W3C Web Standard Defines Accessibility for Next Generation Web

Date: 
Jan 4, 2009

Collaborative Effort Results in More Flexible and Testable Standard; Advances Accessibility of the Web

http://www.w3.org/ -- 11 December 2008 --
Today W3C announces a new standard that will help Web designers and
developers create sites that better meet the needs of users with disabilities
and older users. Drawing on extensive experience and community feedback, the
Web Content
Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0
improve upon W3C's groundbreaking
initial standard for accessible Web content.

This new standard from the W3C's Web
Accessibility Initiative
(WAI) will advance accessibility across the full
range of Web content (such as text, images, audio, and video) and Web
applications. WCAG 2.0 can be more precisely tested, yet it allows Web
developers more flexibility and potential for innovation. Together with
supporting technical and educational materials, WCAG 2.0 is easier to
understand and use.

WCAG 2.0 addresses barriers to accessing the Web experienced by people
with visual, auditory, physical, cognitive and neurological disabilities, and
by older Web users with accessibility needs. WCAG 2.0 explains how to make
content:

  • Perceivable (for instance by addressing text alternatives for images,
    captions for audio, adaptability of presentation, and color contrast);
  • Operable (by addressing keyboard access, color contrast, timing of
    input, seizure avoidance, and navigability);
  • Understandable (by addressing readability, predictability, and input
    assistance); and
  • Robust (for instance by addressing compatibility with assistive
    technologies).

Wide Support for WCAG 2.0

"Because WCAG 2.0 applies to all Web technologies, it can help ensure that
the Web stays open to people with disabilities even as we continually
introduce new technologies. We incorporated feedback from thousands of
comments received during the development of WCAG 2.0 regarding user needs,
and technical feasibility," said Dr. Gregg Vanderheiden, Co-Chair of WCAG
Working Group, and Director of the Trace R&D Center at the University of
Wisconsin. "WCAG 2.0 represents the outcome of a major collaborative effort,
and its final form is widely supported by industry, disability organizations,
research and government. This balance is important in order for WCAG 2.0 to
serve as a unifying international standard for Web accessibility."

Extensive supporting materials to help developers and policy-makers
include WCAG 2.0
at a Glance
; WCAG 2.0
Documents
; How to Meet
WCAG 2.0: A Customizable Quick Reference
; href="http://www.w3.org/TR/UNDERSTANDING-WCAG20/">Understanding WCAG 2.0;
and Techniques for WCAG 2.0.
Techniques are already available for HTML, CSS, SMIL, Scripting, and
Accessible Rich Internet Applications ( href="http://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/aria">WAI-ARIA), and are under
development for additional Web technologies. Resources to support transition
include How to
Update Your Web Site to WCAG 2.0
. href="http://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/components">Essential Components of Web
Accessibility describes the relationship between WCAG 2.0 and other Web
Accessibility Initiative (WAI) guidelines that also have 2.0 versions under
development.

Far-reaching impact