greater frequency. In the real world,
these two extremes rarely represent a
concrete case. The most common case
is a site where the structure and user
interface are modified over several
years. Regarding the content, usually
a subset of the site’s pages are updated
infrequently (e.g., the contact page),
while others have frequently updated
content (e.g., the news page). The
best strategy is therefore to validate
different sections of the site at different
frequencies, calculated on the basis
of update frequency. In general, the
frequency of validation should be equal
to, or slightly lower than, the update
Politics 8, 1 (2011), 41–67.
2. W3C’s “Requirements for WCAG 2.0
Checklists, Techniques, and Test Files”;
http://www.w3.org/ WAI/GL/ WCAG20/
3. Mirri, S., Muratori, L. A. and Salomoni,
P. Monitoring accessibility: large scale
evaluations at a Geo political level. Proc. of
the 13th International ACM SIGACCESS
Conference on Computers and Accessibility.
ACM, New York, 2011, 163–170.
It has been years since the appearance
of the first automated accessibility
validators, but their adoption has
not been fully addressed in public
policies. Even if they do not provide
a complete analysis of accessibility
and can sometimes provide confusing
results, accessibility validators can
significantly reduce the time and
effort to evaluate websites, making
the validation process more efficient,
consistent, and reliable.
4. Benchmarking della società
dell’informazione in Emilia Romagna,
2013 (available only in Italian); http://
5. Arrue, M., Vigo, M., and Abascal, J.
Including heterogeneous Web accessibility
guidelines in the development process.
Engineering Interactive Systems Lecture
Notes in Computer Science 4940 (2008),
6. Paternò, F. and Schiavone, A.G. An
extensible environment for guideline-based accessibility evaluation of dynamic
Web-applications. Universal Access in
the Information Society 14, 1 (Mar. 2015),
Public policy stakeholders
should consider the progress in
this field of research for at least
three reasons. First, according
to several national laws on Web
accessibility, public officials are
obliged to ensure accessibility in
online communications. Further,
pushed by the recent economic crisis,
many public authorities are moving
their services to the Web to speed up
processes, reduce costs, and optimize
document management. It is important
that these e-government services be
accessible. Finally, for ethical reasons,
public administrations have the
duty to support all citizens, giving
everyone the same quality of services.
7. Guidelines containing the technical
requirements, the definitions of the
different accessibility levels and the
technical methodologies for the testing
of Web site accessibility; http://www.
8. Gulliksen, J., vonAxelson, H., Persson, H.
and Göransson, H. Accessibility and public
policy in Sweden. Interactions 17, 3 (2010),
9. Lazar, J. and Olalere, A. Investigation of
best practices for maintaining Section 508
compliance in U. S. federal Web sites. Proc.
of the 2011 Human Computer Interaction
International Conference. 2011, 498–506.
Fabio Paternò is research director at
C.N.R.-IS TI in Pisa, where he founded and
leads the Laboratory on Human Interfaces
in Information Systems. His main research
interests are in user interface software and
technologies in ubiquitous environments for
improving accessibility, usability, and user
This quarterly publication is a
quarterly journal that publishes
refereed articles addressing issues
of computing as it impacts the
lives of people with disabilities.
The journal will be of particular
interest to SIGACCESS members
and delegates to its affiliated
conference (i.e., ASSETS), as well
as other international accessibility
Automated accessibility testing tools
can play an important role in making
public websites more accessible.
1. Goodwin, M., Susar, D., Nietzio, A.,
Snaprud, M., and Jensen, C.S. Global
Web accessibility analysis of national
government portals and ministry Web
sites. Journal of Information Technology &
Antonio Giovanni Schiavone is a graduate
fellow at the Human Interfaces in Information
Systems Laboratory of the National Research
Council. His research is focused on the
analysis of the various issues related to Web
usability and Web accessibility, in particular in
relation to the latest Web technologies.
DOI: 10.1145/2745395 © 2015 ACM 1072-5520/15/05 $15.00