This specification provides guidelines for designing web content authoring tools that are both more accessible for authors with disabilities and designed to enable, support, and promote the production of accessible web content by all authors.
The "Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines 2.0" (ATAG 2.0) is part of a series of accessibility guidelines published by the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI).
This document is the internal working draft used by the ATAG WG and is updated continuously and without notice. This document has no formal standing within W3C. Please consult the group's home page and the W3C technical reports index for information about the latest publications by this group.
The Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines Working Group (AUWG) intends to publish ATAG 2.0 as a W3C Recommendation. Until that time Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 (ATAG 1.0) [ATAG10] is the stable, referenceable version. This Working Draft does not supersede ATAG 1.0.
This section describes the status of this document at the time of its publication. Other documents may supersede this document. A list of current W3C publications and the latest revision of this technical report can be found in the W3C technical reports index at http://www.w3.org/TR/.
This document has been produced as part of the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). The goals of the AUWG are discussed in the Working Group charter. The AUWG is part of the WAI Technical Activity.
Publication as a Working Draft does not imply endorsement by the W3C Membership. This is a draft document and may be updated, replaced or obsoleted by other documents at any time. It is inappropriate to cite this document as other than work in progress.
This document was produced by a group operating under the 5 February 2004 W3C Patent Policy. W3C maintains a public list of any patent disclosures made in connection with the deliverables of the group; that page also includes instructions for disclosing a patent. An individual who has actual knowledge of a patent which the individual believes contains Essential Claim(s) must disclose the information in accordance with section 6 of the W3C Patent Policy.
This section is informative.
This is a Working Draft of the Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG) version 2.0. This document includes recommendations for assisting authoring tool developers to make the authoring tools that they develop more accessible to people with disabilities, including blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities, cognitive limitations, motor difficulties, speech difficulties, and others.
Accessibility, from an authoring tool perspective, includes addressing the needs of two (potentially overlapping) user groups with disabilities:
The individuals and organizations that may use ATAG 2.0 vary widely and include authoring tool developers, authoring tool users (authors), authoring tool purchasers, and policy makers. In order to meet the varying needs of this audience, several layers of guidance are provided including two parts, overall principles, general guidelines, testable success criteria and a collection of techniques with examples and resource links.
In order to ensure that the process of using ATAG 2.0 and WCAG 2.0 together in the development of authoring tools is as simple as possible, ATAG 2.0 shares WCAG 2.0's three level conformance model: Level A (lowest), AA (middle), AAA (highest).
As with WCAG 2.0, there are a number of conditions that must be met for a Success Criterion to be included in ATAG 2.0. These include:
The Success Criteria were assigned to one of the three levels of conformance by the working group after taking into consideration a wide range of interacting issues. Some of the common factors evaluated when setting the level in Part A included:
Some of the common factors evaluated when setting the level in Part B included:
When implementing ATAG 2.0, it is recommended that authoring tool developers closely integrate features that support accessible authoring with the "look-and-feel" of other features of the authoring tool. Close integration has the potential to:
The success criteria and applicability notes in this section are normative.
Rationale: When authoring tools or parts of authoring tools (e.g., an online help system) are web-based, conforming to WCAG 2.0 will facilitate access by all authors, including those using assistive technologies.
Rationale: When authoring tools or parts of authoring tools are non-web-based (e.g., a client-side file uploader for a web-based content management system), following existing accessibility standards and/or platform conventions that support accessibility will facilitate access by all authors, including those using assistive technologies.
A.1.2.1 Non-Web-Based Accessible: Non-web-based authoring tool user interfaces follow (and cite in the conformance claim) accessibility standards and/or platform conventions that support accessibility. (Level A)
A.2.1.1 Recognized Alternative Content: When recognized alternative content is available for web content being edited, the authoring tool makes the alternative content accessible to the author(s). (Level A)
Rationale: Some authors need access to the editing view presentation because this may be used to convey both status information added by the authoring tool (e.g., underlining misspelled words) and, within content renderings, information about the end user experience of the web content being edited.
