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Since we're probably going to get a slating...

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Reply with quote Best get it over and done with, latest SiteMorse report:

http://www.sitemorse.com/news.html?id=1248983818

More feather ruffling, but also a explicit mention that automated testing doesn't mean you are 100% accessible.
Reply with quote What I can't understand is that the reports come out accompanied with broadsides against all and sundry.

Richard, as you know Lawrence Shaw et al, couldn't you suggest that if they laid off all the shouting and just tried to promote a tool and their interesting technology then they'd be more respected. A toolset isn't the be all and end all, but it may have its place in our armoury of techniques.

But as things stand I wouldn't use them on principle and I'm sure many others feel likewise.
Reply with quote Andy,
We did legitimately come top of the report. Thus the expected slating. We've not cheated, put in any special codes, been given any leeway or anything. We just used the tools available and tried to make it as accessible and standards compliant as possible. Also from the last time we fixed a load of issues that you guys found (still not got the new site up painters and houses comes to mind).

The tone of the article SiteMorse have chosen for themselves. I can see it putting a lot of peoples noses out of joint.
Reply with quote So what is being said is there are a lot of 'Accessibility Charlatan sites' doesn't surprise me at all…

Actually, I am one of the few people that do hold a nationally UK government recognised qualification in Web accessibility but I wouldn't rate the qualification too highly even though it was AS-Level equiv.

Then again I don't think too highly of the confusing layouts let alone the low contrast; to me it looked rather like a marketing article.

};-) http://www.xhtmlcoder.com/

WVYFC chose the Yorkshire Air Ambulance as the main charity to fund raise for in 2006
Reply with quote
asaxton wrote:

Please don't take it as a criticism, I am pointing out what informed people will think when they read the article.
...
On a personal note, I never take anything at face value, which is something that comes across in eveything I do. Don't think that you are a special case where I have been overly critical; it's just the way I am. Smile


Andy,
Don't worry about it, it's just easier from this end to get the bits and pieces answered before they begin. I know what it looks like with the logo there, infact I'd be far happier if the SiteMorse site didn't have the logo on since they do their own maintenance and did a large part of their own build.

I just don't want to get into another situation like last time. Last time Iso posted a not too complimentary article on his blog, highlighting three or four problems that we had on the site that was taken onboard by some media as well. The trouble is we've nearly nearly 100 pages on the site, I think any one of us would be happy to have a site of that size and only have a few errors. The problem is the general public at large don't realise that, or the fact the errors were removed within a day of being highlighted whilst the article still remains.
Reply with quote [quote="SJB"]What I can't understand is that the reports come out accompanied with broadsides against all and sundry.
[/quote]

Don't think anyone is interested in suppliers having a slinging match in public, but just to clarify one thing:

The press release description of the accessibility issues on our web-site is simply not true. If anyone wants to point out the details of any flaws with it, we'd be happy to hear, but it's basically a level A site, most pages near to AA, with HTML compliance where it matters; which is our goal.

Back to the issue - the Firefox survey we published last week and that the BBC et al picked up was about the FF browser; and how some site managers were actively preventing FF visitors from using their sites in whole or in part - there is a ROI for these sites to stop blocking it, and wider accessibility gains too.


Our survey wasn't really about the DRC - and I won't add to the debate about them- others said enough last time round.

But looking on the positive side, there are some interesting things in progress, eg the DRC working with the British standards Institute and coming up with the:
* PAS 78: Guide to good practice in commissioning accessible websites.

It might just help run-of-the-mill web managers, who don't have in-depth accessibility know-how, to move their sites to better accessibility.

It's a step in the right direction, as was the BBC running with our Firefox survey last week without taking it off into a tangent. The media often don't get the right end of the stick in the technology space- credit to Jane Wakefield at the BBC (don't know why her name wasn't on the piece),this will hopefully get attention in the right places and is another small part of the gradually increasing awareness.

One lives in hope that the Odeon won't be saying the same inane thing to BBC journalists next year...

Deri
SciVisum
Reply with quote
jones_scivisum wrote:
Don't think anyone is interested in suppliers having a slinging match in public...


I couldn't agree more. As I read this article all I kept thinking was how it was damaging the reputation of companies who do good work in the field. The BBC article was great publicity, for SiteMore now to turn around and slate SciVisum just looks like sour grapes. What gets me also is here we have this damaging press release and where's the evidence? Did SiteMorse try contacting the companies concerning, point out issues and see what response they got?
Reply with quote
Robert Wellock wrote:
Actually, I am one of the few people that do hold a nationally UK government recognised qualification in Web accessibility but I wouldn't rate the qualification too highly even though it was AS-Level equiv.


Robert what is the qualification you hold? I would be interested to learn more Smile
Reply with quote I think I can read between the lines, prompted by Deri's point. SiteMorse are taking accessibility to the extreme and dissing any site that does not comply with AAA ratings.

I find the whole SiteMorse exercise a complete waste of good webspace and am appalled that this is allowed to continue. Instead of railing against the DRC and others why don't they listen to the accessibility community and join in constructively Evil or Very Mad

Mike Abbott
Accessible to everyone
Reply with quote <ot>The qualification title in my opinion is misleading I was trying to illustrate a point although the qualification is an OCNW Level 3 and is called something like "Creating Accessible Websites in DHTML and XHTML" the accessibility aspect was rather basic.

Last year was the first year it was run I just did it for the 'amusement' though you can see what will happen in the future on people's CV's…

The idea was good but the material covered was rudimentary stuff like semantics, automated validation and basic DOM most people regular here will be beyond that – well certainly the accessibility part anyway.

