[edu-team] [NLedu] Researching accessibility of Silverlight-based websites

Jan Stedehouder janstedehouder at gmail.com
Wed Jan 4 18:24:49 CET 2012

Hi Rikard and Guido,

2012/1/4 Rikard Fröberg <rikard at ffkp.se>

> On Wed, 2012-01-04 at 15:08 +0100, Guido Arnold wrote:
> > Hello all,
> >
> Hi all,
> > Thank you Rikard for your input!
> >
> n.p. :)

Definitely glad for your input :D

> > On Wed, Jan 04, 2012 at 01:09:24PM +0100, Rikard Fröberg wrote:
> [...]
> > > In hope of not preaching to the choir,
> >
> > Yes, you were :) But that's totally fine, because the info you
> > provided was exactly what we where looking for.
> >

There is a difference between Microsoft's statements about accessibility
and what it taking place in the real world ;-) I have contact with some
accessibility experts in the Netherlands and they point out that there are

> > As part of the NLedu campaign [2], we were looking if there is an
> > additional argument against the use of Silverlight. We were hoping
> > that we could say: "You are not only excluding FS users, you are also
> > excluding people with disabilities which you are not allowed to do."
> >
> If they use inaccessible silverlight code, they are actually excluding
> people with disabilities. My bet is that they are (based on how common
> it is that _any_ platform is inaccessible).
> > The disability argument would have had more weight, because as I
> > understand it, there is a law in the Netherlands that mandates
> > accessibility for public institutions.
> >
> > So, if it is technically possible to make Silverlight accessible,
> > there is no _legal_ argument anymore which only leaves the economical
> > argument you mentioned that the development/maintenance costs are higher.
> >
> I guess you could use the legal argument (educational websites should be
> accessible) as a levarage; if they find out that you actually could make
> silverlight accessible but it would cost them much more time and $ the
> morale is that they should have gone with plain HTML to begin with.
> Point them to the accessibility resources for silverlight and demand/ask
> that they re-code their applications accordingly or move to some other
> platform. Could that work?
The key argument for our campaign is that government policy mandates the
use of open standards. As I understand now, solely using open standards
doesn't automatically guarantee accessibility for all groups of users, so
our advice will have to take both aspects into account. Silverlight could
be made accessible, but still wouldn't comply with the open standards

> We still need to figure out how to measure whether the silverlight pages
> are indeed accessible or not, and I'm afraid I have no clue as to how to
> do that other than, as you suggested, get a focus group to actually
> manually test it.
> One approach could have been to actually investigate the source code and
> look for accessibility pitfalls, but we all know why that would be
> hard ;-)
> Here are some additional resources, however, that might or might not
> help in determining silverlight accessibility:
> 1. W3C - Silverlight techniques (technical):
> http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/WCAG20-TECHS/silverlight.html
> 2. Codeplex UI Accessibility Checker
> ("Microsoft 'Permissive' `License`")
> http://acccheck.codeplex.com/
> 3. Some coding tips for accessible silverlight apps:
> http://ur1.ca/7882p
> 4. FOSS tool for UI tests (including Silverlight):
> http://sourceforge.net/projects/qaliber/
> (GPL)
Thanks for these suggestions. Our intention is indeed to draw up a test,
after which we will check out websites (not only Silverlight-based) of
educational institutes in the Netherlands. We have a Dutch translation of
W3C, called Webrichtlijnen. I will contact the experts again from next week

Till then it would be wise to gather a team of testers and perhaps some
other accessibility experts to make sure our test set is as good as


-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://mail.fsfeurope.org/pipermail/fsfe-bnl/attachments/20120104/07e6f26c/attachment-0001.html>

More information about the FSFE-BNL mailing list