A.2.2.1 Purpose of Added Presentation: If an editing view modifies the presentation of web content to provide additional information, then that additional information can be programmatically determined. (Level A)
A.2.2.2 Access to Text Presentation (Minimum): If an editing view (e.g., WYSIWYG view) renders any of the following presentation properties for text, then the properties can be programmatically determined: (Level A)
A.2.2.3 Access to Text Presentation (Enhanced): If an editing view (e.g., WYSIWYG view) renders any presentation properties for text, then the properties can be programmatically determined. (Level AAA)
A.2.3.1 Independence of Display: The author(s) have the global option to specify display settings for editing views that take precedence over web content renderings without affecting the web content to be published. (Level A)
Rationale: Some authors with limited mobility or visual disabilities are not able to use a mouse, and instead require full keyboard access.
A.3.1.1 Keyboard: All functionality of the authoring tool is operable through a keyboard interface without requiring specific timings for individual keystrokes, except where the underlying function requires input that depends on the path of the author's movement and not just the endpoints. (Level A)
Note 1: The movement path exception relates to the underlying function, not the input technique. For example, if using handwriting to enter text, the input technique (handwriting) requires path-dependent input, but the underlying function (text input) does not.
Note 2: This does not forbid and should not discourage providing mouse input or other input methods in addition to keyboard operation.
A.3.1.3 Keyboard Shortcuts: The authoring tool provides keyboard shortcuts. (Level AA)
Rationale: Some authors who have difficulty typing, operating the mouse, or processing information can be prevented from using systems with short time limits or requiring a fast reaction speed, such as clicking on a moving target.
A.3.2.1 Data Saved: If the authoring tool ends an authoring session due to a time limit (e.g., an authenticated session expires), then the author(s) have the global option to ensure that the web content being edited is saved. (Level A)
Note: For web-based authoring tools, this applies to any web content that has already been submitted to the server by the user agent.
A.3.2.2 Timing Adjustable: For each time limit that is set by the authoring tool, at least one of the following is true: (Level A)
Rationale: Flashing can cause seizures in authors with photosensitive seizure disorder.
A.3.3.1 Static View Option: If an editing view renders time-based content (e.g., animations), the author(s) have the global option of rendering only the initial state of time-based web content. (Level A)
Rationale: Some authors who have difficulty typing or operating the mouse benefit when authoring tools make use of the structure present in web content to simplify the tasks of navigation and editing the content.
A.3.4.1 Edit by Structure: If an editing view displays a structured element set, then the author(s) can select any element in the structured element set and perform editing functions (e.g., cut, copy, paste, presentation) on that element, its contents, and its sub-elements. (Level A)
A.3.4.2 Navigate By Element Type: If an editing view displays a structured element set, then the author(s) can move the editing focus forward or backward to the next instance of the same element. (Level AA)
A.3.4.4 Navigate Tree Structures: If an editing view displays a structured element set, then the author(s) can move the editing focus from any element to the following other elements in the structured element set (if they exist): (Level AA)
Rationale: Providing the ability to save and reload sets of keyboard and display preference settings benefits authors who have needs that differ over time (e.g., due to fatigue).
A.3.6.2 Multiple Sets: Choosing between multiple sets of preferences (e.g., personal profiles, personal settings) are supported for any of the following that the authoring tool controls (i.e., not controlled by the platform): (Level AAA)
Rationale: Preview features are provided in many authoring tools because the workflow of authors often includes periodically checking how user agents will display the web content to end users. Authors with disabilities need to be able to follow the same workflow.
A.3.7.2 Preview: If a preview is provided, then at least one of the following is true: (Level A)
Rationale: Some authors who have difficulty making fine movements may be prone to making unintended actions.
A.4.1.1 Undo Content Changes:
Authoring actions are either reversible
by an "undo" function or include a warning to authors that the action is
irreversible. (Level A)
Note 1: It is acceptable to collect text entry actions (e.g., typed words, a series of backspaces) into a single reversible authoring action.
A.4.1.3 Redo: Authors can immediately reverse the most recent "undo" action(s) (i.e., a "redo" function). (Level AA)
Rationale: For the purposes of this document, WCAG 2.0 defines the accessible web content requirements. To support accessible web content production, at minimum, it must be possible to produce web content that complies to WCAG 2.0 using the authoring tool.
