is performed on intervals. Tenon, Monsido, Cyxtera and others all make tools that help you build it into normal software development processes (e.g. test code on a build). Build a proactive process! Build accessibility testing into your QA processes for all the systems you engineer!

I can say with past experience that companies who treat accessibility testing (and remediation) as a scheduled or reactive process almost always fall out of compliance. This has a lot to do with priority. When an urgent project comes along, I promise the first thing to forego will be accessibility compliance. If you (or your colleagues) need help building a culture, the any one of 100 of us (including the WebAIM folks) can help you!

If your guidance is around education, government, or some other fixed annual budget area, facilitate annual budgets for tools and process updates, not projects for reactive testing and remediation!

Cheers!
Scott Tate
CIO, Blndspt.com

http://www.blndspt.com/accessibility


-----Original Message-----
From: James A. < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 2:23 PM
To: 'WebAIM Discussion List' < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
Subject: [WebAIM] How long between accessibility test/audits?

Hello everyone,

I am after views on how often accessibility tests/audits should be undertaken on a site once an initial audit has been completed. Do people have a general guideline on the maximum time lapse between audits when previous compliance claims can be considered valid? I realise that in agile development environment timeframes may be irrelevant so are there particular level or type of functionality changes that would mean that a new audit would be required?

To give some context, I am writing some guidance with colleagues in the university sector on the European Public Sector Website and Mobile Applications regulations. Some of the requirements only come into force after a website and/or content undergoes "substantially revision" or "updated" but neither of these terms have been defined. The closest mention to any timeframe is in relation to accessibility statements where is states:

"It is recommended that the claims made in the accessibility statement are reviewed as regards their accuracy on a regular basis, and at least once per year. If such a review has taken place without a full evaluation of the website/mobile app, whether or not such a review has led to any changes in the accessibility statement, please indicate the date of the last such review."

Many thanks in advance

Abi


Dr Abi James

Accessibility Consultant and Reaseacher

From: Guy Hickling
Date: Wed, May 29 2019 5:55PM
Subject: Re: How long between accessibility test/audits?
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To emphasise what Scott has just said, test every release. Even if it's
just a one liner, the test team should automatically test its accessibility
at the same time as they test its functionality. Most large websites are
being updated constantly, so need testing each time, not leaving it to some
(probably quite mythical) annual audit by which time the important pages
have become unusable by many people anyway.

But even more importantly, have your developers learn how to produce
accessible markup, including ARIA, in the first place. They should not
simply correct what the testers throw back at them. Developers can learn it
easily. They are quite used to learning new skills - they do it all the
time. They learn HTML, CSS, JavaScript, React, Angular, WordPress,
whatever. Accessibility and ARIA are a lot easier to learn than some of
them! (and will be an extra skill on their CV as well).

Automated test tools can provide some help for the developers as well, of
course, but never forget automated tools can only ever pick up about 25% of
accessibility defects. You need human testing for every release.

Regards,
Guy Hickling

From: James A.
Date: Thu, May 30 2019 12:52AM
Subject: Re: How long between accessibility test/audits?
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Hi everyone

Thanks for the comments so far. I completely agree with the need to test regularly and embed accessibility within the development process.

However, my question was slightly different. This relates to regulations coming in Europe that are similar to 508 requirements. In some cases the accessibility requirement comes in after “substantial revisions” to the site. Hence I am after examples of what changes would be considered substantial enough to have significantly changed the accessibility of the site. Is there any regulations or best practice that has a similar trigger for accessibility to be checked?

I have come across organisations that claim they are meeting accessibility standards but are basing this on audits that are 4+ years old which would clearly be out of data.

Best wishes

Abi

Sent from my iPhone

> On 30 May 2019, at 00:55, Guy Hickling < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:
>
> To emphasise what Scott has just said, test every release. Even if it's
> just a one liner, the test team should automatically test its accessibility
> at the same time as they test its functionality. Most large websites are
> being updated constantly, so need testing each time, not leaving it to some
> (probably quite mythical) annual audit by which time the important pages
> have become unusable by many people anyway.
>
> But even more importantly, have your developers learn how to produce
> accessible markup, including ARIA, in the first place. They should not
> simply correct what the testers throw back at them. Developers can learn it
> easily. They are quite used to learning new skills - they do it all the
> time. They learn HTML, CSS, JavaScript, React, Angular, WordPress,
> whatever. Accessibility and ARIA are a lot easier to learn than some of
> them! (and will be an extra skill on their CV as well).
>
> Automated test tools can provide some help for the developers as well, of
> course, but never forget automated tools can only ever pick up about 25% of
> accessibility defects. You need human testing for every release.
>
> Regards,
> Guy Hickling
> > > >

From: Mallory
Date: Sat, Jun 01 2019 1:35AM
Subject: Re: How long between accessibility test/audits?
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I don't believe that has been defined. It has been left deliberately vague to
allow precedents from the wild to set this.

My definition would be examples such as:
A form, such as a contact form, has been rewritten (HTML) or restyled
visually. It makes sense to extrapolate this to things you could call a
widget or component: a navigation menu, a table, a search function,
a banner landmark area.
A switch to another CMS.
A visual restyling even if it claims to not change the content or HTML.
Additions of any departments (for example, a municipality starts hosting
a section on their own site about solar panel subsidies when this was
available on another website earlier).

> I have come across organisations that claim they are meeting
> accessibility standards but are basing this on audits that are 4+ years
> old which would clearly be out of data.

If the only thing that's changed on a site was the text on the page, it's
possible if it was accessible before, it still is. It's just that people seem
to constantly want to change websites that work fine "because it's
old."

cheers,
Mallory


On Thu, May 30, 2019, at 8:53 AM, James A. wrote:
> Hi everyone
>
> Thanks for the comments so far. I completely agree with the need to
> test regularly and embed accessibility within the development process.
>
> However, my question was slightly different. This relates to
> regulations coming in Europe that are similar to 508 requirements. In
> some cases the accessibility requirement comes in after “substantial
> revisions” to the site. Hence I am after examples of what changes would
> be considered substantial enough to have significantly changed the
> accessibility of the site. Is there any regulations or best practice
> that has a similar trigger for accessibility to be checked?
>
> I have come across organisations that claim they are meeting
> accessibility standards but are basing this on audits that are 4+ years
> old which would clearly be out of data.
>
> Best wishes
>
> Abi