Managing and Monitoring Web Site Accessibility

Shadi Abou-Zahra, W3C/WAI
Sophia-Antipolis, France

(alternate presentation format available)


Evaluation Methods

Different methods for evaluating Web accessibility have pros and cons, best is to use a combined approach:

Automatic Testing
Efficient but has serious limitations
Expert Testing
Overcomes limitations but less efficient
User Testing
Very effective but requires high expertise
Comprehensive Testing
Optimizes effectiveness and efficiency

Webmaster Bottleneck

The responsibility of evaluating Web site accessibility is ideally distributed across the development:

Layout Designer
Visual and structural aspects
Backend Programmer
Interaction and functionality aspects
Content Author
Content and informational aspects
Quality Assurance
Overall accessibility monitoring

Evaluation Reports

Different methods for evaluating Web accessibility have pros and cons, best is to use a combined approach:

To identify and repair barriers
To track and monitor progress
To support conformance claims

EARL Model

Different evaluation sources feed into a results database that can be viewed through different reports

EARL Objectives

EARL Structure

EARL is an RDF Schema with these classes:

Person, tool, organization, or other entity making claims
Web site, page, Delivery Unit, or resource being tested
Testable assertions such as Requirements or Test Cases
Outcome of the test on the subject by the assertor

EARL Statement

An example EARL assertion could look like the following:

HTML Validator version 0.9.3 at
Subject with HTTP headers
Test Case 7.5.2, check for wellformed XML structure
Failed, line 12 col 3, message "tag <em> not closed"

Topology Model

EARL is compatible with any:

Internal Repository
Confidential QA test results
Disclosed conformance claims
Third-Party Certification
Trusted sources for claims
Proxy Services
Query for features

Additional Benefits

EARL also provides additional benefits besides reporting:

Current Status

EARL 1.0 Schema
Next Working Draft may be Last Call
EARL 1.0 Guide
Early draft available, no open issues
Other Resources
Requirements, HTTP in RDF Note
Tools support is growing but need more prototypes


Evaluation and Repair Tools Working Group

Shadi Abou-Zahra, W3C/WAI