B.1.2.1 End Product Preserves Accessibility Information: If the web content technology of the output of a transformation or conversion can preserve recognized accessibility information that is required for that web content to conform to WCAG 2.0 Level A, then the accessibility information is preserved and available for end users in the end product of the transformation or conversion. (Level A)
B.1.2.2 End Product Cannot Preserve Accessibility Information: If the web content technology of the output of a transformation or conversion cannot preserve recognized accessibility information that is required for the end product of the transformation or conversion to conform to WCAG 2.0 Level A, then at least one of the following are true: (Level A)
B.1.2.3 Accessibility Information Preservation (Enhanced): If the authoring tool performs transformations or conversions during an authoring session, then any accessibility information in the pre-transformation/conversion content that is required for the end product of the transformation or conversion to conform to WCAG 2.0 Level AA or AAA is preserved and available for end users. (Level AA)
See Also: If accessibility information is required from authors during the automatic generation process, see Guideline B.2.1. If templates or other pre-authored content are involved, see Guideline B.2.5.
B.1.3.1 Automatic Accessible (Level A): If the authoring tool automatically generates content, then that web content meets WCAG 2.0 Level A prior to publishing. (Level A)
Note 1: This success criterion (as well as B.1.3.2 and B.1.3.3) applies to the automated behavior specified by the authoring tool developer under the assumption that the author(s) will respond properly to any prompts.
Note 2: This success criterion (as well as B.1.3.2 and B.1.3.3) does not apply when actions of the author(s) prevent generation of accessible web content (e.g., the author(s) might set less strict preferences, ignore prompts for accessibility information, provide faulty accessibility information, write their own automated scripts, etc.).
See also: For more information on how to request accessibility information from authors, see ATAG 2.0 Techniques - Appendix A: Gathering Accessibility Information from Authors.
B.2.1.X Decision Support: If the authoring tool presents choices to the author(s), provide information to assist the author in making choices that enable the content to conform to WCAG 2.0. (Level A) @@decision-support SC@@
B.2.1.1 Set Accessible Properties: Mechanisms that set the properties of web content (e.g., attribute values, etc.) include the ability to set the accessibility-related properties. (Level A)
B.2.1.2 Other Technologies: If the authoring tool enables web content to be inserted that the authoring tool cannot be used to edit, then provide the author(s) with the option to insert or associate accessibility information. (Level A)
Rationale: Accessibility checking as an integrated function of the authoring tool helps make authors aware of web content accessibility problems during the authoring process, so they can be immediately addressed.
See also: For more information on checking, see ATAG 2.0 Techniques - Appendix B: Levels of Checking Automation.
B.2.2.1 Check Accessibility (Level A): At least one individual check
is associated with each WCAG 2.0 Level A Success Criterion that the authoring tool has the functionality to modify web content to meet (e.g., an HTML authoring tool that inserts images should check for alt text; a video authoring tool with the ability to edit text tracks should check for captions). (Level A)
Note: While automated checking or more advanced implementations of semi-automated checking may improve the authoring experience, manual checking is the minimum requirement to meet this success criterion (as well as B.2.2.4 and B.2.2.10).
B.2.2.3 Help Authors Decide: For any checks that require author judgment to determine whether a potential web content accessibility problem is correctly identified (i.e., manual checking and semi-automated checking), instructions are provided to help authors to decide whether it is correctly identified. (Level A)
B.2.2.4 Help Authors Locate: For any checks that require author judgment to determine whether a potential web content accessibility problem is correctly identified (i.e., manual checking and semi-automated checking), the relevant web content is identified (e.g., displaying the web content, displaying line numbers, etc.) (Level AA)
B.2.2.5 Check Accessibility (Level AA): At least one individual check is associated with each WCAG 2.0 Level AA Success Criterion that the authoring tool has the functionality to modify web content to meet. (Level AA)
B.2.2.6 View Status: If the authoring tool records web content accessibility problems found during checking, then a list of any problems is available to authors prior to the end of the authoring session. (Level AA)
B.2.2.7 Save Status for Repair: If repair assistance is not provided during checking, then authors have the option to save a list of web content accessibility problems to facilitate interoperability between checking and repair. (Level AA)
B.2.2.8 Metadata for Discovery: If the authoring tool records the accessibility status of web content, then authors have the option to associate this status with the web content as metadata to facilitate resource discovery by end users. (Level AA)
B.2.2.9 Metadata for Repair: If repair assistance is not provided during checking, then authors have the option to save a metadata listing of the web content accessibility problems to facilitate interoperability between checking and repair. (Level AAA)
B.2.2.10 Check Accessibility (Level AAA): At least one individual check is associated with each WCAG 2.0 Level AAA Success Criterion that the authoring tool has the functionality to modify web content to meet. (Level AAA)
See also: For more information on repair , see ATAG 2.0 Techniques - Appendix C: Levels of Repair Automation.
