Position Statement for I18N Workshop 1 February, 2002, Washington, DC

Judy Brewer, Web Accessibility Initiative, W3C

10 January, 2002

For the past several years, the Internationalization Activity and the Web Accessibility Initiative at W3C have noted areas of common interest and mutual support of each others' goals. This statement outlines mutually relevant experience that each area may have accumulated; potential areas of collaboration; and resource constraints that may apply. It proposes one or two areas that might be productively pursued as joint work within the constraints of existing resources.

Participants in both I18N and WAI have accumulated experience over the past several years which may or may not be relevant to the other area. Where relevant, such experience would be useful to share more directly, either briefly in the context of this workshop, or at more length in a separate joint meeting. Such experience might include:

The number of potential areas of common interest for parallel or collaborative work most likely extends far beyond W3C's current resources. However, for the purposes of considering relevant possibilities and priorities, an initial list of possibilities might include:

Requirements and resources available to pursue any given effort vary between I18N and WAI. With regard to any exploratory collaborative effort, it might be most productive to focus initially on a single activity of modest scope, such as template development (see below). Other initial activity could include additional meetings to share relevant experience, and discussions of possible future priorities for collaboration.

Joint creation of a template or a series of templates for Web pages, demonstrating best practices from both I18N and WAI, could be an effective strategy for co-promotion of I18N and accessibility. Web designers interested in accessibility often express the desire for sample code or model pages, pre-checked for accessibility, adaptable for their own sites. Availability of ready-made, accessible templates would address this requirement; likewise, I18N-conformant templates would similarly address the requirement for Web designers interested in I18N. But when a designer were interested in both areas -- which from the perspectives of I18N and WAI is ideal -- offering them two separate templates risks their incorporating non-conformant code with respect to the other area. Better to have templates available which already smoothly integrate both best practices, thereby increasing the likelihood of designers adopting both areas of best practice.

I would be happy to present on WAI's experience with guidelines development and outreach if needed, and look forward to a discussion of potential areas of common interest.