Really I don't know how it became level 3 and not level 2.</ot>

};-) http://www.xhtmlcoder.com/

WVYFC chose the Yorkshire Air Ambulance as the main charity to fund raise for in 2006
Reply with quote Interesting and annoying too in that there's a special course on how to become an accessible web developer when this should be the standard for any web development course. Yes I know, ideal world and all that - rant over!
Reply with quote
Mikea wrote:
I think I can read between the lines, prompted by Deri's point. SiteMorse are taking accessibility to the extreme and dissing any site that does not comply with AAA ratings.


No, SiteMorse are dissing any organisation that doesn't pass its battery of automated tests. It claims that sites that don't pass their tests are not accessible.

Quote:
I find the whole SiteMorse exercise a complete waste of good webspace and am appalled that this is allowed to continue. Instead of railing against the DRC and others why don't they listen to the accessibility community and join in constructively.


The DRC are more interested in proper user testing (correctly so, accessibility is about people), and won't endorse SiteMorse. SiteMorse see this as an affront, and feel that their reaction is justified. (Not to mention the DRC's criticism of SiteMorse endangers their business model).

Working with the accessibility community looks to be impossible, since the SiteMorse tool seems to be a well-guarded secret - the source or an evaluated version is not to be seen. If you are lucky you get to see a report it generates. You hear about the SiteMorse tool, you see the claims. No way of independently verifying the claims.

Which is why its a good idea to do a proper accessibility evaluation of the sites SiteMorse have tested - and see where it fails. Wink
Reply with quote
Richard Conyard wrote:
Andy,
We did legitimately come top of the report. Thus the expected slating. We've not cheated, put in any special codes, been given any leeway or anything. We just used the tools available and tried to make it as accessible and standards compliant as possible. Also from the last time we fixed a load of issues that you guys found (still not got the new site up painters and houses comes to mind).

The tone of the article SiteMorse have chosen for themselves. I can see it putting a lot of peoples noses out of joint.


So Richard, you are involved with redAnt or what? I have never seen it mentioned in connection to you, or am I understanding this wrong?

I have seen some questions raised that RedAnt is also the only design business listed which does not help the image that something could be fishy. This who SiteMorse business is leaving a bad taste in my mouth, it is hard enough to get people interested in accessibility and now these reports form SiteMorse are muddying the water.

--
[size=9]Kyle J. Lamson
Analyst/Programmer III, State of Alaska
Reply with quote
lsw wrote:

So Richard, you are involved with redAnt or what? I have never seen it mentioned in connection to you, or am I understanding this wrong?


Lsw, I am involved in Red Ant I basically manage the technical side, programming etc. Some of this is now moving over to Red Ant development (not design), of which Colony is one of our products. I used to have Red Ant Design in my sig, and although we are seperate companies we are still in the same building etc.


lsw wrote:
I have seen some questions raised that RedAnt is also the only design business listed which does not help the image that something could be fishy.


There are other designers in the list (infact it's another design agency at number two in the list). This was a critisism last time this report came out, which inadvertently introduced me to this forum, so good things come out of everything. Noting this I did put a posting on this forum to see if anyone else wanted to be reviewed and I'd have passed the details back to SiteMorse. No one replied. They have expanded the list from last time, but invariably some people will be left out.

lsw wrote:
This who SiteMorse business is leaving a bad taste in my mouth, it is hard enough to get people interested in accessibility and now these reports form SiteMorse are muddying the water.


I must admit personally I don't like the tone of the article. I can see in part some of the bits they mention, i.e. if you're going to be an expert then you should practice what you preach, at least as much as is feasible. In fact in various postings here and on some blogs my views are on record, nothing winds me up more than companies claiming to be accessible when they haven't made the first effort to be so.

I'm not going to be an apologist for SiteMorse, and I know nothing more about their engine and tests than anyone who has seen a report of theirs. All I can say is what we did on our site, and what comes back from a general report.

In the reports I've seen are marks for valid HTML / CSS, WCAG single A and WCAG double AA marks, there is also the speed test which seems to be a mixture of server response and size of files required (I don't believe they test for triple A as was mentioned earlier, but I might be wrong).

What we did on our site to begin with was (not always in order):
Write the site making use of CSS layouts (Even got onto Andybudd for that one)
Test the site with HTML validator - full option set and accessibilty options switched on
Go back and make all the amendments from there (there were tonnes)
Repeated with the HTML validator until that reported clean
Ran a SiteMorse report, fixed any issues from their in-depth report
Ran bobby tests, fixed any issues
Tested with screen reader

And that was in late 2003 early 2004. Between that time and the first report coming out people took their eye off the ball on the website and a number of errors crept in, although we kept an eye on the site with the validator and SiteMorse there were / are (?) bits that it can't check and some juniors here that didn't engage brain before making changes.

Time of first report coming out Iso and a few other peeps here managed to find the bugs that the automated checkers weren't finding. Some were easier than others and the junior in question got a thick ear. We fixed those taking onboard the comments from this forum.

From then till now we've just been making minor amendments, and thick ear onboard everyone is making sure that as far as they are aware it's done properly.

So we got number one by constantly checking and constantly vetting, although at last check I noted we weren't perfect either, so we've missed something along the way. If you look through the site you'll probably find all sorts that is wrong, but for the most part I think we've done a good job.

The trick is that we are now so late getting our new site up, when it does go live it's going to have to keep up the standard.
Reply with quote Thanks, no need to apologize for SiteMorse anyways, all the comments are comming from them and not RedAnt as far has I have seen.

Thanks for the comments, that clears some things up. Just had me scratching my head there...

--
[size=9]Kyle J. Lamson
Analyst/Programmer III, State of Alaska

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