B.2.3.1 Repair Accessibility (Level A): For each WCAG 2.0 Level A web content accessibility problem that is identifiable during checking (required
in Guideline B.2.2), repair assistance is provided. (Level A)
Note: While automated repair assistance or more advanced implementations of semi-automated repair assistance may improve the authoring experience, manual repair assistance is the minimum requirement to meet this success criterion (as well as success criteria B.2.3.2 and B.2.3.3).
B.2.3.2 Repair Accessibility (AA): For each WCAG 2.0 Level AA web content accessibility problem that is identifiable during checking (required in Guideline B.2.2), repair assistance is provided. (Level AA)
B.2.3.3 Repair Accessibility (AAA): For each WCAG 2.0 Level AAA web content accessibility problem that is identifiable during checking (required in Guideline B.2.2), repair assistance is provided. (Level AAA)
See also: This guideline applies when non-text content is specified by the author(s) (e.g., an author inserts an image). When non-text content is automatically added by the authoring tool, see Guideline B.1.3.
B.2.4.1 Editable: Authors are able to modify alternative content for non-text content. This includes types of alternative content that may not typically be displayed on screen by user agents. (Level A)
B.2.4.3 Let user agents repair: After the end of an authoring session, the authoring tool does not attempt to repair alternative content for non-text content using text values that is equally available to user agents (e.g., the filename is not used). (Level A)
B.2.4.4 Save for Reuse: Authors have the option of having any recognized plain text alternative content that they enter (e.g., short text labels, long descriptions) stored for future reuse. (Level AA)
B.2.5.1 Templates "A" Accessible: If the authoring tool automatically selects templates or pre-authored content, then the selection meets WCAG 2.0 Level A when used. (Level A)
Note: Templates may be complicated to check for accessibility due to their inherent incompleteness. The accessibility status of templates is instead measured by the accessibility of web content (in the final web content technology) created through their proper use.
B.2.5.5 New Templates: If authors can use the authoring tool to create new templates for use by a template selection mechanism, they have the option to record the accessibility status of the new templates. (Level AA)
B.2.5.6 Pre-Authored Content Selection Mechanism: If authors are provided with a selection mechanism for pre-authored content other than templates (e.g., clip art gallery, widget repository, design themes), then both of the following are true (Level AA):
B.2.5.8 Pre-Authored Content in Repository: If the authoring tool provides a repository of pre-authored content, then each of the content objects has a recorded accessibility status. (Level AAA)
Rationale: When authors are learning a new authoring tool, they may find and learn to use the first authoring action they encounter that achieves their intended outcome. Since they may be unaware of the issue of accessibility, it is preferable that accessible web content be an additional unintended outcome, rather than inaccessible content.
B.3.1.1 Accessible Options Prominent (Level A): If the author(s) are provided with multiple options for an authoring task, options that will result in web content conforming to WCAG 2.0 Level A are at least as prominent as options that will not. (Level A)
B.3.1.2 Accessible Options Prominent (Level AA): If the author(s) are provided with multiple options for an authoring task, options that will result in web content conforming to WCAG 2.0 Level AA are at least as prominent as options that will not. (Level AA)
B.3.1.3 Accessible Options Prominent (Level AAA): If the author(s) are provided with multiple options for an authoring task, options that will result in web content conforming to WCAG 2.0 Level AAA are at least as prominent as options that will not. (Level AAA)
B.3.2.1 Active by Default: All accessible content support features are turned on by default. (Level A)
B.3.2.3 Deactivation Warning: If the author(s) deactivate an accessible content support feature, then the authoring tool informs them that this may increase the risk of content accessibility problems. (Level AA)
B.3.2.4 At Least as Prominent: Accessible content support features are at least as prominent as comparable features related to other types of web content problems (e.g., invalid markup, syntax errors, spelling and grammar errors). (Level AA)
Rationale: Without documentation of the features that support the production of accessible content (e.g., prompts for text alternatives, accessibility checking tools), some authors may not be able to use them.
Rationale: Demonstrating accessible authoring as routine practice will encourage its acceptance by some authors.
B.3.4.1 Model Accessible Practice (Minimum): A range of examples of documentation (e.g., markup, screen shots of WYSIWYG editing views) demonstrate WCAG 2.0 Level A accessible authoring practices. (Level A)
B.3.4.2 Model "AA" Accessible Practice (Enhanced): A range of examples of documentation (e.g., markup, screen shots of WYSIWYG editing views) demonstrate WCAG 2.0 Level AA accessible authoring practices. (Level AA)
This section is normative.
