[Irl-dean] False Accessibility Developers

Mark Magennis mark.magennis at ncbi.ie
Wed Mar 29 13:14:00 IST 2006


The false claims you have come across are by no means unusual. In April
2004, Ennis Information Age Services assessed the websites of 30
randomly selected Government Departments and agencies. Of the three
sites that displayed the WCAG conformance logo, two of them did so
inappropriately, as they were actually found to be non-compliant. I
don't have it to hand, but I seem to remember the recent UK cabinet
office sponsored report may have included similar findings. Barry?

It is clear that accessibility is being taken seriously by the public
sector but many organisations are still getting it wrong and in many
cases do not realise that they have got it wrong. It may be that some
developers are selling on false premises but procurers lack the
competence to assess the results. Or it may be that in some cases both
the developer and the procurer lack competence and neither realises that
they have not achieved what they think they have.

But what can we do about it? Well, as we speak, NCBI CFIT are designing
an Accessible ICT Procurement Toolkit for the NDA. One of the main aims
of the toolkit will be to provide guidance and practical advice to
procurers on how to request tenders, assess tenders, work with
developers and assess the results so that they can be sure that, where
accessibility is concerned, they get what they want and are in a
position to know whether they have got it. The toolkit will be released
probably during July or thereabouts and should be highlighted on the
eTenders website. We are hoping that it will become the definitive guide
for public sector procurers at least, although it will also be of use to
private sector organisations. In the meantime, procurers might be
advised to read the recently released BSI PAS78 Guide to Good Practice
in Commissioning Accessible Websites. This is a Publicly Available
Specification published by the British Standards Institute. It gives
guidance for website commissioners (procurers) on how to get someone to
build you an accessible website. It covers thing like the steps that
should be taken and the role of guidelines, specifications, software
tools and user testing within the development lifecycle. It can be
bought for 30 pounds sterling from the BSI at


> -----Original Message-----
> From: irl-dean-admin at list.eeng.dcu.ie 
> [mailto:irl-dean-admin at list.eeng.dcu.ie] On Behalf Of brendan spillane
> Sent: 27 March 2006 14:27
> To: Irl-dean at list.eeng.dcu.ie
> Subject: [Irl-dean] False Accessibility Developers
> Hi everyone
> I have a problem..
> Recently I have come across cases where website developers are falsely
> claiming accessibility for the websites of some organisations.
> One of these, a major website developer is claiming accessibility for
> 2 government websites which are in fact not accessible. I have
> contacted the information officer responsible for these websites to
> inquire about this.
> She replied to me that she has already had one person report to here
> that one of the sites was not accessible. She then passed this
> information on to the developer but has received no feedback.
> The IO does seem genuinely interested in the accessibility of the
> websites and has said that as a government body it should be in place.
> However she also stated that as nobody in their office is a developer
> they have had no way of checking.
> In my opinion this is a case where the developer is outright lying to
> their clients and at the moment getting away with it.
> I would like to know has anyone experienced similar problems before
> and does anybody have suggestions for dealing with it?
> With Regards
> Brendan Spillane
> MD ilikecake limited

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