Watchfire Buys Web Site Accessibility Tool

Watchfire will expand its Web XM platform with software to make Web sites accessible to people with disabilities.

Web site management software and services provider Watchfire Corp. announced Tuesday that it has acquired the Bobby Web site accessibility software from the Center for Applied Special Technology.

Bobby is used to analyze Web sites to determine which sections are inaccessible for people with disabilities and then to automatically fix those parts of the sites to comply with the World Wide Web Consortiums Web Access Initiative and Section 508 guidelines from the U.S. Federal Governments Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board.

Watchfire will integrate Bobby into its enterprise Web site management platform, Watchfire WebXM, as well as add accessibility reports to its Web site quality-testing tool, WebQA. The Lexington, Mass.-based company develops Web site privacy and risk management and content analysis and reporting software.

"Watchfire is a vendor who has impressed us with their commitment to Web site accessibility and has the software development and product marketing expertise necessary to take Bobby to the next level," said Chuck Hitchcock, chief education technology officer at CAST in Peabody, Mass.

"As a not-for-profit organization, we lack the internal resources necessary to keep up with the growing demand for this technology."

Peter McKay, Watchfires president and COO, said Bobby would extend the Web site accessibility technology already in Web XM.

"By devoting greater resources to further enhancing and developing the accessibility functionality in the Bobby product line we will be able to provide our customers with a more complete accessibility solution," McKay said.

Watchfire is selling the Bobby Worldwide version for $99 from its Web site. Users can also download Bobby as a free service from the site for analysis of individual Web pages.

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