Professionalized WCAG evaluation

Serious accessibility testing and assessment of Universal design is necessary to ensure the quality of websites that intend to function in the best possible way for the most people. MediaLT is Norway's leading company in this field, and we are continually working to improve the work we do. We will now use WCAG-EM with its accompanying report tool to improve the professionalization of accessibility evaluations of Norwegian websites.

Story by: Morten Tollefsen - 24.06.2015

To ensure the quality and consistency of WCAG evaluation, the World Wide Web Consortium has developed a standardized methodology for evaluation (WCAG-EM). A new tool has also been launched to supplement WCAG-EM. In a pilot project supported by the Norwegian Delta center, the Norwegian web store Komplett and MediaLT are testing the methodology and the tool.

WGAG-EM consists of the following main stages:

    1. Define the extent of the evaluation: decide what shall be included in the evaluation; the aim of the evaluation; and WCAG validation level (A, AA or AAA).
    2. Investigate the website: identify important pages / page types; key functionality; content types, design, functionality etc.; and necessary web technology.
    3. Make a representative selection: guidance for a structured and random selection of pages if it is not realistic to test the whole website.
    4. Evaluate the selected pages: decide whether WCAG 2.0 success criteria are being met: provide accessibility support for the website's functions, and document the evaluation.
    5. Report the evaluation: collect and report the findings; calculate the overall score.

The Website Accessibility Evaluation Report Generator was launched by the World Wide Web Consortium in March 2015 as a help to follow these stages in the Accessibility Conformance Evaluation Methodology (WCAG-EM). The tool is used not to perform accessibility testing, but rather to ensure the proper use of WCAG-EM. The tool uses the input from the accessibility experts to generate a structured report.

WCAG-EM is most suited for the evaluation of larger websites and it is in these websites that the challenges are greatest in relation to assessing WCAG compatibility. With better knowledge of WCAG-EM, evaluations will become standardized and the indicators for web accessibility will become more precise. Now the evaluation of accessibility can be quite random and as such, it is almost impossible to compare reports from different suppliers and individuals. Unfortunately, work on Universal design can be said to be characterized by a lack of adequate skills and this probably applies to both purchasers and developers.

MediaLT has used methodolgy for WCAG-evaluation which we have been developing ourselves since version 2.0 of the standard in 2009. Our approach is similar to WCAG-EM, but we have long seen the need for an international standard. This will give us, as a business, better possibilities to show how good our work is, and we look upon it as an advantage for everyone wishing to use our services for new web pages and web based services.

Please contact us if you want to know more about WCAG-EM, and if you want help to review accessibility / Universal design of your website.

News archive