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?