Bobby is a comprehensive web accessibility tool designed to aid webmasters in creating standard compliant web sites and increase the accessibility degree of a website. Bobby tests web pages using the guidelines established by the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) Web Access Initiative (WAI), as well as Section 508 guidelines from the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board) of the U.S. Federal Government.
The online report generated by Bobby is fairly long and covers all accessibility guidelines. However, this does not mean your website is utterly broken and doing bad on the usability - accessibility scale. It does mean though, that there are things you can do to improve your website for your users.
The lengthy online report generated by Bobby can discourage webmasters. However, one must remember that Bobby is only an automated tool that points out where the guidelines appear to be broken. It can very well be that certain guidelines are indeed followed. Every website is unique and therefor, the Bobby accessibility report should not be taken literally. All information contained in the report should act as support in the process of improving accessibility. A human evaluation by the webmaster supported by the Bobby accessibility report are the optimal instrument one can use into identifying accessibility problems and finding solutions.
The report consists in 3 sections each having a different priority level.
Although achieving the AAA Bobby approved rating can be a fulfilling experience for both webmaster and website users, we have to admit that getting it is very, very difficult. Some websites simply cannot pass the test due to their profile, target audience, style, content and so on. What is important to remember is that Bobby is based on guidelines, which are ultimately recommendations. The end goal should not necessarily be to get the AAA Bobby Approved rating but to improve where possible the accessibility of the website.
Because it covers all accessibility guidelines, Bobby can identify problems which are ultimately easy to fix but often overlooked. It's often the case where there was no one to point them out. At the end of the process webmasters will see that by thoroughly going through the report and making minor or less minor changes to their website, the degree of accessibility of their website will have improved significantly.
It is best to read the summary of the accessibility guidelines Bobby uses. It's important to take the time and do this because sometimes the report can contain contradicting information and it's best to know how to handle it and where to give priority.
Improving accessibility should be a motivation alone. Even if a website does not pass the Bobby test it is not to say it is not usable or accessible to a degree or another. There are many very usable and accessible web sites on the web that pay attention to their users and yet do not get the Bobby Approved rating. Improving your web site for users is enough to start with. It is a step forward for your website and your users if you've just taken the accessibility path.