accessibility is that the tools keep changing. Not in the sense you
might think. Not that a tool becomes dated and someone else comes up
with something better. That happens, too, but isn’t what I meant. I meant more that we started with Bobby from TRACE as THE tool of
choice for small-time folk working on a shoestring who really wanted
to try to be accessible but needed some guidance on where to start.
Then Bobby got better. Then Bobby was bought, and we were all worried.
Then a sigh of relief because Watchfire made tool similar to Bobby and
when they discontinued Bobby, folks still had a free public tool with
limited-but-useful functionality where they could start. Then more
tools proliferated, which was great but confusing, and somehow
Bobby/Watchfire remained the core of being the #1 place to start. Somewhere along in all of this, the tools to scan the websites for
accessibility problems were being used by the people with disabilities
as much, if not more, than the webmasters. They used them when
something was broken to try to figure out what and ask for it to be
fixed. They used them to help teach webmasters about the issues that
matter to the endusers. They used them to empower themselves as people
who use the web and depend on it in critical & essential ways. And then what we’d feared for years happened. Watchfire pulled the
plug. If you wanted to scan your webpage, or more often, if you were a
person with disabilities trying to help the webmasters of the world
learn about accessibility to make things work better for you as an
enduser, well, you had to give them money. Thanks, guys. Since then, there have been various tools you could use. Some were
free, some weren’t. Some scanned for one thing, some for another. Some
were from Australia or the UK and had output reports designed for
professionals working to meet more rigorous standards than those in
the US. Some of those report outputs were incredibly confusing even if
you already knew the laws behind them! If you didn’t, it was worse.
Some of the tools required that you install something into your
browser, which was not always straightforward or desirable or even
possible for people with older computers or highly customized and
specialized systems. Anyway, you get the idea. So, Deque? They are doing what Bobby did,
way back when. They do a lot more, also, and you can (and should
consider) hiring them for their real expertise if you are a webmaster
or working professionally in web development. Me, I am just so happy
to have a SIMPLE, easy-to-use, easy-to-understand web accessibility
scan for the person on the street to use. Here is how you do it. 1. Go to the Deque homepage.
2. Look for the line: “Is your site compliant?”
3. Paste the URL of the problem page or the page you are curious about
into the box right after.
4. Click on the button that says “Test it!” or just hit return. The report generated is relatively short, well organized, well
explained, and fairly easy-to-understand as these things go. Trust me,
even the best ones are not something you can understand without some
education and background reading, but it is still far more
comprehensible that the LIFT report for SENDA. If you don’t know what
that means, you don’t want to. Just be grateful we have Deque, and
pray that they don’t get cocky and burn the folks who need them most,
like Watchfire did (in my humble and personal opinion).