The Techshare 2007 Conference (2)

I mentioned previously my talk on “Beyond Compliance – A Holistic Approach to Web Accessibility” which I gave at the Techshare 2007 conference.

My talk was in complete contrast to the preceding talk on “EuraCERT“. This talk described the development of a European certification scheme for Web accessibility, which is based on the development of automated software which checks the compliance of a Web site with WCAG 1.0 guidelines.

This approach seems to be based on the “Unified Web Evaluation Methodology”. This is available in HTML and as a PDF document (152 pages). The document contains hundreds of descriptions of tests of HTML pages; passing such tests, it would seem, will ensure the Web site can be certified as complying with the accessibility guidelines. An example is: Test 12.3_HTML_15

This test is targeted to check whether the table rows need grouping.


  • Applicability criteria: Select the following combination of elements/attributes:

table[not(thead) or not(tfoot) or not(tbody)]

  • Test procedure: Do the table rows need grouping?
  • Confidence level: Medium.
  • User testing procedures: Not Available.

The speaker described the WCAG 1.0 guidelines as “the bible”. During the questions I said that if this is the case, I must be a heretic :-) It seems that a European certificate is being developed based on a set of guidelines which are known to be flawed and are being replaced. And this is to say nothing of the issue of the purpose of the Web site which I described previously.

I have to say that I feel that accessibility is primarily about people, and that the emphasis being placed by techies on just the resource is counter-productive.

What do others things?

1 Comment

  1. UWEM is interesting, but sadly about 5-6 years too late. Building anything on the foundation of WCAG 1.0 is building on shifting sands when trying to apply it to anything other than the most explicit and basic sites. WCAG 2.0, even in its current state, is a far more realistic set of principles to follow, especially when rich media and “web 2.0″ are concerned. Shame, so much good effort focussed on such a futile exercise…



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