The relationship is as follows:
"Partial" ATAG 2.0 Conformance: Authoring Tool User Interface: This type of conformance claim is intended to be used when developers have initially focused on the accessibility of the authoring tool to authors (Part A: Make the authoring tool user interface accessible):
"Partial" ATAG 2.0 Conformance: Content Production:This type of conformance claim is intended to be used when developers have initially focused on the accessibility of the web content produced by the authoring tool to end users (Part B: Support the production of accessible content):
Note: The Working Group remains committed to the guiding principle that: "Everyone should have the ability to create and access web content". Therefore, it is recommended that "Partial" Conformance be claimed only as a step towards "Full" Conformance.
A conformance claim is an assertion by a Claimant that an authoring tool has satisfied the requirements of ATAG 2.0 under the conditions described.
Developers of authoring tools that do not yet conform fully to a particular ATAG 2.0 conformance level are encouraged to publish a statement on progress towards conformance. This statement would be the same as a conformance claim except that this statement would specify an ATAG 2.0 conformance level that is being progressed towards, rather than one already satisfied, and report the progress on success criteria not yet met. The author of a "Progress Towards Conformance" Statement is solely responsible for the accuracy of their statement. Developers are encouraged to provide expected timelines for meeting outstanding success criteria within the Statement.
Neither W3C, WAI, nor AUWG take any responsibility for any aspect or result of any ATAG 2.0 conformance claim that has not been published under the authority of the W3C, WAI, or AUWG.
This section is normative.
This appendix contains definitions for all of the significant/important/unfamiliar terms used in the normative parts of this specification, including terms used in the Conformance section. Except where indicated by "[ ]", the source of these definitions is the AUWG, developed with a goal of clarity, detail, understanding, and completeness. Every attempt has been made to find appropriate definitions for these terms from other sources before such development by the AUWG. All these terms are linked at least from their first usage in the specification. Terms that have designations of "[ ]" beside them are taken from the indicated W3C specifications. Where a definition so referenced is not suitable or adequate for the ATAG2.0, it may be modified as described herein. Please consult http://www.w3.org/TR/qaframe-spec/ for more information on the role of definitions in specification quality.
This section is informative.
There are two recommended ways to refer to the "Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines 2.0" (and to W3C documents in general):
In almost all cases, references (either by name or by link) should be to a specific version of the document. W3C will make every effort to make this document indefinitely available at its original address in its original form. The top of this document includes the relevant catalog metadata for specific references (including title, publication date, "this version" URI, editors' names, and copyright information).
An XHTML 1.0 paragraph including a reference to this specific document might be written:
"Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines 2.0,"</a></cite>
J. Richards, J. Spellman, J. Treviranus, eds.,
W3C Recommendation, http://www.w3.org/TR/ATAG20/.
The <a href="http://www.w3.org/TR/ATAG20/">latest version</a> of this document is available at http://www.w3.org/TR/ATAG20/.</p>
For very general references to this document (where stability of content and anchors is not required), it may be appropriate to refer to the latest version of this document. Other sections of this document explain how to build a conformance claim.
This section is informative.
For the latest version of any W3C specification please consult the list of W3C Technical Reports at http://www.w3.org/TR/. Some documents listed below may have been superseded since the publication of this document.
Note: In this document, bracketed labels such as "[WCAG20]" link to the corresponding entries in this section. These labels are also identified as references through markup.
Kynn Bartlett, Giorgio Brajnik, Judy Brewer, Wendy Chisholm, Daniel Dardailler, Geoff Deering, Barry A. Feigenbaum, Katie Haritos-Shea, Kip Harris, Phill Jenkins, Len Kasday, Marjolein Katsma, William Loughborough, Karen Mardahl, Charles McCathieNevile, Matt May, Matthias Müller-Prove, Liddy Nevile, Graham Oliver, Wendy Porch, Bob Regan, Chris Ridpath, Gregory Rosmaita, Michael Squillace, Heather Swayne, Gregg Vanderheiden, Carlos Velasco, and Jason White.
This document would not have been possible without the work of those who contributed to ATAG 1.0.
This publication has been funded in part with Federal funds from the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) under contract number ED05CO0039. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.