Introduction to Accessibility Evaluation

The WCAG 1.0 did not have any official way to audit the accessibility of the websites. This led to the creation of different non-official evaluation methodologies. For example, the European Union founded the Unified Web Evaluation Methodology or UWEM, which was never adapted to the new WCAG 2.

This time the W3C has not forgot this issue and have developed the Website Accessibility Conformance Evaluation Methodology or WCAG-EM, albeit six years after the publication of the WCAG 2. This document is still a “Note”, not an official “Recommendation”, but we can consider it a stable reference.

If you have ever used the UWEM, they were divided into two documents: one with the core procedure, and another with the tests you should perform to verify each guideline. The WCAG-EM only provides the core procedure. We will explain it in the next post ‘The evaluation procedure’.

To verify each succes criterion, you have to follow the Techniques documentation. For example, to test if a webpage conforms to the succes criteria 1.2.3, 1.2.5 and 1.2.7 (all related to “Audio-descriptions”), you have to follow the procedure of the technique G8: Providing a movie with extended audio descriptions. There are 591 techniques and procedures to take, so have a seat while you are evaluating a website, and it is absolutly out of the scope of this tutorial to explain each procedure.

Finally, bear in mind that with the WCAG-EM we are only evaluating a selection of pages of your website, so be careful what you state in your conformance claim. Remember that the WCAG 2 considers a website as a whole: full pages, processes, functionalities…

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