Welcome to Sitemorse II, our brand new engine

15 Aug 2021 | SM update | General

Michelle Hay
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We’ve recently announced to our clients, the new Sitemorse engine, Sitemorse II.

Over the last few years, Sitemorse has been working on more human-based intelligence with regards to assessing web pages. Our new method, assesses a website as a person would, augmenting diagnostics on things we can check by 30%. 

Our clients have had the opportunity to have a look around the new engine with our CEO, Lawrence Shaw in a series of webinars. Clients who would like us to deploy the new engine into their existing service ahead of the go-live for all on January 1st 2022, can request this by contacting Laura Shilstone.

The webinars were convened to go through the additional things the new engine checks, and how that impacts the score. During these webinars, clients have had the opportunity to ask questions on the new engine, we’ve collated the most popular questions below:

  1. Will the new WCAG 2.2 requirements be covered?
    Yes, this is one of the reasons we are going for an initial roll-out in August with an eye on January next year for full roll-out.

  2. Will the new engine have API connectivity?
    We've been running this as a demo with Privacy & Cookies and AAAtraq (our sister organisations) having a direct API connection. As more and more clients are looking at integration with Jira etc. we are looking at becoming more of a checking tool.

  3. As the new engine may affect our scores, will the new scores be publicised?
    This is why we are rolling it out slowly, and making sure existing clients have plenty of time in case they see any impact on their score.

  4. Will the new engine be used across all our Digital Properties, or just Accessibility?
    It will be rolled out across all eventually, but you can choose for it to be added to them one by one, or just on your ‘On Demand’ function initially.

  5. Will the interface change?
    We're retro-fitting the new engine into the existing interface first. We'll be looking at a new interface next year which will be more graphic and linear, and more intuitive in order to get into the detail of what you need to act upon.

  6. Will the system be able to tell what is native HTML and what is generated by a script and if so will it treat that content differently in any way?
    In the new version of Sitemorse, we have access to the HTML as it is served from your webserver (native HTML) and we use a virtual browser to evaluate any JavaScript that changes the HTML and then evaluate that in the virtual browser. So yes, we can tell what is native and what is generated. We perform tests within the virtual browser so we are testing almost everything (accessibility, links, etc) after the JavaScript might have changed the HTML. We perform the HTML validator tests on the native HTML, so there are some instances where we can treat the content differently.

  7. Knowing that the focus of many is accessibility, are there any changes we should expect to the other parts of the engine? Code, links, performance, etc?
    On some websites we can now see more of the content. We have not added any more diagnostics in other categories, but as we find more content we can assess more. The plan is look at the ‘Performance’ category in Q3, and this will be then be upgraded towards the end of this year. 

  8. With regards to performance - the Google brain has recently added Core Web Vitals to ranking consideration, and demoted the importance of TTFB. Any plans to consider this?
    We are looking at updating the ‘Performance’ category based on now having the ability to see the page more as a user, and will look at this as part of that review. Thanks for the heads up and thoughts!

  9. Would it be possible to add functionality a within reporting to highlight new items that have been introduced between reporting periods?
    Yes, very much so. The key to this is to understand the actual page and what is being delivered, and one of the areas we will extend to is comparisons. It’s also key to prioritisation: dealing with items that impact the visitor the most but equally addressing the actions that have been there the longest.

  10. Isn’t WCAG cumulative - how can you fail level A but pass AA? 
    Contrary to what you might think (and understandably perhaps slightly confusingly so) standards A, AA and AAA are, in fact, stand alone and unrelated to the others. Therefore, you can pass A or even AAA and fail AA, they have no bearing on each other in a cumulative way. 

  11. How will WCAG 3.0 impact your engine, given it is looking at new success metrics?
    We continue to monitor standards, and as they are introduced and adopted we will ensure our assessments take them into account. 

  12. Is there a cost to integrations within the CMS?
    We consider it more as an investment than a cost. The service can be added to any managed service: we supply the setup, module, code to connect your CMS. Clients 'self deploy' as each client will have their own tailored CMS deployment - as a managed service client, you are offered an initial technical meeting to discussions the integration (up to 1 hour) and an internal workshop of up to 2.5 hours (remote) to discuss specific details with you and/or your agency. There is a per user fee of £9 user / month.

  13. Have you created any training materials or videos on how the new engine works?
    Once the final roll-out has been completed, and any nuances or bug-fixes have been overcome, then we'll certainly supply help videos and training materials for clients.