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Benchmarking Tools for the Web

Benchmarking tools and methods for the web

Benchmarking tools and methods for the Web (BENTOWEB) is a European Commission (EC)'s Information Society Technologies (IST) Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) project that aimed to support the European public and private sector to implement the recommendations of the eEurope 2005 Action Plan by providing benchmarking tools that support the accessibility recommendations of the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). One of the main objectives of the project was to develop and assess test-suites for benchmarking of evaluation and repair tools for web accessibility.

The exploitable results of the BENTOWEB project, defined as knowledge having a potential for industrial or commercial application in research activities, or developing, creating or marketing a product or process, or creating or providing a service. The project has produced results in the above mentioned three areas and can be categorised in these groups:

- User testing framework (Amfortas and Parsifal)
Both applications have a future exploitation potential (Type A result) in commercial or research activities. However, these are applications extremely customised to the project and the framework developed.

- Software modules
These are results to be exploited by the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology (FIT) and FernUniversität in Hagen (FUH) as proprietary of the know-how (Type B result).

- Accessibility know-how
This is a common knowledge for all the partners and can be directly exploited by each of them with consultancy services. These consultancy activities are performed by all Consortium members already as part of their portfolio, and thus it does not require any additional effort to add this know-how to them. The know-how extension refers to the application of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) to complex web applications, which may give the partners some advantages in regard to competitors (Type C result).

Raising public participation and awareness of accessibility to Inforamtion and Communication Technology (ICT) services in general and benchmarking different approaches in particular is an important issue for BENTOWEB. It is also important to disseminate the 'how-to' knowledge. Our approach is manifold and involved: surveys involving disabled people and people who aim, at a professional level, at accessible websites, participation in standardisation processes, collaboration with policy makers, and workshops to a more wider audience, as well as panels addressing public authorities.

BENTOWEB is part of the Web Accessibility Benchmarking (WAB) cluster. The cluster tries to become a common playground where the three member projects (BENTOWEB, 'European internet accessibility observatory' (EIAO) and 'Supporting the creation of an e-accessibility mark' (SUPPORT-EAM)) joined efforts towards a common web accessibility evaluation methodology. The WAB Exploratory workshop that took place in December twenty zero six (2006) in Brussels allowed projects and initiatives to discuss coherence of the various approaches and possible interoperability issues, to allow comparison of the future data collected. The workshop was intended for government agencies and companies working for these agencies who are preparing tools for benchmarking quality and accessibility of websites, in order to exchange ideas and optimise efforts. The Unified Web Evaluation Methodology (UWEM) is an outcome of the WAB Cluster. BENTOWEB has produced a great amount of publications (twenty two publications) and has attracted a lot of attention from the scientific community and from the web development community.

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