WatchFire Tool Adds Accessibility Testing

Web site testing tool adds feature to help ensure that sites are accessible for people with disabilities.

Automated Web site quality testing provider Watchfire Corp. on Monday will introduce a new release of its WebXM testing suite that integrates a new accessibility testing module.

WebXM 2.0, which integrates content integrity analysis, traffic analysis and privacy policy adherence checking, adds an optional module that analyzes Web sites for accessibility to people with disabilities.

The new module, based on technology Watchfire acquired last July from the Center for Applied Special Technology, can check for 90 different accessibility issues, including compliance with the U.S. Governments Section 508 and the World Wide Web Consortiums (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

In integrating the new module into the WebXM suite, Watchfire also beefed up modules scanning capability, allowing it to handle more complex Web sites that include dynamically created pages, according to David Grant, director of accessibility solutions at the Waltham, Mass., company.

The module also includes enhanced reporting that gives operators different tiers of reports, from a high-level dashboard to detailed reporting overlayed with traffic data. The combined accessibility reporting with traffic data allows operators to prioritize problem resolution.

Beyond the accessibility module, WebXM 2.0 can now be integrated with leading content management systems via a new Web service interface and Software Development Kit.

Such integration allows WebXM to automatically check Web content at any point in the development process. Operators can catch errors and check Web standards compliance before content goes live on their sites. "It makes it easy to incorporate these checks into development," said Grant.

"Anything they can do to improve the usability of the product and integration with other tools we already have in house is going to help us," said new customer David Wollin, managing director at AXA Financial Inc., in New York. AXA, which uses Interwoven Inc.s TeamSite enterprise content management system, plans to use WebXM in a major rebranding effort it is planning for next year. "We believe using the Watchfire Site Integrity module will reduce the level of effort well have to put into the rebranding. The tie-in to our content management system is going to be great," he added.

WebXM is made up of a core platform that provides content scanning, a database to store the findings, and reporting on assets and site-maintenance issues. Optional modules and plug-ins include QualityXM, PrivacyXM, AccessibilityXM, TrafficXM and FeedbackXM.

WebXM 2.0 will be available on Monday. The new AccessibilityXM module starts at $12,000 for large sites.