Wave 3.0 is a Web Accessibility tool. It provides feedback on Web pages regarding several features-- all with the aim of maximizing the accessibility of Web pages to people with all levels of ability -- visual, auditory, motor, and cognitive.
To get the most out of WAVE, Students should be able to develop Web sites and have good understanding of HTML, usability and accessibility. WAVE uses color-coded icons to provides feedback about structure, content, usability, as well as accessibility issues. There is a page of clear instructions explaining the icons.
I teach Web development courses and have been trying out the tool. It is easy to use and feedback is easy to understand. I have been using Bobby, another accessibility tool, with my students. Students have difficulty interpreting the results. WAVE's results appear to be much easier to understand, as well as broader in scope.
No special software is needed. It is well-designed. The instructions are simple and the interface is clear.
Both local and uploaded Web pages can be submitted for evaluation. I had no problems with either method.
Two other methods are available that make submission a click away -- a WAVE toolbar and a WAVE bookmarklet. I have not used them yet.