logo Association BrailleNet

4th European eAccessibility Forum

eAccessibility of Public Services in Europe

12/04/2010, 9:00 - 18:00
Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie - Paris, France

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Assessing and certifying conformity to accessibility standards

Denis Boulay (Paris (France))
BrailleNet association - AccessiWeb

Speaker's information

photo de Denis Boulay

Denis Boulay is a member of Braillenet association e-accessibility team.



[Notice : The short papers of this conference have been prepared by BrailleNet who accept any responsibility for them. But presentation materials provided for download (full-papers or slides) have been provided by the authors themselves]


Since 1997 and the release of international guidelines WCAG 1.0 of the W3C, the question of the compliance of accessibility compared to a normative basis has been pointed out.  
In the late 2000s, e-Accessibility became for many a question to be treated, as safety and quality for example, as a whole even if it occurs in an Internet environment in perpetual motion.

A growing demand for eAccessibility

This demand for e-Accessibility has many causes:
- it is a legislative and regulatory demand, that is to say, binding for all or part of websites.
- it comes from demands of accessible services (concept of Internet citizen taken into account by companies ...)
- it is part of " accessibility offers" proposed by online services or technical tools providers.

Need to check the adequacy between accessibility displayed and real accessibility

In any cases, the request for accessibility comes with a need to verify that the implementation is in line with expectations. Such checking processes are requested:
- by the provider itself (as part of the quality control on products and services, or as part of development process implemented)
- by the sponsor (checking the product delivered)
- by the user or consumer organization,
- by the authority in charge of legal enforcement
- by the judge (which settled in the event of a dispute).

To meet these verification requests and generate an appropriate response, unambiguous and understandable by most people, there is a need for practical tools accepted by all parties.

Accessibility Standards

Standards are the basis for any compliance audit. They result from a collective work involving the stakeholders (producers, distributors, users, consumers, government, laboratories ...). They are validated by a broad consultation to ensure they represent the general interest and do not raise major objections. They are the expression of a consensus.

In practice, the main standards to which we refer on eAccessibility are those of the W3C and the DAISY Consortium.

Normative document Certification

The normative document certification is the technical document defining the characteristics required to present the product or service and the modalities to check the compliance with these characteristics. To develop a normative document certification, several steps are needed:
- To know and understand the definitions or standards of accessibility, WCAG 2.0 for Web content accessibility of Web, for example. Also: to point out the practical goals that should be achieved. (Example: "A Web content must be understandable and robust")
- Corroborate the normative references to international standard or local law : RGAA in France (Référentiel Général d’Accessibilité des Administrations) , UNE 139803 in Spain, PAS 78 in the United Kingdom, DM080705 in Italt , JIS X 8341-3 in Japan ...
- Build the method to achieve the objectives defined by the standard.
The normative document should be:

Consensual, ie:
- understood by all the persons concerned
- understood in the same way by everyone
- consistent with business practices
- transparent, available to criticism, to be updated

Operational, ie:
- Applicable
- Reproducible
- compatible with different standards

Normative document AccessiWeb 2.0

BrailleNet association worked to implement all of these pre-requisites in order to propose an application method allowing the verification of WCAG 2.0 compliance: AccessiWeb 2.0

- AccessiWeb 2.0 (2009) results from a process in constant evolution since 2003 (AccessiWeb 1.0), involving a growing number of Web developers;
- It refers to the approved French translation of WCAG 2.0  (June 25, 2009, http://www.w3.org/Translations/WCAG20-fr/);
- It has 300 unit tests divided in three levels of conformity (the Bronze level AccessiWeb corresponds to level A of WCAG 2.0, Silver and Gold to AA to AAA);
- It is organized in categories that everyone can understand (the sections entitled "Images", "Frames", "Tables", "Links" ...);
- It has several levels of interpretation for readers with different profiles;
- It matches completely WCAG 2.0 (that is to say, applying AccessiWeb 2.0 means that WCAG 2.0 is automatically applied);
- It matches also every benchmark based on WCAG 2 or RGAA;
- This benchmark has been developed and discussed by a competent group of experts (Working Group AccessiWeb (GTA), more than 300 members;

- It has been subject to call for public comments and has been validated on several websites.


Correspondence between AccessiWeb 2.0, 2.0 and WCAG 2.0 RGAA

An example of AccessiWeb 2.0 criterion shows the correspondence with both WCAG 2.0 and RGAA 2:
Criterion AccessiWeb 3.1 [Bronze]: "In each Web page, the information should not be given only by color. This rule is it respected? » : 6 unit tests associated
- Validation criterion 3.1
- Validation of WCAG 2.0 success criteria: 1.4.1 - 1.3.1
Note: This criterion deals specifically with the perception of color. Other forms of perception are addressed in Article 1.3 as the color access by a computer program and other forms of visual presentation coding.
- Validation tests RGAA: 2.1 - 2.2 - 2.3 - 2.4

This double correspondence would certify compliance with WCAG2.0 and RGAA, but also with other benchmarks such as Euracert (Figure 1)   

The benchmark allows AccessiWeb to certify multi-compliance (to WCAG 2.0 to 2.0 and to RGAA Euracert)

Figure 1. The benchmark allows AccessiWeb to certify multi-compliance (to WCAG 2.0 to 2.0 and to RGAA Euracert)

Is possible to certify what is evolving?

The question is often asked whether it is possible to certify what is evolving, such as a website that is changing rapidly over time. The answer is that the certification process must include mechanisms for ongoing monitoring of the website:
- Through a quality approach by the provider or the owner guaranteeing to maintain compliance over time,
- Trough regular reviews made by an independent body
- Through submitting the site for public comments ("channel of complaints" open to users)
- By implementing sanctions in case of non-conformity (up to the loss of the certification mark).
These mechanisms are precisely the ones followed by AccessiWeb.


The theoretical model developed earlier and put into practice trough AccessiWeb initiates a process to check compliance to the WCAG 2.0 standards.
This scheme is applicable to other types of benchmark, including those who are in correspondence with WCAG 2.0.
The experience and the methodology followed for the development of AccessiWeb have also been applied to a benchmark of monitoring following the Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG : http://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/atag. php).  We also expect to apply them on a benchmark for office documents downloading, and a multimedia benchmark. Finally, AccessiWeb 2.0 may be used for the harmonization of methods within the European network Euracert.


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